Tips + Techniques

The Four-Step Sales Framework That Makes Selling Fun

May 9, 2024

By Tammy Zurak

Did you know that some people consider the word “sales” to be a dirty word?! It’s funny to me because I’ve been in sales since I was a Girl Scout and besides being a portrait photographer and business coach specializing in business branding for the last twelve years, I have sold countless other things like tires and auto repair to insurance, and I have never regarded it that way. Most of the time I think it’s fun, but probably not for the reasons you’re thinking right now. (Spoiler Alert: My four-step sales framework takes the pain out of selling!)

© Tammy Zurak

Sales: A Dirty Word?

I grew up decades ago, before the internet, when most of the time people had to go to a retail store (or two or three) to shop for everything. The opportunity to research products or services was more limited and therefore comparison to other products or services was too. That said, it didn’t mean there were less sales happening back then, you just accomplished it via different means — via a “salesperson.”

Part of why sales became a dirty word for some was there was no way to research what was being told to you, so you had to take the word of the person you were talking to that they, or their product, would deliver what they said. We all know that in today’s world, with just the click of a button and a few search words, you can shop from an infinite number of options from the comfort of your home. But if you think about it, it’s the same now, you must trust that what a bunch of strangers are telling you is true on their website or that their reviews are true. So, the mechanism has changed, but the process has not. We still ultimately buy things like photography (or tires, insurance, etc.) locally from humans.

© Tammy Zurak

The Sales Framework That Makes Selling Fun

The reality is that many humans find “selling” to other humans scary. The very thought of setting pricing and saying how much things cost to others drives fear into hearts. Do you know why? Many people think mindset is the problem, and it can be. You know that Henry Ford saying, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” It’s true, most people need to believe that what they are selling is useful to the person potentially buying it for it to come across in a convincing manner. That said though, I truly believe that having a great sales process is paramount, maybe even more than the perfect mindset. You can be jazzed about selling what you offer, but without a great sales process, you will have a hard time with sales.

I find the sales process exhilarating and even fun, as I said earlier. I only represent things I feel good about, so my mindset is right because I believe in what I’m selling. And then, here’s the first big tip, my process is what makes it fun. The process is the mechanism by which we are helping to deliver the value we bring to the client. Certainly, for my own business, whether it’s photographing a person for their marketing, or coaching a small business client how to develop their business and brand, I am very passionate about the value I bring them. And when the client has the perception of value being delivered, the price is less of a factor.

For the seller, process is the mechanism that alleviates fear, allows your passion to shine, and the value to be delivered. The process, or framework, is how sales are communicated to potential clients. So let me get you started with a few of the initial steps in the sales framework.

© Tammy Zurak

#1- Build genuine rapport and connect.

Most of us rush around from one thing to the next and never slow down enough to learn enough details about what we have an interest in purchasing to buy. And many businesses have no idea how to represent the full value that they offer to their potential customers. So many opportunities to do business are lost — many times before they even get started. Think about how many times you had a desire to purchase something, made a phone call or sent an email or chat, but didn’t receive enough information to make that decision. Worse yet, how many times have you felt like it didn’t matter whatsoever to the person you were dealing with if you bought what they were selling? The easiest way to do this is simply to ask them thoughtful questions. People like when you take an interest in them. This leads me to my next step.

#2- Investigate needs.

Get them talking about themselves and why they reached out to you. Ask pointed questions that guide them ultimately to the value you provide. If they are interested in headshots or branding images, ask what do they do for a living, what are they marketing now, what types of images are they using, what message are they hoping to convey, etc.

When they see that you have interest in what they are trying to accomplish, you start to build that unique bond. Potential clients don’t know what to ask, so the first thing they ask is the price. If you give them the price without knowing what they need and potentially leading them to more options, you have done them and your business a disservice. This leads me to our next step.

© Tammy Zurak

#3- Give options they can’t pass up.

Provide me a choice and make those choices range from good to better to amazing. I’m never upset when someone tries to find out what I think I need, then offers to walk me through options that I can choose (or not choose) from. I would rather be shown several options, than be self-led or pushed into one. Or worse yet, leave with something less than I would have gotten because I didn’t know you had other options because you either judged what I would spend or simply didn’t take the time to educate me. Give me a choice and I will often choose a higher level than where I started. And of course this leads to the next step.

#4- Build excitement.

If I reached out to you, there is an expectation that I need some part of what you offer. If you can build excitement into your offerings through the elevated level of product or services you provide or both, or at least paint me a future picture of how my life will either be better, or I will avoid whatever pain I have now, I will buy. Buying new tires is not exciting. But purchasing a better-quality tire and not sliding into a guardrail or down a ravine makes my life better! Or, if you can show me that having multiple images versus one headshot might be a benefit to my marketing, I will consider that as well.

There are five more steps to this framework, but these first four are a game changer for most businesses because they haven’t taken the time to really flesh them out. You can hear the rest and get more in depth by watching the “Make Big Money with Personal Branding” workshop on The Portrait System. Just don’t delay because it will only be available for the general public to view until April 14th.

© Tammy Zurak

Apply this Sales Framework for Success

I’ve worked via one-on-one mentoring and classes with many portrait photographers who simply altered how they answered inquiries and also sales presentations with these first four things and made a significant difference in how many opportunities they were able to move forward where they had failed in the past.

For instance, I worked with Judith who was wanted to take her part-time portrait business full time, but wasn’t converting people from the phone or email to consultations, or from consultations to booked clients. After we worked together she said, “I now think about personal branding differently. Tammy helped me get my consultation and pitch down for prospective clients. She helped me adjust my pricing and work through some of my challenges around pricing and asking for money. My business is in the process of transforming and Tammy is a big part of that.”  Since then, she’s been running a six-figure portrait business for five years in a row.

These strategic systems not only work for the sales process, but also for your overall business! My superpower is systems. I have a class starting on May 19th that is called “Build Your Business and Your Brand: The Masterclass” that is chock full of frameworks to help grow all across your business. You can learn more about it on my site at, and if you use the code BACKDROP, you can not only receive $200 off the class, but also go into the drawing to win a free backdrop if you purchase the class! One person will win and the class starts soon, so be sure to head there soon for more information. This incentive ends on May 19th when the class begins.

Tammy Zurak is a business coach, educator, and portrait photographer who teaches sales, marketing, and networking systems that help people source, retain, and grow consistent clientele through brand and business building. She is also a mentor for The Portrait System.

Don’t miss Tammy Zurak’s broadcast on The Portrait System on how to implement her Sales Framework to make big money in personal branding. It’s only available for the general public to view until April 14th, so don’t delay! Watch it now! …..Also, stay tuned for Teri Hofford’s broadcast on April 15th on four ways to celebrate the human body in photography and Ashleigh Taylor’s broadcast on May 28th on how to make big bucks in a small studio.

The Successful Small Photography Studio