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Don’t judge a book…a lesson in sales | Guest Post by TheSalesTog

Guest post by TheSalesTog

You’ve heard the old adage, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover”, right?

In the past couple months, I couldn’t agree more with this statement when it comes to photography sales. Let me explain.

Imagine you are walking into a luxury apartment complex to meet with a couple for their viewing and ordering session. The apartment is only a temporary home as they are both working in the area for now, but they own a nice big house in another area as well.  They spent the money upfront to do the photo shoot and the shoot was amazing. You enter their home and are blown away by the art they have on their walls and how great they have decorated their apartment. They cooked dinner for you and are excited to see their photos. You set up on the couch in front of their 40 in flat screen TV they have on their wall and the husband mentions that there is a bigger TV in it’s box up against the wall that they will be replacing the 40 in TV with. You know that both of them make a lot of money, so the viewing and ordering session should be a breeze! A piece of cake!

One problem…

They love the photos, but don’t buy a thing because your out of their budget. You leave there with nothing and they don’t purchase even digital copies of the images!

Next scenario:

(Broken Down Home Image) Imagine for a minute that you are walking up to an apartment complex that looks a bit older, but not too bad, to meet with a lovely couple that you just had the pleasure of documenting for their engagement session. You approach the door, however the address they gave you says, “Apartment B” on it. You notice that there is no apartment ‘B’, so you give them a call to confirm that you are at the right location. They then tell you that their apartment is actually down a side alley and at the back end of the building.

You walk up to a small yard with no grass, only dirt, surrounding the cracked, cement walk way. As you approach the door and grab the handle, you have to pull a little bit because either the door is slightly broken, or the door jam is warped…you really can’t tell. You enter the home that has little to no wall art on the walls and realize that the couple shares this small, dark apartment with two other roommates in order to keep costs down.

You strike up a conversation with them and go through their viewing and ordering session like you would normally do and think to yourself, “Well, I’m not going to expect them to purchase much. And that’s fine. I’ll just prepare myself for not much of a sale”. Here’s the surprise…you walk out of their with one of the highest sales you’ve ever had!

Both of the above scenarios have happened to me and quite recently, actually. In the past 2 weeks, I have had close to 4 “Premieres” (that’s what we call our viewing and ordering sessions) and I have had the opportunity to see how judging a book by it’s cover can be so ridiculous. If there is one thing I’ve learned and I would want you to take with you from my mistakes, it would be this:

It’s not about the amount of money someone has. It is about the value they place on your photography. 

Think about that for a second and re-read it

When you let it sink in, like I did, you really start to notice how that is true in many areas of buying styles and habits, whether photography related or not.

Think on this: One person may buy a Starbucks coffee (Or, insert favorite coffee place here), while another may purchase a coffee from the corner gas station, or even simply get the free coffee from their apartment complex office and all make the same amount of money!

The next time you walk into a coffee shop, notice the diversity of the people there who are purchasing the same types of drinks, with maybe some slight variations. Then, take a stroll down to the corner gas station and you’ll see the same types of people purchasing coffee there for a buck and some change.

What’s the difference?

The value that they place on what it is they are purchasing.

The same goes for your business.

After this experience, we decided to implement something that helped us out a lot to sort through clients at the beginning to determine whether they valued a fine art, full-service studio or not. Plain and simple, not everyone is your client, and that’s fine. We just need to be aware of it and adjust so that we aren’t wasting people’s time when they don’t really value what we are offering and we aren’t wasting our time, which could be better spent serving a client who values our photography and will stand on the corner with a megaphone singing our praises.

So, here are two things I hope you learn from our oversights:

1. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. It’s about what they value.

2. Figure out who your target client is and find a way to find them.

I hope this snip-it in our photography business has been helpful to you. If you would like to leave any feedback or questions, feel free to do so below. On a side note, please don’t use this space to argue or debate political issues. Any disrespectful comments will be deleted. We are all for good discussion, but name calling or being argumentative never solves an issue, so thank you for being respectful :)




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