by Mary Ann Breshears
The most effective way to sell wall portraits is by projection.
Ken Whitmire taught, “There is no second chance at a first impression!” in his 10 Axioms. An image projected onto the wall becomes a wall portrait and it has impact. Our clients see their family portrait on the wall and a desire is created. They came to us because they needed a picture of their family, but now they WANT a wall portrait.
It’s nearly impossible to create that desire with an online gallery and ask your client to choose their favorites and select sizes on their computer screen from the comfort of their living room. When the client becomes their own order taker, the impact and excitement of their portraits fades away quickly, and so will your sale.
Selling is an involved process: It is all about finding out what our clients want and then helping them get it. It is not about taking an order. Order takers just write down what the clients say they need. Order takers do not find out what their clients want! But the number one concern in the sales appointment is how to overcome objections, so let’s approach that.
Understanding, Addressing and Overcoming Objections
We lead and direct our clients through the sales session, taking care of objections that could arise — before they do. But most clients will raise an objection before they commit to spend money with you. Now you’ve come to the point that everyone worries about — overcoming objections.
Objections are good because you cannot start selling until you get an objection and you cannot get an objection until you ask for the sale (trial close). The number one reason sales are not made is because the sale was never asked for. Everything we talk about during the sales session leads us right into asking for the sale.
You don’t have to follow a set procedure or use a script, but consistent sales techniques bear fruit. Some of us might think that all we want to know is how to answer the objections that we always seem to get. We are going to get into that next but if we use this method and follow a script, we will get a lot fewer objections because we will have given the clients the information they need in a quick, informative, logical, and easy to remember way. Overcoming the objections will be much easier because we are in control, setting the right rhythm and pace of the sales session.
Most objections are really just the customer’s concerns, like are they making a good decision or is this a good investment? Most people new to sales think that an objection is a “no” and means “it’s over.” A veteran salesman knows that customers often have good reasons to hesitate and that they usually just need more information. When they hesitate or stall, just think, “They need more information.” When customers give you objections they tell you three important things:
Whichever the case, they need more information!
Don’t ignore any objection.
Sometimes just acknowledging their concern is enough to show you are really listening. When answering objections, get the other person to answer his or her own objections.
One of my mentors, Reg Mess says, “Remember, if you say it, they can doubt it - but if they say it, it’s true.”
Four Steps to Handling Objections
2) RESTATE it
3) ANSWER it
4) CONFIRM your ANSWER
The Breshears sales room, where 96” portraits can be projected.
The most common objections we get in wall portrait sales are:
In answering these objections we are going to assume that the clients have been taken through the projection and given the necessary information. Remember, practice and building rapport help eliminate objections before they are verbalized. Here are a few sample objections and how we handle them in our studio.
“I just want a CD”
My scripted response is:
I want to understand your needs in asking for a CD. What is your desired outcome for these images?
“I want them for facebook and/ or my phone.”
I do understand and I will take care of that for you. All of the images you select today will be loaded on to our Facebook page and you are welcome to move them to your wall or download them to your phone.
“Well I may want to make a print or something from a CD.”
I understand, but as you look around this room you can see that we pride ourselves in providing a beautiful finished product and we do not want you to have anything less. We use a professional lab that will color correct your image to our set standards and we know it will stand the test of time. With that said, let’s make sure we get you everything that you need today. Which images are you wanting to display?
Once we have worked our way through all of the images in their love folder I say:
Now I think we have created something from all of you love images, is there anything else you need? Have I met all of your needs today?
This is where I close with a step by step process. I project all of the “love” images one by one, place my cursor over them and state what sizes they are getting and for whom. Then I present them with the final total. By this time I have gone over everything and overcome their objections and we figure out how they are going to pay for what the love and desire to own.
Originally published in The Washington Photographer Issue Fall 2017
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