We all have heard the phrase “show what you want to sell”. But, what does that really mean? Taken literally, it would mean that if you want to sell for the wall, you should only show wall portraits or wall groupings. If you don’t have a studio location, this can be hard to do! Even with a studio location, showing lots of wall groupings can be a big investment to make.
Even though I have a retail studio, I like to work on location. I enjoy being in my client’s homes, helping them with clothing suggestions, and choosing personal props for their session. I also enjoy walking through their homes and making suggestions for where to hang their portraits.
There are many different sales software solutions available to photographers, that allow you to import snapshots of clients’ walls, and build their portrait art to scale. I have used several over the years, but I currently use Fundy Design Software.
By designing and suggesting custom wall art in specific sizes, I can “show” my clients what I want to sell by showing and suggesting wall portraits or wall groupings right on their own walls. This in itself is even more powerful than your client walking into your studio and seeing a wall grouping that showcases another family. I’ve learned that an ordering appointment in my client’s home, with only a laptop, can lead to very high sales because the process is so customized for each and every person.
If selling wall portraits is your goal, then set up systems to lead your client through the entire process so that they will be ready and excited to purchase!
THE FIRST PHONE CALL
From the very first phone call, your prospective client should know that your specialty is creating custom wall concepts for her home. Ask where they will be hanging their portraits after you’ve talked about who you will be photographing and discuss the type of session you’ll be doing for them. Since most people who call won’t have a clue where they’re going to hang their portraits, it becomes your opportunity to make suggestions to them and let them know that you’ll be asking them questions about their home and decor style. At this time I ask clients for some quick snapshots of the walls in their home – any place they’d consider hanging a portrait.
THE CONSULTATION CALL:
Plan a consultation call before the session is scheduled. During the consultation call, we go over the designs I’ve created for them (suggesting wall products), go over the pricing/product menu and start planning their session!
I ask our clients to send over the images of their walls before this call so that I can make suggestions for clothing and locations based on where we will be hanging their portraits. I also want to show them the designs that I’ve put together for them in Fundy. When at all possible, show your clients the concepts that you’ve built (groupings on their walls that include the frames, without images) before this call so that you can discuss each room and the suggestions you’ve made.
When a client asks if they can do a clothing change during their session, I let them know that I’ll have them change clothes for each room that we are photographing for. This has cut down on the needless time that we used to spend on changing outfits. If we are only decorating one room, it will be one outfit. If we are decorating three rooms, they will bring three outfits and we will photograph three different backgrounds or locations.
Tip: If you do not have the client’s wall photos before your consultation call, remind her again how important it is to have those snapshots so that you can plan and design the session based on their decor style and the colors in their home. Let her know that as soon as you have those from her, you’ll be emailing over some design concepts so that you can discuss the session planning together.
*This is your time to get your clients excited about the possibilities and to keep them in momentum for the buying process!
During the session, I like to make comments based on our previous conversations about where my clients will hang their portraits.
For example: “I love her pink dress! It’s perfect out here in the flowers and it’s going to look so sweet in her room!”
“This grouping is going to look fantastic in your family room! I love the textures of your sweaters and it’s all going to look amazing with the browns and yellows you have in that room.”
I also want to comment on memories and relationships. Look at what’s happening right in front of you – put it into words and create a priceless image based on the memories that are being created right in front of your camera!
Keep the conversation going so mom feels good about the choices that she made for clothing as well as the final presentation of the images in her home. She’ll also remember all of the things that you say about her family.
Kids: “I love your giggles! Do you two always have this much fun together?”
Child and Dad: “Your daddy is such a great dad! You sure love your daddy snuggles!”
Child and Mom: “I love that he constantly wants to be right beside you. Treasure these moments!”
Your clients will remember these words when they see the portraits you have created!
ORDER APPOINTMENT REMINDER
The day before the order appointment, give your client a call and let her know how excited you are for her to see the images you have created. Remind her of the time you’ve set and that you’ll be helping her make her decisions while she’s there. Remind her of the rooms that you photographed for and let her know that you’ve got perfect images for those selections. “I’m so excited for you to see the images that were captured! Your family room is going to look stunning with these wonderful memories on the wall!”
If you follow this system, by the time your client gets to the ordering appointment, she is excited to see her images and ready to buy! You’ve already discussed where you will be hanging her portraits as well as suggesting sizes, framing and the best placement of the images. The ordering appointment should be fun and go quickly with this pre-planning in place – in fact, she’s already made all of the hard decisions!
The ordering appointment brings it all together, and should be a fun process!
After the ordering appointment, send your client a hand-written thank you note letting her know what great choices she has made and how wonderful her portraits are going to look in her home.
If you are trying to make the switch from online sales to in-person sales, the key is to get excited! Let your clients know that you have a great new way to show them their images and guide them through their selections. I like to say “I’ll hold your hand through the entire process!”.
If you’re excited, your clients will be too. Make a plan for success. You’ll be creating something special for your clients AND you’ll make more profit!