Thursday, September 15, 2011

Business Day Thursday: “Planting the Seeds Of Expectation To Reap The Harvest Of Sales Success – Part 2”

Good Afternoon Everybody,

Yep, it’s been another one of those days. I just finished my 2 hour webcast with Charles Lewis, then had to dash to the accountant’s office – it’s tax day today, and getting ready for two big shooting days this weekend sure has made the day fly by.

Anyway, I promised to expand on my Business Day Thursday post from last week, “Planting the Seeds Of Expectation To Reap The Harvest Of Sales Success” [link] so let’s get right to it.

“Planting the Seeds Of Expectation To Reap The Harvest Of Sales Success – Part 2”

Last week I tried to show how important it is in the sales process to plant seeds of expectation for your clients. Don’t you enjoy working with a company that’s promises you that they will go the extra mile for you; that they have so many cool things to tell you about , you can’t wait to hear about them.  I know I do.  Maybe that’s where I learned the importance of such a sales approach.

Seeds Of ExpectationLast week we left it with the discussion of the wedding album. We discussed how I plant the seed that the client will love the images that I take at their event and will want far more than the original 100 images included in our top coverage.  If I do a good job, and I do at every event, the clients will always add additional images to their wedding selection.  BTW, this is where the “shoot and burners” leave so much of their potential sales sitting on the table.  But I digress.

How many other ways can we plant those seeds of expectation?  It’s easy – I’m also going to talk about our Black and White selections, Wall collages, Grandparent collections – the list goes on and on.

Remember, you’re not trying to make a sale at this point – you are just enthusiastically presenting your other products and services to your new clients.  You’re enthusiasm will transfer to your clients too – they know they will probably want some of the addition products you are showing. That’s what “planting the seeds of expectation” is all about – being excited about what you are about,  your photography, and the creative and innovative products you offer.

Ari 2The payoff comes well down the road when you are with your clients for their final image presentation.  After the dust settles – they loved your photographs and fine tuned their final selection to a nice sized album – time to reap the harvest of the seeds of expectation you planted months before.

Reaping The Harvest

After we finish with the final selection of the album images, family albums, and additional prints, I simple “bring up” what we discussed months earlier.  It goes something like this.  “You guys put together one awesome album, you’re going to love it when you see it, it’s going to be so beautiful.”  Look more closely at that simple sentence – I affirmed their selections and planted “two more seeds of expectation.”

Ari 4Continuing I say, “John, Mary, do you remember the Black and White collections we discussed months ago at our first meeting? “Oh my gosh honey, we totally forgot about that!”, they exclaim. “Tell us again, David”, they ask. “Sure”, I answer, “We have three ways you can display your additional Black and White images.  The first is in an album; the second, in our Treasure Box; and the third as a nice multi-image framed wall collage.”  “You know”, I say, “Black and White photographs are just beautiful to view” (planted seed).  All the color is striped away and all the viewer’s attention goes right to the main subject’s in the image.  I continue, “We had a client not all that long ago who put together a beautiful collection of just the special moments of the day. It was beautiful.”  I’ve scattered sample from that album throughout this post.

Ari 5With that the stage is set to review the images again, moving through the favorites, previewing them as B&W’s and letting the bride and groom select their favorites.  When viewing images as B&W’s, I get to say that it either “sings’ or “doesn’t sing”.  When it works, it works well and the clients can see and appreciate the difference. Depending on the number of images selected determines the best way to showcase the selected images – 20 or more selected are bound in an album; 12 fit nicely in our treasure box, and less than that will easily accommodate a wall collage.

Sales Is Not A Dirty Word

Ari 7The important thing to note here is the fact that I brought up the idea of B&W’s months ago.  The clients remembered  the experience of seeing the collections then, and was now ready to make a buying decision - all good for your bottom line and your continued success.  Remember, sales is never a dirty word.  It is finding out what your clients wants and then figuring out how they can get it.  Sales is a service that we offer our clients.  If we are not putting our best foot forward all the time and being excited about our products and services, we do our clients a dis-service and our bottom line an even bigger dis-service.

Folks, I hope you give what I discussed here some thought.  Most photographers are not good sale people and that pretty much explains the HUGE “churn” in photographers every year.  Learn to be a better sales person – better yet, learn to offer your clients great sales service and you may still be around in a few years ;~)

Just keep reading, practicing, enhancing and innovating your sales approach.  Planting the “seeds of expectation” is a good place to begin!


Hey gang, I’m out of here. Have a good rest of the evening and I‘ll see you for a short post tomorrow.

Adios everybody,  David

1 comment:

  1. Hi David

    Another great and thought-prodding post, thank you! I've been trying to get this idea across to the photographers I teach as well, so it's nice to see someone else putting these ideas out there.

    I think that just about every photographer's sales job would be a lot simpler and easier, if only they planted a few seeds at strategic points in the process.

    Keep up the great work.