I’m starting a short blogging series about In Person Sales (IPS). I polled our Facebook Flourish Academy Community to see what questions people had about IPS so that I could specifically address those items.
The biggest question was around how to transition to IPS. What steps to take, how to tell clients, when to start, how to prepare. So let’s begin with some important items to consider when you begin the IPS journey.
First and foremost, communication should be your top priority. If you are currently a shoot and burn or online gallery photographer, your clients have likely never had viewing and ordering sessions. Do not expect them to understand the process. Spell it out step by step so that they fully understand what the process entails, what’s required, what’s expected of them, what they should expect of you. Do not assume they will understand – it’s your job to make them understand and comply with your new process.
You need to be in control of what’s happening and be firm with your procedure. Your contract should state the rules of the viewing. Talk about the viewing appointment as much as you can during their photo shoot. Send a thank you email after the session with a reminder about the viewing, and finally send them a reminder about their viewing a few days before. It’s all about communication. If they are uneasy about an in person viewing, your constant communication and details on the process will put them at ease.
Set a Date
When do you start? The simple answer: Whenever you want. I set a date that I would start in person viewings and any bookings that I took for that date and beyond were part of the IPS process. There were no exceptions. I have people that come from great distances for sessions so if they can’t make it back to the studio for a viewing, we do it online via Skype. There are no online galleries as of the date I set for IPS.
One suggestion would be to ensure that your clients pick their viewing dates at the time they book their photo shoot. It’s important that both you and the client know this date up front.
Preparing for this change is critical to your success. I looked at my collection offerings and made sure they were easy for clients to understand, I read lots of books on sales, I took a CreativeLive Class to learn more about the process, and I had mentoring sessions with Heather. I needed to bounce all my ideas off someone and Heather was perfect for that! You will spend more time with each client so it’s important to prepare the extra time you will be putting into the process as well. I’ll get more into that in the next post.
The key with IPS to to build the anticipation so that clients are excited and have an emotional response to seeing their photos. I try to limit preview photos prior to their viewing. Most clients do not see any finished photos before their viewing. Since I’m a boudoir photographer, I only share a preview photo if they allow me to do so in my private group. I will show them a few photos on the back of the camera, but their excitement builds as they wait for their viewing. An emotional response to their photos typically results in a bigger investment in your artwork.
Do you worry your existing clients won’t follow the new procedure and will go somewhere else? It’s normal to feel that way. Guess what – I didn’t lose one client when I switched to IPS. If they want you as their photographer, they will follow your procedure. You set the rules, stick to it and they will stick with you!
In my next blog post, we’ll talk about the IPS process itself! Stay tuned!