Business + Marketing

Boost Your Sales Revenue and Turn Clients into Raving Fans and Referral Machines

April 24, 2024

By Tanya Smith

If you’re tired of losing potential sales and want to know how to not just close deals but also keep your clients coming back for more, today, we’re diving deep into the power of sales in your portrait business. 

© Tanya Smith

The Sales Journey

It is a common misconception that sales are confined to the final ordering session. In reality, the sales process starts with the initial interaction with your prospective client, including that very first email.

Prior to the photography session is when you’re setting expectations and making sure you’ll capture the kind of images your client wants. This will help with your success during the ordering session because you listened to what they wanted.

During the session, you’re not just taking photos. You’re subtly preparing them for the investment they’re about to make, thereby setting the stage for a successful sales outcome.

Leading up to the image reveal and ordering session is your chance to build anticipation and get your clients excited about spending money on something they’ll cherish forever. Do this in your follow up emails after their shoot, and while you’re booking their reveal/ordering session.

By understanding that the sales process is ongoing, you set yourself up for success at every stage.

© Tanya Smith

The Merits of In-Person Sales

Conducting in-person sales sessions offers unparalleled customer service advantages. The immediacy of face-to-face interaction allows for real-time feedback, relationship-building, and upselling opportunities.

Your client feels the difference when they are sitting next to you, their photographer, going through their images with you helping them decide what image to purchase, what images to put up in their home, what images to share with family, what album cover to choose, etc. 

Compare that to sending them an impersonal link in an email and letting them figure it out on their own. 

In a world where everything is going digital, a personal touch can make all the difference. 

Here’s why:

  • Immediate Feedback. You get real-time reactions and can address concerns on the spot.  Maybe they don’t love their arms in this photo, but a quick crop on the spot results in a photo that was going to be discarded being turned into a favorite.
  • Build Relationships. Nothing beats face-to-face interactions for building a strong client relationship.
  • Upsell Opportunities. It’s easier to upsell or cross-sell when you’re right there with the client, and you can offer helpful suggestions on where to hang wall art, what album size to choose, etc.
© Tanya Smith

Preparing for the Sales Meeting

Before you even think about selling, preparation is key to a successful sales meeting.

  • Know Your Products. Be it prints, digital files, boxes or albums—know them inside out, so you can help your clients decide which product will work best for them. 
  • Set the Atmosphere. Make sure your studio or meeting place is comfortable and inviting. And this is especially important for boudoir photographers — make sure it’s private.
  • Be Ready to Showcase. Have samples ready to show the quality of your work, and the products you offer. When a client can see, feel, and touch a velvet album, that makes all the difference.
© Tanya Smith

Core Principles of the Sales Session

  • The cornerstone of effective sales is active listening. Your clients want to feel heard and understood, not just sold to. By actively listening, you can make sure they have photos they will love and you can tailor your offerings to exactly what they’re looking for.
  • Clarity in pricing and proactive addressing of client concerns are essential for building trust.
  • Jot down key points they mention. This not only shows you’re paying attention but also helps your client get exactly what they want and be happy with their whole experience with you
  • By focusing on listening first, showing value, and being transparent, you’re not just selling photos—you’re building a relationship and giving your client a top-notch experience, from start to finish. And in the world of portrait photography, that relationship can lead to not just one sale, but a lifetime of them.

Closing the Deal

  • Recap what you’ve discussed and what they’ll be getting.
  • Ask for the Sale. Don’t shy away. Simply ask, “Are you ready to go ahead with this?”  Then, “How would you like to pay?”
  • Be prepared with answers for common objections like price or making installments/payment plans.
© Tanya Smith

After the Sale

Your job is not done once the sale is closed. Here’s how to keep your clients coming back.

Post-sale strategies should include handwritten thank-you notes. Follow up to check in to see how they are enjoying their products. You can also potentially add a referral incentive program.

By adhering to these principles of active listening, value demonstration, and transparency, you are not merely transacting a sale, you are cultivating a lasting relationship with your clients that has the potential for long-term revenue generation.

Now that we’ve broken down selling into its key points, get on out there and start selling the way you were meant to—personally.

Tanya Smith is a Hamilton Toronto, Canada-based photographer and educator, specializing in boudoir. She has run her own business since 2011 and has been an educator for boudoir photographers since 2017. Learn about her photography business and her educational platform Profitable Portraits

[Read: The Boudoir Photography Empowerment Movement