I think one of the biggest things that stops a lot of photographers from switching over to In Person Sales from online sales is this (mostly irrational) fear that a client will “call their bluff” or that they’ll just run into a thousand different objections to the process, itself. So let’s tackle that today, shall we?
Some common objections you might hear are things like:
- “Why do I have to do a planning meeting, a session AND a sales meeting with you? Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
- “I’m sorry, I can’t buy anything until after I’ve talked to my spouse.”
- “Can you just put them online for me so I can take some more time to decide?”
And I get it, these kinds of questions are uncomfortable and they can be scary when you start thinking through all of the possible scenarios of how things could go down after they’re asked.
So here’s what you should do…
1. Set Expectations. Then Set Them Again. And Again. And Again.
Roughly 99.99999999999999% of the objections you might face can (and need to) be dealt with before your clients ever reach a point where they might object.
Talk to your clients about the process before they ever book you. Don’t count on them to read anything (no one has time to read much of anything anymore) and, even more so, don’t count on them to remember anything they may have read. You need to say this stuff. Over and over.
In your initial phone call or email:
“… then we’ll have your image premiere and ordering session, where you’ll come over to see your photos and decide what you’d like to purchase, so be sure that all decision-makers are available for that.”
During your planning meeting:
“… we’ve discussed a bunch about the things you might want from your session, but we’ll really nail this stuff down after you’ve seen your images at your image premiere and ordering session. So be sure everyone who’s needed to make any purchasing decisions will be there.”
At the end of your session:
“I can’t wait to see you guys in a couple of weeks to show you the photos we got today and help you figure out what to do with them! Don’t forget, I’ll need both of you to be there for that meeting.”
Feel free to word this stuff however you’d like, the point is, make sure you’re setting expectations and reinforcing them as often as possible.
2. Remember, It’s Not About You.
Doing In-Person Sales is incredibly profitable for your business for a lot of reasons, but I’d argue that the biggest reason it’s profitable is because it’s actually better for your client than online sales.
Like, a lot better.
We tend to think of this as a sales process. That’s not really the case. It’s a service process. In-Person Sales gives us, the photographers, an excuse to help our clients decide what to do with all of the amazing photos we captured for them (rather than delivering a disc of images and telling them, “good luck figuring out what to do with all of those”).
We get to use our expertise, our eye and our experience to guide them through which photos would be best, in what place, at what size and on what product type. We do this every day. Our clients do it every few years. It’s our job to help them do something with the images we create. Because if we don’t, those files are going to sit on a disc or a thumb drive or on a website without ever being displayed, enjoyed or passed down.
It’s a tragedy that the most photographed generation in the history of the world will have the fewest photographs to show for it.
So what does this have to do with objections, Chris?
Glad you asked. If you can stop thinking of this as a sales process and see it for what it is, the best way to help your clients get what they want, you’ll start seeing really clear (and really genuine) answers to those objections.
Client: “Do I really have to come to a planning meeting, a session AND an image premiere?!? The last photographer I had just did the session and a disc of images!”
You: “I completely understand where you’re coming from and it’s really a shame that your last photographer didn’t help you do anything with the images they created for you. People hire me for more than just the disc of images, they hire me because they know that I’ll take the time to guide them through finding the perfect products for their home from our session together. I’ve found that doing planning meetings, sessions and image premieres helps my clients get the most value out of our time together and they leave with something real and tangible to enjoy and pass down.”
For every objection you think of, turn it around and answer it from the standpoint of “this is why this is better for you” and “this is the reason people hire me instead of their previous photographer.”
So there you have it – set client expectations up front, then reinforce them and frame every response in a way that makes it clear that you believe IPS is actually better for your client than the alternative (because it is).
So tell me in the comments – what’s the objection you’re the most afraid of? I’ll jump back in here and let you know how I’d approach answering it!