Doing In-Person Sales Without a Studio

Doing In-Person Sales Without a Studio

Intro by Skip Cohen

If you’re not following Sarah Petty’s blog, Joy of Marketing, you’re missing a fantastic opportunity. In addition to great topics and relevant advice, she’s been doing video-posts, further expanding her reputation for an incredible focus on education.

I grabbed this post from Sarah’s archives because it’s so relevant. It’s estimated that fifty percent of professional photographers in the U.S. in the portrait/social categories are part-time. As a result, many work out of their homes and don’t have a studio or business address.

Then there are studio owners who have customers out of their area. The Internet has made the world a much smaller place. People shopping for a photographer can review the work of as many artists as they have time for. In every photographic specialty, businesses have clients in other parts of the country and for that matter, the world.

So, Sarah took on the topic and the challenge based on her own experience with in-person sales when on location. Remember this is a transcript of the video which is no longer active, but that doesn’t take anything away from Sarah’s excellent suggestions.


By Sarah Petty

How do I sell my photography when I don’t have a studio? ….This is a question I get asked a lot as a business mentor to thousands of photographers.

In this 5 minute video, I’m going to share the tools I bring with me when I do in-person sales outside of my studio. With a little preparation, you’ll find that it’s just like going over to a friend’s house and helping them choose the best options for their house. They’ll love you for it.

Video Transcript

Photographers are Always Asking Me ‘How can I go to In-Person Selling’ when I don’t have a Studio

Hey, my name is Sarah Petty and I’ve been running a profitable studio for almost 20 years in Springfield, Illinois in the middle of a cornfield, but when I first started I was so broken. I didn’t have a sales process, I didn’t have a studio to sell in. So I had to figure these things out. I’m going to share them with you and I’m going to show you the things I take when I go on an in-person sales presentation.

When I first started I was photographing my clients, giving them proofs and they were never placing orders. I had no sales system, I was so frustrated people weren’t ordering, They were ordering small amounts or they were telling their friends, “Hey, just get them cheap from Sarah Petty!”. Whereas nowadays, we call it the SHOOT and BURN business model where we shoot and give clients a CD for a couple hundred bucks. That is NOT serving my clients.

I was in tears one year because I was such a mess of being overworked and making no money and I realized – you know what… I’ve got to figure this out. So I created a system that helped save my life and within 5 years I was named one of the most profitable photographers in the country by the Professional Photographers of America. So you see it doesn’t take 20 years to turn the boat around and become profitable very quickly.

What I Take with me when I Sell my Photography Outside my Studio

So when I go out of town I’m 4 hours from Chicago. I go up there and I have some clients and they have never been to my studio. So let me tell you what I take when I go there.

First, I’d take a laptop because I want to project from the laptop. I’d call down the images and I’d show them. So if you don’t have a projector you can show the images right on the laptop or you can plug into their television set if they have a large screen TV. I take a projector. Look how easy this is to fit, BOOM, just stick it in the trunk of your car.

I also take a piece of artwork, to give scale, to show them, ‘Look what I’m selling’. What I’m creating is custom artwork that can go to decorate their home. Not a CD that sits in a drawer. So I take….(this is a 20×30) this would be the smallest size that I would take. I would even like to see you take bigger. My lab White House custom color, whcc.com, if you don’t have a lab. You can get this, (this is on stretchered canvas or a gallery wrap canvas) AND you can get them unstretched. So you can literally roll up (the canvas), put a ribbon on it and throw it in your car. You don’t have to worry about it getting damaged,

The last thing I’d take is frame corners.

I include framing. You don’t have to, but if you want to…The first time I’m there for the consultation or the reception, I’m looking at their home trying to figure out if they like traditional things or contemporary. And then I take seven or eight frame samples. Not a big deal. Not hard. Make the choice, it’s really easy. We pick it out and BOOM, we’re done. It’s not hard. It’s really like sitting and talking with a friend to help them with their order.

If you’re feeling scared or overwhelmed or “Oh my gosh, I can’t do that, I don’t want to feel pushy”; I remember feeling that exact same way. I remember saying, “I have to tell people, pick between this one or that one. They’re going to think that’s so annoying” and you know what I found and my clients found?  ….That they absolutely LOVE IT! They love that I invest that time to sit and talk with them. To help them place that order. And your clients will like it too.

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This article was written by
Sarah Petty

Sarah is a New York Times best-selling author, highly-acclaimed speaker, author, MBA and coach who started her own boutique photography studio after working for Coca Cola for 20 years and then meeting the marketing goals of a top regional advertising agency’s clients. She attributes the rapid growth of her boutique photography studio, which was named one of the most profitable in the country within just five years in business by PPA, to the creation of her own strong brand. Click on Sarah's photograph to visit her blog.

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