Thursday, August 09, 2012

Business Day Thursday: Have You Got The Right Person Selling Your Photography?

Good Morning Everybody,

VortexToday is a pretty special day for me. My daughter, Elizabeth, in flying in from New York  to spend the weekend with LaDawn and I.  With her being in New York these last several years it's been seldom that she's had a chance to travel back home other than the occasional Christmas holiday.

About a month ago I suggested that she come on back into town, hang out with LaDawn and I, and we do some of the things we did when she was a kid - call it a nostalgic weekend visit. We’re going to be heading to Skyline Chili, Greater’s ice cream parlor, to Kings Island to ride the monster roller coasters, and even visiting the world-famous Cincinnati Zoo.

It's quite special when a dad gets a chance to do something like this with his daughter and I’ve been looking forward to it for over a month. It should be fun.

So, without any further ado let's get on with today's Business Day Thursday.

Business Day Thursday: Have You Got The Right Person Selling Your Photography?

I recently received some e-mail notices about a discussion going on over at Facebook. The main question under discussion was, “Who was the best person to sell your photography? Would it be the photographer, a staff person, or someone else?” What I like to do in today's discussion is to offer my opinions and my experience on that same topic.

The importance of this post is this: Anyone wanting to be successful in any line of work better be able to sell the product that they're trying to sell. In our case it's photography.

The Photographer Should Be The Salesperson Too?

One of the most notable commenters on the Facebook discussion is an extremely  renowned photographer from the Washington D.C. area. I do want to mention any names other than to say that I respected this photographer for many years and he runs a very successful,  very high grossing studio in that part of the country.

His point was that the most important person to be selling the photography needed to be the person behind the camera making the gorgeous images for the clients. His claim that there was an emotional connect between the photographer and the client and that he, the photographer, could easily share what he saw in his mind’s eye and what he felt in his heart as he was capturing the photographs for his clients. He posted that this emotional connect with the client and his emotional connect with the photographs would allow him to make the most thorough and successful presentation to his clients.

I have to say that I totally agree with his assessment of the situation. It's exactly how we've been doing things at my studio for over 30 years. As a wedding photographer I need to be able to share, as I said above, what I was seeing in my mind’s eye what I was feeling in my heart as I was photographing all those memorable moments for my clients. If I can bring my excitement, my enthusiasm, my passion to the presentation, I think the sale will be much more successful than someone much less enthusiastic about the photography and less connected to the clients.

But, What About The Photographer That Doesn't See Themselves As A Salesperson?

Handshake (1)As I’ve traveled these many years talking to tens of thousands of photographers around the United States and the rest of the world, I hear many times about how the photographer does not see themselves as a salesperson and finds it extremely difficult in presenting (selling) their images to the client.

So, let's assume that you’re a great photographer and a lousy salesperson. – What are your options? You have two; learn how to sell or hire someone who knows how to sell. There are a gazillion sales resources available for you to study.  They range from millions of books on Amazon and several sales presentation tapes you can listen to.  I’ve certainly listened to my share of them over the years. Even with all those resources available, most will not take the initiative to use them. In that case, you have to go to Plan B.

If It Isn't Going To Be You, Find Someone To Do The Job For You!

I said earlier that if someone is selling your photography and they are not emotionally connected to those images the sale will suffer.  Sure, there are several companies with salespeople that just put in their eight hours. They really don't care and they're not motivated to produce greater sales.

But I know several successful studios that have salespeople in place that are motivated to sell the studio’s photographs. That motivation comes from commissions on the sale, bonuses and monthly goals, and other special incentives to make them and keep them fired up about selling photography.

The Right Person For The Sales Job

SAles_000002902205XSmallIt’s simple, the right person for the sale is a person who is emotionally connected to those photographs. It's also the person that's shows a passion for the company they’re working for. You need to find someone who can resonate your own passion for what you tried to produce for your clients.

Are those kind of people hard to find?  Not really, just look at Microsoft, Apple, or Google employees – most would give their right arm for the company. They have a passion for what they do.

For your studio’s success, it's about having someone in place that brings your passion to your buying public. In my studio, that person has been mostly me.  But, over the years, I’ve also had others that could step up to the plate and make the sales presentation. It's about having the right people in that selling position. If that somebody is not you just be sure that person loves you, they share your passion for the product, and loves the photography you're producing.

But Good Selling Is Only Part Of The Big Picture Of Success

In addition to having a great salesperson in place, it's also about the product line that you offer and how you present that product line to your clients. We’ve certainly discussed that here at DigitalProTalk. I invite you to look back over any number of previous Business Day Thursday posts.  I’ve discussed building products that sell and how to bundle products to maximize the sale.  I’ve also discussed how to handle sales objections and so much more.

With over 3500 posts available at DigitalProTalk, there's an immense amount of resource material for any aspiring or seasoned professional photographer.  I invite you to start digging in and reap the benefits of those posts. I think you will enjoy digging for the hidden treasures.


Hey gang, that's it for me today.  I’m taking a little time off to get ready for my daughter’s visit.  Have a great rest of the day and I'll see you soon.

Adios, David

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