Intro by Skip Cohen
As Spring Seasonality, one of the busiest times of year, starts to ramp up I ran across this gem in Beverly Walden’s archives.
You’re working hard to create the finest images of your career thus far, but it means little if you can’t sell your services and in turn your photographs. What Beverly and Tim Walden have really done is focus on the art of soft-selling. They’re being helpful with a suggestion method rather than offensive hard-sell tactics. The customer is always in control, but the Waldens work hard to build the relationship first so they’ve positioned themselves in part as allies
Beverly talks about Seth Godin in this post. Well, Godin is also credited with the statement, “People rarely buy what they need, they buy what they want.” One key to great selling skills is to work with your clients and plant those seeds that grow into things they want, especially fine art portraiture.
By Beverly Walden
As I was thinking about what to write about this week, I read a statement from Seth Godin, author of Purple Cow and other awesome books. He was describing the difference between “What do you need?” as opposed to “Here’s what you need!” It struck me that great salespeople have this SUPREME level of confidence when they say “This is what you need!” rather than wavering and saying, “What do you want?” In fact, we have found that our clients appreciate the fact that we can guide them with the highest level of confidence.
This is not the same as strong-arming someone.
Please understand we meet with our clients and have many conversations about their home, their spaces and their vision long before we get to the sales room, so we are not just shooting in the dark (so to speak)-as often as we can, we ask our clients if we can do their planning session in their homes so that we can take photos of the wall space and put that information into ProSelect. This allows us to virtually show them the results of their session over their mantle, piano or wherever they planned to hang it and it is in the correct size for that particular space!
It reminds me of a dinner we had with Tim Kelly, our friend in Orlando, Florida. He mentioned a friend who had this particular personality trait…if he liked something, he would make sure everyone around him knew it and more than that, he made sure everyone bought in to his way of thinking. In fact, Tim said, his friend would help load whatever it was he was selling into people’s cars. He was just that confident that everyone should have it (whatever it was)!
Our idea of selling with Suggestions is the way we show our confidence.
We pre-select the images, sizes, etc. for our clients in a well-thought out “Suggestion” presentation so that our clients aren’t asked the question “What do you need or want”. Instead, we show them our Suggestions and say “Here’s what you need”!
This is so helpful in the salesroom. It keeps the pressure off the client to make a decision, which they may not have a clue about. Instead, as the experts, we give our opinion. The thing that makes this work is our integrity and reputation – our clients trust us! Also, they ALWAYS have the power to veto any and everything we have presented if they don’t feel it is right for them at this time.
It is a wonderful working relationship in the sales room and we have seen our sales increase significantly since doing the Suggestions. We have received many testimonials as well from other photographers who started using our Suggestion methods and saw their sales increase many-fold.