If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably a professional photographer. That means you’re also a salesperson. After all, you sell your product and services to clients. Some of you may be frustrated by low sales levels; others may simply want to increase your sales.
Today, I’ll share five simple reasons why you may be selling yourself short in the sales arena. I’ll also explain how you can overcome these issues to improve your abilities as a salesperson and boost sales.
Reason 1: You don’t work hard enough
Sales is hard work. Period. You can’t take the typical nine to five approach of a hired employee takes. Many people quit their jobs, open their first business, and treat the job as they did when they were employed.
Self-employment doesn’t work that way. You have to sell your skills, service, or product. Successful selling requires that you invest a ton of time and effort—especially when you are just starting out. While there’s no magic number of hours that guarantees success, at least at first, plan to work well over a traditional eight-hour day.
Reason 2: You lack competence
When you sell a product or service, you need to know everything about it. Yet many great photographers lack knowledge of the many nuances of photography and photography equipment. As a result, when a client asks a question that requires expertise, they can’t answer it and stare back blankly like a deer in a car’s headlights.
To become a great salesperson and sell your product quickly and for a higher price, you must put in the time to become competent and knowledgeable about your field. You should be able to justify your prices easily, provide technical explanations, and describe the processes you use. All of this should be second nature. Customers must believe in your competency to feel secure doing business with you. Provide them that confidence, and you’ll close many more deals.
Reason 3: You don’t know how to sell
Selling does not come naturally to everyone. In fact, a great salesperson can sell more of a bad product than a bad salesperson can sell a good product. An inability to sell may present one of your biggest barriers to success. Fortunately, you can learn effective sales techniques.
Go online and buy a few of the top-rated books on sales. Read them to learn key approaches to selling including how to open up an opportunity, ask the right questions, build relationships, generate key reports, run client meetings, and differentiate yourself from competitors. Then practice these techniques. Over time, you will improve and sales levels will rise.
Reason 4: You have low self-confidence
If you don’t believe in yourself or that your photography services are worth $5,000, then how can your client? Many people sell their services and products at extremely low prices, even though others perceive the value of those offerings as much higher. These people lack confidence in their value and price their offerings accordingly. I know this situation from personal experience.
When I started my first business in Toronto, I sold my home renovation services at a rate two times lower than that of my competitors. I didn’t charge more because I didn’t think I was worth any more. When I developed confidence in my abilities, I realized that my services were indeed worth more. I raised my rates and began earning up to five times more while working much less.
Believe in yourself. If you feel that you lack self-confidence, my post “4 Steps to Developing Powerful Self-Confidence” provides tips for gaining that all-important confidence needed for sales success.
Reason 5: You need better people skills
We’ve all had it happen: You’re sitting with a client, and rather than listening to your pitch, he or she watches something on a laptop, texts, or takes a phone call. You’ve lost the client’s attention. The skill with which you handle this situation can determine whether you regain their attention and close the sale or lose the opportunity altogether. People skills make all the difference in sales.
Although some people naturally navigate these types of situations well, many do not. Like so many things in life, though, you can learn people skills. Just read books about sales and practice selling to your friends and family. Pay attention to the people around you and discover things about them like where they come from, where they work, and their interests and hobbies. People always appreciate it when you know about them or show interest in them. If you consistently practice these techniques, your people skills will improve to the point that you can easily keep clients engaged and close a sale—even when their phone buzzes and tries to demand their attention.
Do any of these barriers to selling strike a chord with you? If so, try some of the suggestions in this post and let me know your results. Share any tips you have for becoming a better salesperson, too.