Finally, the afternoon post - here we go...
We had another great group of photogs show up in El Paso last night. This was our first visit to west Texas and what a cool city it was. Turns out El Paso is one of the 22 largest cities in the US – yep, it was a big city. It sure caught us by surprise as we were pulling in. Hey, what do Midwesterners know about the west anyway?
One of the things that struck both LaDawn and I was how much pride this part of the country has in their area. All we heard was how truly enchanted this part of the country was. Just about everybody wanted to show us his or her favorite areas. The group as a whole was about the most hospitable we have visited. Next time, for sure, we will let you guys show us around.
The main talk of the area was White Sands National Park, which was slightly off course for our travels to Albuquerque today. That's the reason for the late post today. We woke up, packed up, and headed to White Sands. What a beautiful, other worldly place it was. White Sands National Park is listed as one of the 1000 places to see before you die in the book by the same name. I’m glad we made the detour – maybe a pic or two tomorrow.
Anyway, today is Business Day Thursday so why don’t we get right to it. Here we go…
Business Day Thursday: The McDonald Close
Last week I was reading an article in USA Today [link] about how restaurants are now asking the guests if they want to add to their order. It was a fascinating article and deserves a read. Funny thing is - we have been doing the same thing here at the studio for years but for slightly different reasons.
After our clients would place their orders, we would start with the smallest orders first and suggest to the client how they might enhance their image selection. Here is an example. Say the mother of the flower girl selected 4 images of her daughter from the wedding. I knew that the client probably had no clear cut vision of how she wanted to display those four images so I always made a suggestion that went something like this.
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“Mrs. Jones, those are really 4 very cute photographs of your daughter, but can I make a suggestion? Why don’t we also add the photograph of your daughter taking that finger full of icing from the wedding cake? We could place all 5 of those images in this portfolio – I’d show the portfolio – and you really have a nice section of images of your daughter’s role in the big event.” The client would almost always go with my suggestion.
Remember, selling is not a dirty word. It’s always about helping your client find out what they want and then helping them getting it. The folio suggestion in the above example exemplifies good selling. Good selling should be a service to your clients. My client loved the suggestion because it accomplished exactly what she wanted – a nice collection of images of her daughter in a folio that would be easy for her to display and share with her friends.
We sold the additional print and the folio, but it was our suggestion that helped the client get what she really wanted and also helped our sale. We call it the McDonald close after McDonald’s policy of always asking you if you want a cherry pie to add to your order. Sometimes I would opt for the cherry pie, sometimes I wouldn’t – in any event, I’m glad they asked.
One of my favorite shopping experiences is when I walk into a Men’s Warehouse just to see what might be new on the shelves. When my friend Pat is in, the shopping experience always turns into something more than just picking out a new sweater or jacket.
I may ask Pat if any new jackets have arrived after which she walks me over to the rack, pulls off a few for me to try on. After I try one on and indicate that I might like it Pat immediately heads over to the slacks racks and pulls a few pair, lays them on the jacket, and before I can wink, she is grabbing a selection of ties off the tie rack.
Before my very eyes, I see my new wardrobe coming together – and it looks great. Pat’s great eye for style and color together with her easy selling manner, always help me find what I really wanted which was more than just a new jacket. And you know what else, I always enjoy my purchases and look forward to my next visit with Pat – it was always a great buying experience.
Maybe that’s the bottom line; a good salesperson always makes it a good BUYING experience for the customer.
Selling is more than just pushing more merchandise onto the customer. It’s understanding what the customer wants; making suggestions based on your expertise, and facilitating a pleasant BUYING experience for your customer. Maybe for others it’s about pushing product for the sake of sales, but for me it’s about how the client is feeling after the sale.
Hey gang, that’s it for me today. We are still a few hours out from Albuquerque. LaDawn is driving and I'm going to grab a few more shots out the window.
Don’t forget to tune in tomorrow for another episode of Soap Box Friday: Are Photographers Just A little Lazy? Anyway, I hope to see a lot of you in Albuquerque this evening. Adios, -David