The second stage is where the customer attends for their sitting. The session itself should be a very positive, fun experience. The customers should remember how much they enjoyed making the images, so that when they see the images in their viewing they smile and want to buy. Words that you use during this session can be very powerful and can bring attention to certain images you would like the customer to remember.
The third stage is the period of time between finishing the session and the customer returning for the viewing. Most photographers ignore this stage but this stage is crucial to the process. If you are not showing and telling the customer about options for their images immediately after their session and you are not giving them high quality literature to take away with them - you are missing this stage. Your literature should be selling your images while you are not there.
The fourth stage is the viewing or preview. When the customers arrive for their viewing it is important that they are relaxed and excited about seeing their images. An enthusiastic customer will have brought the sales literature you had previously given them back to the viewing. It is always better for parents to leave children at home for the viewing, but if they are around ensure you have another pair of hands or toys and crayons available to distract the children and allow the parents to concentrate on the sale. If the previous sales steps have been successfully carried out the customer should be eager and keen to complete the sale. Check for body language and buying signals during this stage. These include relaxing of tension, eye contact, moving towards you and asking questions about the product. Customers less inclined to make a purchase will avoid eye contact, and will seem hesitant and uncomfortable
vThe fifth and final stage is staying in touch with your customers. Moving customers through the buying process in little steps is time consuming and laborious. Once you have those customers do not let them go anywhere else. There are lots of reasons to stay in touch - birthdays, Christmas, Father's day, Mother's day or just to say 'hi'.
Following the sales process makes selling fun. By staying in control of the process at all stages we know we are helping our customers to achieve what they want to achieve. The customers coming into your studio are excited, motivated customers who want to buy your products. Photographers who allow their customers to lead the process have no idea where the sales will end up.
In this economic climate this is more important to understand than ever. Follow a process and have fun!!
If you would like to find out more about sales processes or marketing Suzanne is available for consultancy. Please contact her on 01432 850967 or email for further information at:
Suzanne Stinton-Heeley worked for 16 years as a Sales and Marketing Manager for The Royal Mail at their City of London office, and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. She became a professional photographer four years ago and her studio in Hereford has gone from strength to strength, enabling her to combine her sales and marketing skills with her photographic talents. Suzanne was awarded the Barrett and Coe Franchisee of the Year 2007 for the outstanding progress she had made throughout 2007.
Having only been taking professional photographs for three years Suzanne - working part time in a studio in Hereford - Suzanne's studio generated a six figure turn over in 2007 from only 5 family sessions per week - this was clearly an incredible achievement. As Suzanne says, "sales is what it is all about".
Suzanne spoke at the 2009 Convention to a packed room and has been invited to speak once more in 2010. In this article she explains the principles behind achieving great sales.
The Societies of Photographers Convention and Trade Show at The Novotel London West, Hammersmith ...
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