Monday, April 04, 2011

What will they buy? —Not what do I have to sell?

Are you selling prints, DVDs and digital files or are you selling the memories you capture?

Too often photographers look only at the cost of making a photo—pushing the button.  In the days of film many of these same photographers would try and sell a 25¢ piece of paper.  Both then and now these photographers miss the point—the medium is only a vehicle. 

Photographers of people sell moments.  The better the photographer is able to raise the feelings in the beholder’s mind the monetary value of that image is increased. 

The door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman isn’t selling appliances—he is selling a clean house.

The key for photographers is to realize they are not selling pictures, but what those pictures capture.  Even in advertising photos of products, the great photos help capture a mood and create a craving with the audience in some way. 

Photography has five stages in selling

1.    Attention
2.    Interest
3.    Desire
4.    Need
5.    Action

You need to in some way have their attention first.  There are many ways to get this. One of the best ways is through a referral from a happy customer. This is based on relationships.  The relationship you as a photographer have built with a client and the excitement they have and want to share you with their friends is by far in my book the best way to get someone’s attention.

Great images will also get someone’s attention.  These are often done through your advertising.  You must get your work in front of someone to get his or her attention.

The next step is creating an interest in your product. Your referral will use their testimonial to help you create interest.  They will tell their friends about how you impressed them in some way. 

Many photographers may have celebrities in their portfolio, some photographers have exotic locations and as you can see these things create an interest in the photographer and their work. 

This interest should lead to desire. This is where they start to inquire and want to know more and are engaged with you.  You have to move them from seeing you as a commodity; otherwise they will just look for another photographer.  You have to establish a real need for your services. This is where your ability to demonstrate to them how you are the best choice for them. This may be how you communicate your ability to take care of them and you might demonstrate this by just how attentive you are in the sales process. 

Questions for yourself:

·      Did you offer them something to drink?
·      Did you listen and ask thoughtful questions based on what you heard them say? 
·      Did you have good eye contact with them?
·      Did your greet them with a genuine smile?
·   Are you conscious of their time and clear and succinct in your answers to their questions?

If you established your ability to meet their need then it is on to action. The client wants to sign the contract and hand you the money to make it happen. If you find you are seldom getting to this stage where the client is taking the initiative to close the sale for you—then a real need for "you" was never established.  You are being seen as a commodity and that someone else can fill the need as well as you. 

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