To guarantee a successful outcome in the majority of your sales you need an established process which kicks in from the first point of contact with your client.
Look at the journey that each client takes through your business and look at each point of contact you have with them. Are you making the most of each of these opportunities to educate the clients about the final end product and actual costs involved?
From the very first phone conversation you're selling yourself to the client. It isn't enough just to have bookings in the diary, more importantly they have to be the right bookings. During that first phone call, you're establishing a relationship with your potential client, selling the experience they will have with you during the photo shoot and introducing the options for products afterwards. Encourage them to think about what they might like to have as their finished product; images on canvas, framed pictures or a selection in a story book album. Introduce the price points for these options - "Most of my clients spend anywhere between x and y. Framed pictures start from £xxx upwards, collections of images in albums start from £xxx." This gives the customer advance warning of how much it costs which means it's less of a blow later on when you're selling the image.
At this stage this is enough information for them to start to feel comfortable with, anyone unwilling or unable to spend this much will be filtered out.
Following the initial call, send out your printed material with a covering letter which should support and reinforce the message you were giving out over the phone. The tone of the letter should be friendly yet professional, personalised by details you picked up in the conversation-children's names, wedding day venues etc. Again have a simple reference to prices and the sales process you will be taking the clients through so they have a thorough understanding of it all.
The next stage which offers you an opportunity to pre sell is the photographic experience itself. Throughout the shoot you can mention products and prices if the opportunity arises and if not there's always the valuable time at the end of the shoot. Don't rush away, an extra 15 minutes over coffee at this time will give you the best opportunity to prepare the client. They've had a great time with you so far and are now quite relaxed. Take some products with you, keep them in the car and as you're chatting start to prepare them for the next stage. Explain that they will see their images as an AV presentation, you will take them through a process that really helps them to decide which they want and how they want them and introduce the option of an album. If they're unsure about what today's albums are like, say you just happen to have one in the car and get it to show them! Openly discuss the options available as you really want to encourage them to think about where they might want to hang a finished frame, this will help make further decisions easier such as size and type of frame or finish.
By the time you are in the actual sales scenario almost 90% of the work should be done and you're job is then to help them select the best possible images in the most ideal form of presentation for their needs.
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