|At the age of just 21 years old I managed to secure a dream job in working as a photographer on a luxury cruise ship.
I had a staff of three other photographers, and cruised all over the world photographing the passenger’s, and then I had to sell the photographs to the passengers, and my incentive was that I was on a 4% commission of total sales.
I achieved record sales for the photographs, on my very first round the world trip.
Two years later I opened my own studio, but I soon learned that there was a lot more to the business than just taking photographs.
The business needed to create cash flow, for there were lots of bills to be paid.
After just two years I had grown my photography business and I employed five staff, and opened a second studio in a nearby town.
Successful Marketing Selling was the key to my rapid growth.
I have owned and operated three successful photography studios over a period of 40 years, and then onto being an International Photography Business Coach.
The reason I was able to keep my studios profitable for this amount of time, was that I developed a great Marketing strategies, and a “soft sell” system that took the pressure off when it came to the sale.
I was able to go into the sales process relaxed, and with confidence that I would maximise the sale to each and every customer.
Solid, predictable and consistent selling systems are the heart and life blood of any business.
I must admit that I did learn from my mistakes, of which I made many.
Selling can be pressure for both the customer and the sales person, and It took me many years to realise that people love to buy, but hate to be sold.
Of course I have read numerous books on selling, but they never gave a specific step by step of the process.
So I developed my own.
It is powerful and it may appear too simple for your brain to accept, but believe me it is based on my specific experience over thousands of portrait sales that have put hundreds of thousands of dollars into my bank account.
Most photographers do not see themselves as salespeople, and one of the biggest mistakes is that they talk too much. In the sales room you have to learn to listen and learn not to talk all the time.
All your talk is highly ineffective and completely unnecessary.
Focus on learning to listen instead of talking.
Listen to that potential client’s questions and concerns like you are being told the biggest secret in the world. You have to have big ears to listen to every word that they are saying.
All photographers are different…different clients, different bills, different family structure, different experience, different personalities. My “Soft Sell Approach suits each and every one of them.
Have No Fear
In my photography business coaching I consistently see photographers break sales records.
How exciting is that!
Imagine not having to close a sale, and instead the customers closing their own sale!
Just relax and let the system do its work.
One of the keys to the success of this strategy is the structure of your pricing and products.
These in turn should be connected to your branding and target market.
Keep in mind that all we are trying to do is maximize each and every portrait sale.
Let’s look at the 5 ways we can sell our portraits.
Usually cheap shoot and burners…no opportunity to upsell..usually inferior photography…hobbyist saving for a better camera.
2.Project Big-Sell Down
Mainly used to sell on big wall image…pressure used by some bigger style studios
…could create buyer remorse
3. Sell Online
Can work but not to Maximize sales
4.The Reveal Wall
This is where the client comes back to the studio and the images that were taken are all put up on a wall.
The clients can touch their images to create a sense of ownership and excitement, and is different than looking at a computer screen, or projected image.
No opportunity to up sell….strategy is to sell all images in a small size
5. Bernie’s Soft Sell System.
Can be done in clients home
Let The Customer make their own Decisions.
Forget what you would like the customer to buy.
Let them decide on what they based on the information that you have given them.
You should have a simple structured price list that leads the customer to buy your core products, which in turn will help maximise your sales.
My “soft sell” system gave me a very high average sale.
It changed my mindset.
It will change yours if you let it.
I believe that you can at least double your average sale.
You can easily lose thousands of dollars if you do not do your selling correctly.
Imagine if your average sale was just $600, over 50 sales that would equate to $30,000!
Do not prejudge what the customer can or cannot afford.
Don’t think that the customer doesn’t have the money to invest a lot in photography.
This is a big mistake. I have known a customer deprive themselves of a new car, choosing rather to spend thousands with me, on family photographs.
Never Underestimate The Value of a Lifetime Customer
By not prejudging a customer, you can open your mind to the possibility that this customer will come back again and again over the years.
Let your presentation, be carried by this excitement, enthusiasm, and belief.
Dress for Success
If you dress for success, the customer is more likely to take your higher prices seriously.
I don’t mean over the top, but I do mean that you should dress professionally.
Whether you are male or female dress appropriately when you are selling. It will have a positive effect on your sales presentation.
Many portrait photographers fall by the wayside in their attempt to build up their photography business and attempt to make it full time and earn enough money support their families.
Let’s be realistic…it isn’t easy to create a photography business, regardless of what you might read in forums and on various articles and comments on the internet.
So what is the difference between those who fail and those who succeed?
Listen to what Delaware based photographer Kelli Carter Wilke had to say.
My own pivotal moment (besides having kids, getting divorced, getting married , moving.. not necessarily in that order) is when I wrote Bernie one year ago July 1st, 2020. I’m not sure why during a pandemic, I thought it was a good time to re-vamp my business, except that fact that I knew it would eventually end. 28+ years in doing photography, I’ve kind of done it all at this point.. except the one thing that could make me REAL money and make a difference in my life and quality of life. Not to say we didn’t have a good solid life and certainly didn’t suffer, but now I’m sitting in Wyoming with my kids all summer while someone else shoots for me and I do the sales.
I have a fat bank account and not too worried about spending money on camps, bikes and things to make our trip that much more fun. Both my husband and I are self employed so it’s always a bit of a wild card on what we make each year so we are careful but I feel much more free to do what I want.
I’ve NEVER had these type of sales ..ever.. even in my best days as a commercial photog. Major pivotal moment July 2020! thank you Bernie”.
Get my FREE “Soft Sell’ E-book.
What will your pivotal moment be?
The way to building a Rockstar Portrait Photography Business. ….How to Bank $10,000 to $30,000 Per Month in your Business.
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