How I figured out my sales approach as a studio photographer

I want to preface this post by saying that there is no one way to do sales. But, I want to share with you my approach to sales because it has worked so well for me over the years, and it might work for you too! And if you’d rather watch me talk about this on video, head over to my IGTV!

Figuring out a sales approach as a studio photographer

Since first starting my studio portrait business, I can’t tell you the number of times I heard things like “oh you have a studio? You must be doing in person sales” or “to be a successful family photographer, you have to be all inclusive.” Two very different schools of thought, but both have very good reasons as to why they work. I tried both, and neither seemed to work. I was having a hard time meeting my sales goals and more over, I wasn’t meeting the needs of my clients. So something had to give.

Miller’s signature albums

Miller’s signature albums

I had to find a way to best serve my clients AND make money

The number one thing that I’ve learned about my people over the years is that they are busy. Most of them have new babies at home. They’re juggling all the things. And the last thing they want to do is load up the car and drive back to my studio just so that I can sell them things. I can totally relate… I wouldn’t want to do that either, and I don’t even have the excuse of having small babies!

I also learned that my people don’t necessarily want to purchase a $1000+ session package before we’ve even had the session. And I’ve found that charging someone a deposit to book a session with me, and then asking them the day of to spend more money, can cause confusion and frustration. Neither of which are good for sales! So, I decided to find a way to best appeal to my clients while also making money!

My hybrid approach to print and product sales

When a client reaches out to book a session with me and we find a date/time that works, I simply put their name and session time on the calendar. I will also email them helpful links, such as my pricing page and “what to wear” boards on Pinterest. But that’s it!

Then, it’s time for their session. I do my sales session right after we take photos while everyone is still at my studio and excited from the session. Keep in mind though, I’m a film photographer! Which means that none of us, not even I, have seen any of their photos from the session. But it works because I know my clients and what they want, and they know my brand and what to expect.

Miller’s softcover albums

Miller’s softcover albums

I also keep things very simple. I don’t offer a lot of options because I know that too many choices can be overwhelming and I want to keep everything as easy as possible for my families. For products, I have samples of the four signature albums that we offer which they can flip through. And, if they purchase an album, it comes with digital files as an incentive. I tell my people “this package is a great choice when you do want the digital files for archival reasons, but you also know yourself, know that you’re never going to print them, but you still want a beautiful, hard copy of your photos to display.” I also offer UV-protected, mounted prints in three large sizes and a package for just the digital files. That’s all!

And you know what? Probably 90% of my clients will order something right then and there. And for the other 10%, we follow up with them once their online gallery (thanks, Shootproof!) goes up and most people will add some kind of product at that point. For everyone who orders product, we will send information via email to get the process started, including this blog post to help walk them through the album ordering process.

So, my sales approach is somewhere in between all-inclusive and IPS

And here’s what I want you to takeaway from this: whatever sales approach you decide to do, it HAS to be what’s right for your client. What works best for them. Otherwise it won’t work! Trust me.

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