It’s a Saturday afternoon and you’ve meeting a couple for coffee to talk about their upcoming wedding. Sweet! – Right? As you make plans for the new income you see on the horizon…
Slow your roll – they have to hire you first. You feel it in the pit of your stomach – this java date is a SALES meeting. Your least-favorite-thing. Rather than heading into full of nervous dread, take a different approach and let the customer help you get hired by listening.
Why do people hire you? Is it because of your pricing, your packages, your custom photo albums, your engagement sessions, your social media content, your work, your sense of humor, your referrals? In a recent survey conducted by Zookbinders many photographers said people hired them because of the quality of their work and their personality. So how do you sell “My Great Personality” -where is that the pricing menu?
“With our platinum collection I’ll be your new best friend. I’ll listen to your stories, nod patiently at your indecisiveness AND if you book with me today I’ll throw lots of compliments at both of your mothers – day of event.”
Okay so that’s not how it works. You’ll need a little strategy for this audience. So, before all these words start falling out of your mouth, extolling the benefits of YOU – your experience, your vision, your awards, your equipment, your editing skills, your alpaca obsession, your world travel, your choice for a $7 cup of coffee – take a breath. And, if necessary put your hand over your mouth and be silent.
Dale Carnegie, (author Of “How to WIn Friend and Influence People”) says it best when describing what you’ll gain by listening. “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
People DO want to know about you, but know when to step out of the spotlight. With your lips zipped spend your quiet time uncovering what the CLIENT wants in order to meet THEIR needs. Nobody likes a windbag. Everybody wants to know that someone cares.
So, start by asking. How did you become engaged? Tell me about your families. What’s your favorite thing about your partner? LISTEN to their likes & dislikes, their vibe, their brand even their inconsistencies. You may feel like you have to throw in your two cents – don’t. “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” ― Stephen R. Covey, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” People love to talk about themselves and who are you to stop them? Complement, ask more, laugh and tear up…make friends. It will pay off!
Now for your move. Reframe all that good intell you’ve gathered by not talking about your cool new lens and respond with solutions that complement their ideas. Boost your new friend’s confidence in the decisions they’ve made and how you can help fulfill their needs. Connect what they want to what you do.
Here are some examples. Try role playing these conversations.
After chatting a bit you’ve tallied up how many times your client says things like simple and modern. You think – the 10×10 Lustre Book with a leather spine would be perfect.
“I hear a lot of couples saying they like a clean modern feel – this album really fits the bill…” Show the Lustre Book. Connect the dots from what they’ve told you that they like to what you are showing them.
At the next meeting the couple seems to gravitate toward the luxe. You notice watches and purses with designer names. They talk about their signature drinks and their rooftop reception in the city.
You think – 12×12 Zook Book, black and gray splash cameo – black gilding and branded imprinting.
“I really like the urban romance theme you’re working with – check out this custom photo album…” explain how it’s the perfect customized piece to tell the story of their day for generations to come.
Your next potential new customer demands to be different – refusing to settle for the same old ho-humery. Thrill them with the uniqueness of the Bon A Vie. Just like them – innovative and unexpected.
Whatever albums and services you offer have an arsenal of features, benefits and uses that meet the needs of your potential client. Illustrate for them how what you do is exactly what they want. How can they not hire you? You’re golden! Your respected their opinion. Shared an appropriate amount about yourself. Thoughtfully helped them with solutions. Remember, it’s more about them than it is about you. Helping your new client find exactly what they want because they told you, and you listened.