When training, I get the majority of students understanding the benefits of In Person Sales. They may have done it in their previous jobs, they may be doing it currently, but want to get better at them and smoother in executing the perfect pitch. There are also those students, who come for a workshop but at the back of their head they know that as soon as they are back in their studio, they will be back to online galleries, back to their ways, doing the “less scary” sales, hiding behind the screen, eagerly awaiting an email confirming the client made their choices. They cannot believe IPS would work for them, they don’t see themselves as “the salesy types”, they want to believe they are happy with how things are. If it sounds familiar, this post is for you.
- It saves time. Contrary to popular belief, In Person Sales are not going to steal all your evenings and weekends. For the last 2 years I worked Monday to Friday, 10am till 4pm and every client got their order via In Person Sales. Providing everyone is aware of your operating hours, they will fit into those just as they did when they found the time to come for a photoshoot. We will always find the time for what’s important for us.I usually allocate 1h for the sales appointment, which gives me enough time to show client the slideshow, talk them through all the benefits of getting the full gallery and we can go through any potential image selection in that time as well as product selection.You may think galleries will still take less time, because all we do is send those, right? We need to prepare a gallery, send it off with an adequate message, outlining clients’ timeframe for selecting the photographs, potentially threatening them with a deadline for deletion or us starting to charge for storage. Threats, no matter how subtle, are a negative interaction. It’s a delicate form of bullying client to bend to our rules.
We will then occasionally end up with galleries that are not selected (read: we don’t get paid) for days and weeks. We burn time sending emails and messages trying to urge our clients to make their choices now. We put ultimatums, “I can reopen the gallery for a xyz fee”, “The gallery link won’t work after a certain date” etc. People have different reasons for not sitting down to choose their images: they may not have the money anymore, they may be tired, having barely slept for weeks. Our brain treats decision making as an exercise, and not everyone loves to flex their muscles. At the IPS they would have you to help guiding them. At home they don’t have that luxury.
They may be workings at different times and haven’t got the time to do it together. They didn’t feel it was necessary to set it up as an appointment between themselves as they believed they’ll do it when they have the time.
After your third email, asking them to make a decision, a few things happened: you spent a comparable amount of time writing and rewriting emails, from “Seriously just choose your goddamn photos and we are done!” to “Hi guys, I hope you had a lovely weekend. I was just following up to see how you are doing with your image selection?”. Believe it or not, this takes time out of your day too, and what’s worse: it takes energy. What’s EVEN worse? Every time you email client asking them to choose, what you actually do is become a cold caller / spammer in their eyes, and it’s never a positive interaction. People feel like you are chasing them for money (well, which you are, but it’s for their benefit too), and that reeks desperation, and desperation never ever sells. It’s the biggest enemy of our job. If after all the chasing they finally choose their images, they will feel embarrassed you had to chase them so the future bookings are less likely to happen if they feel like they pushed it too far with stringing you along. Of course most clients won’t be like that, but those situations happen and we need to be aware of them since it will affect our business.
2 The emotional connection and the urgency evaporates.
When we see images of our baby for the first time, the initial feeling is to plaster all the house with them, make them into a wall paper and a kitchen splash back, then have the sibling image tattooed on their face. As days go by, the excitement evaporates, our eyes get used to the images and we start to pick flaws where there were none before. Suddenly macro images look similar to composites etc. Logical thinking and financial responsibility kicks in. We need that extension and a new car, cannot justify all the photos at the moment.. Screenshots follow.
Sale is an emotional endeavour. It’s a process that has a timeline. If you think about it, you could compare sales process to a pizza. You put ingredients on, sauce, put it in the hot oven. Take out and eat it whilst it’s hot. You can eat a cold, 3 day old pizza, but the taste is not quite the same.
IPS will result in 30x more wall art sales than galleries. Upselling is near impossible with online galleries. Client is not holding the pieces in their hand whilst making the financial decision. There is no immediate need for purchase. IPS is the final stage in the wall art selling process you started at the consultation stage. Also the amount of top packages will usually double with IPS v sending it as a gallery.
3. IPS is another date.
Whilst I do not advocate dating your clients, no matter what profession you are in, seeing clients numerous times in the sale process strengthens your relationship, and we are in a relationship kinda business.
There are forms, questionnaires and emails to gather the information about your clients’ needs and wants and other ways to discuss potential upsales, but nothing beats meeting your customers face to face and having a real conversation with them. in-person sales are a great opportunity to see how your clients interact with your products, what they gravitate towards, what type of items they prefer.
4. Customer experience.
When trying to attract higher end clients, in-person sales appointment is part of your customer experience. Not everyone has the time to research wall art products and printers, so by offering this service and taking this burden off their hands, you solve yet another problem for your clients. It provides your customers with an immersive brand experience online galleries cannot compete with. You can set up and show off your products in a way that reflects your brand identity and allow customers interact with those items first hand.
Offering your clients the ability to touch, feel and see the products, finishes and frame options is especially beneficial when creating a customised offering to fit their specific needs.
Are you currently offering face-to-face sales for your photography clients? Tell us what you think about in-person sales and how it benefits you.