I was at the mall yesterday with my daughter and this happened...
We were leaving one of the mall shops (Express to be exact) and it happened... a super outgoing lady at one of the kiosks (...you know the kind that chase you down telling you the hundreds of reasons you need their product and begging you to try a sample?) yelled out to us.
She called to my daughter, "Hey there beautiful red head... I bet you have a hard time with your hair... I'm a red head too, want to get your hair straightened... it will only take 5-10 minutes."
My daughter didn't want to, but I did. If you follow me on instagram you might have read one of my recent posts where I mention I usually always flat iron my hair straight for photos because I'm not fond of my natural curl.
So I sat down and let her straighten my hair. While she was working on my hair she asked me things like, are you from around here, do you have a dog, etc... I said we have a pug and she told me her friend is obsessed with pugs. I told her I lived near the Air Force Base and she told me her dad was in the Air Force.
She also gave me tips about hair care, including the "right" way to brush your hair. She told me that this was the sort of thing she knows because she is a "cosmetologist."
After she was finished I asked her the price of the flat iron. She told me said that was the same price I would find it on Amazon, except on Amazon I wouldn't get the "lifetime warranty".
She told me that she would not recommend buying a used one from places like "Poshmark" because of hygiene issues. I thought it was interesting that she was telling me all the other places I could buy one of these irons but then she told me the reasons I shouldn't buy from them and only buy from her.
Then she told me of three different promotions that were available. I told her we were on our way to the food court for lunch and would think about it.
She let me know that today was the last day of the sale and she would only be there for 2 more hours. She asked me which promotion I was interested in the most. And then she said if I purchased that one today she would throw in some hair care products (a $200 value).
At lunch my daughter said to me, "mom, that lady was a really good sales person." I said, yes, she was pretty good. It made me start thinking all the things she did and how it could apply to in-person sales in photography.
Here are some things she did right how you can apply them to In Person Sales in your photography business:
1) She made a connection with us. She tried to connect with us on a personal level. For example she connected with my daughter because she was a red head, she said her friend loved pugs, and that her dad was in the Air Force (same as my dad).
Tip: Make a connection with your clients, ask them personal questions and see if you can connect with them on a personal level. But remember to be sincere.
2) She positioned herself as an industry expert and gained our trust by reminding us that she was a "cosmetologist" and sharing tips on hair care.
Tip: Educate your clients at your meeting on things such as how to arrange their photos on their wall, or give them tips on how to care for their prints, albums or canvases.
3) She let us sample the product and let me try it so I could experience it for myself.
Tip: Have plenty of sample options available for your clients including different sized albums, frames, canvases so that they can see, feel and hold the product.
4) She presented me with 2-3 promotions and asked which offer I was most interested in.
Tip: After explaining the packages, ask your clients which one they like best and throw in an added bonus such as an extra set of prints if they purchase that particular package.
5) She let me know there was a limited time to take advantage of this offer.
Tip: Have specials available if your clients purchase on the same day as their meeting.
6) She knew her competition and what price point they were selling her product.
Tip: You could let your clients know the down side of having their photos printed a cheap local labs instead of by you the professional. Let them know that only you can guarantee the colors and the editing, the quality of paper, etc... because you work with pro labs that only professional photographers have access to.
7) She let me know that if I purchased anywhere except with her I wouldn't have the lifetime warranty that she could give me and reminded me that it wasn't safe to purchase used.
Tip: Let your clients know the down side of having their photos printed a cheap local labs instead of by you the professional. Let them know that only you can guarantee the colors and the editing, the quality of paper, etc... because you work with pro labs that only professional photographers have access to. If your album company offers a lifetime warranty, make sure to use this as a selling point. If you're meeting with potential wedding clients you could remind them of the risk of hiring a "non-professional" or friend of the family.
Two things she did wrong (in my opinion):
1) She tried connecting with my daughter instead of me at the beginning and I was the one who was in the position to make the purchase.
2) If she had done enough market research she might have known that a lot of people with natural curly hair love to have their hair straightened and so I would be a perfect client for her product.
*If you're wondering if I went back and purchased the flat iron or not here's what happened... I checked online. Sure enough everything she told me was correct... they were on Amazon for the same price and even on Poshmark. But I looked at reviews as I always do and there were some not so great reviews, so I decided to do a little more research.
Tip: make sure to have client reviews on your site... reviews are so important!
(And speaking of your website... if you would like to have a chance for myself or other photographers to review your website you can join my private facebook group. Periodically I will offer the chance to review websites inside the group. It is usually on Wednesday for the "Mid-Week Critique".)