Sales and the Reveal Wall
A lot of people ask me over and over again, what should I say? What am I supposed to say? So let's just go back to the reveal, and digital sales, because before you can get to a reveal, you need to be signed digitally. So let's just talk about sales language, like, I wanna talk about the most important part of selling, which is the pre-consultation. Can we go with the pre-consultation? Brittney, really wants to talk about that. You've got something strong around pre-consult. So can we talk about that?
Yes. One of the biggest questions I get in the In Bed With Sue group is what do you talk about at a consultation? How do you prep your client to actually make a big purchase? For me, it just comes easily because I'm an extrovert. I like to talk to people, learn more about them, engage with them. But there's a lot of people that are very shy and they don't know how to start that conversation. When I get an inquiry for pricing, and it's either via Facebook or through email. Every week, I ...
get the question, I love your work. Can you send me your price list? I've learned over time that as soon as you send out that price list, you will not hear from that client again because they're comparing your price to the price of every other photographer around you. If you can somehow convince them in that email to come into your studio or come to your home or meet at a coffee shop to say I would love to talk to you about what I do and what happens at these sessions, and let's talk about ideas for what you wanna do. Would you be willing to meet with me so that I can explain all of this to you? Because unless they hear what that experience is that they're going to go through on the day of a photo shoot, they have nothing to compare that price to. So they'll see your price list and they're like, oh you're expensive, you know, that's way out of my budget. Well expensive in compared to what? You know, people are buying $1800 televisions. So it's really, what's gonna get them excited to come in. So when they come in, we talk about, I'll start just by asking them a little bit about themselves. Emily, how long you been married?
And how did you meet? And where did you meet? And when is your anniversary coming up? Or why are you considering having a photo shoot? Is there a big event coming up or a special occasion? Or when's the last time you've had your portrait taken?
So in terms of pricing, how often do they actually say, oh that's too expensive, or yes? I don't do this kind of in-person consultation, and I know a lot of us don't, so I'm curious.
Right. A good consultation for me is gauging if it lasts at least 30 minutes and we've talked before I've even started the talk about pricing, it's 80% chance that they're gonna book for a session. If we make it to 60 minutes, I know they're booking a session before they leave and they're giving me a credit card to pay for that session fee. So, yeah. I haven't had anybody physically come out and tell me oh you're expensive. They might wait until they get home and then shoot me a little email. And that's fine. Because maybe I'm too expensive for them now. But now they know my pricing. They can tell their friends who might have been thinking of coming to me. So I've already pre-qualified those people that are gonna contact me. But you might wanna save up, and come to me later. Which they have done. I have had people message me saying, you know, you're just out of my budget for right now. And a month later they come back saying, you know what, I'm just gonna do it.
For me, I do kind of like what you do. Only, I assume that they're, I don't give the price. When somebody emails me, I typically get phone calls versus emails, so I just assume they're gonna meet me. This is how it works. I ask them what they're interested in, how they found out about me, have they seen my work, and if they have, 90% of the time they've already looked at my website. That's why you need a good website, or at least good work on your website. I just say, what I do, is I like to meet my clients at my studio so you get a chance to see what my studio is like, you can see what I have to offer. I can show you my products. If we get a chance to talk and you can tell me what you're hoping for for your shoot and what we can design especially for you, and if, after you've met me, I'm not the right photographer for you, that's okay. You can tell me that. But let's just get to meet each other and see what, if you're interested in what I do, and I think I'd be able to provide beautiful work for you. So, I'm available this day or this day. They always come in. Always. And if they come in, 90% of them are gonna book.
It's like a date. You're priming that client. You're getting to know them, and engaging with them. They're getting to know you and trust you.
And they're gonna book if they feel like you get them. It's like I understand you. I can relate to you. I'm gonna take care of those issues that maybe you're having. And the more they trust you, the more they'll book.
Right, so, I wanna hear from how have you experienced showing images like the reveal wall? How have you enjoyed the experience of people walking in and seeing it? I mean, I've done years of digital sales and I've seen people do anything from crying to whatever. If people don't cry, I get kind of annoyed 'cause I'm like, really? You could at least give me one, like you could at least give me like a (crying noise) 'Cause this is good stuff. But, what I'm asking is, have any of you experienced just the emotion of people just being like overwhelmed?
I was gonna say recently, I had a client come in. She was turning 40. She brought her husband in for her reveal. They were, I don't do a whole lot of behind the scenes, and I need to get better at that. They were holding hands looking at the photos and I don't have the wall, so we had them all spread out. They were holding hands going from photo to photo, looking at each other with these little googly eyes. It was just the sweetest thing. It made me tear up and they each chose their favorite. I mean, they bought my top package. It was just such a cool experience to see that. Had they been at the computer screen, I wouldn't, I don't think I would have seen that. The interaction and that connection and that emotion between them. It was just really cool, really cool.
I was just gonna say one of the things that I have that kind of works in my favor, is that I actually kind of tell them, you are going to be really emotional when you see these images and it's gonna be this incredible experience where you're gonna really see you. And sides of you that you haven't maybe ever seen, or that you've lost. So they're looking for that when they walk in the door. They're ready to see themself. So I have them come in and they always say, can I sit for a minute? Just sit down and absorb it for a while. I can't process it yet.
(mumbling) yourself here, Emily.
And tell me about that.
Well when she had her, the first shoot that I got to do with her recently, I posted it on the In Bed With Sue page.
(mumbling) the next story
No. Well, and everybody had been commenting, Oh my gosh, she's gorgeous. And I called her, and said, "Mom! "You should hear all the things "Everyone's saying about you." And she's crying when I'm telling her all these beautiful comments. The group is the most supportive group, ever. And so they all said, you need to video tape her seeing her images for the first time. So I said, mom they want me to videotape it. She says, I'm coming over in 10 minutes. (laughing) So she showed up and she sat down. I put the video camera on her. She was watching her images and crying. Just pouring tears. She couldn't emote for the camera, but when I turned it off, she said, "You have shown me the me that I think I am, "Until I see myself in the mirror, and I look at her, "and I don't, I'm not her. "I wish that I was the one that I imagine as myself. "Because they are incongruent, I hate her. "And I hate this outside. "And you've given me the eyes to see, "that I still am this person, that I feel like I am inside, "and that I need to have permission to exist." And then she lost 70 pounds.
Well I had a similar story. It wasn't my mom. I had a client who brought me her two daughters. Her grown daughters. Both had been through quite a bit in their lives already. She brought them in specifically because she wanted them to feel better about themselves. So I was really nervous when they came in, I knew I'm gonna show them, they don't know. One of the daughters looked at her picture, on the wall, and she turned around, and she looked at me, and she couldn't even get the words out. She said, "Is that me?" And I was like, I get chills. I still feel it. Today. And I was like yes! And this girl is beautiful. Just unbelievable. And she doesn't see that about herself. And her mom later contacted me, both girls were just, she said she could see a shift. Because they have those pictures. They can go right home and just sort of take it all in. They're mine. I have it. And I'll tell you that, we haven't talked about it, since I've used the reveal wall, I haven't not sold something. No no-sales. If they're on the wall, somebody's buying something. It's phenomenal.
I noticed as well, in comparison to doing the digital reveals, in comparison to the reveal wall, is that when the people come in, they're a lot more emotional. If there's two of them, they're talking to each other. And for me, I always feel like I need to talk. When I'm doing the digital reveal. And now, I just have to sit back, and I really don't do anything. They talk themselves into it and they buy it and they're all emotional and I don't have to do anything.
That's a strong point because I think a lot of people in the group just photographers in general, are creative. They're not necessarily sales people. This wall takes that pressure off. You don't have to say anything. You can just let them be. Let them just take it all in, sit back. The only thing I do is I wait for, they say, and how much are those again. And I move to the, I say here's the sheet. They can look at it and I walk away. Sometimes I even leave the room if there are more than one and I want them to have a private conversation because what usually happens is, they've planned six. In their head, they said, I'm going in, I'm buying six. That's all I'm buying. And then they see the wall, and they're like, but I really want 20. (laughing)
So I leave the room, too. And I go to the toilet and wash my hands. Take my time. Play with my hair. Do some poses, you know. (laughing) But the truth is, if you leave the room, you give them time to chat, but stop talking. That's the whole point, is you stop talking. Now something kind of interesting. I photographed a woman who told me at the consultation, I'm gonna spend $1000. That's it. And I was like, okay. So she came in for her reveal. She said, I'll take all of those there. And I'm gonna have that one as a 1620 and that one as a 1620. So she ordered her prints, and I added it up. She said, I've gone over a thousand, haven't I. And I added it up, and it was 6950. I said yes, actually, it's 6950. I said it very calmly. And she looked at me and she goes, "It's worth it." I just thought, she told me before, a thousand dollars. Now if I had photographed her thinking she was only gonna spend a thousand dollars, then people talk about pre-qualify. Pre-qualify. How dare you pre-qualify? When I was 22, I worked part-time in a jewelry store because photography didn't pay anything and I needed to buy a new car and I sold an $8000 diamond, one carat diamond ring, to an old woman in cleaning clothes with $8000 cash in a plastic bread bag. That woman taught me an incredible lesson that day because nobody else in my jewelry store would serve her because they thought she was homeless. I held her hand and said what are you doing here today? She said, "I want to buy my granddaughter an engagement ring." I said, "How lovely. Let me show you engagement rings." Then I showed her along and she said, like this one, and she pointed to an $8000 diamond. And I looked at her, and I said, "Let me try that on for you." And I put it on my own finger, and I said, "I don't think your granddaughter could have been given a better gift." And she just went, $8000 cash, out of this bread bag. I looked at her, and I was just like, you've taught me a wonderful lesson. Who pre-qualify, shmualify. This is about enticing people to fall in love with your work.
I think there is a slide of my reveal wall on here somewhere and it shows a family that's exactly like that. A lot of people in the group will talk about what if they, don't buy, but what if they do. Because, this is a family of three. It was a mother and two daughters. It was the youngest daughter that booked the session as a surprise for the mother. The mother showed up with a big huge suitcase like she was gonna go traveling for a week 'cause all she knew was she had to pack some nice clothes. And so, the whole session to her was a surprise, and the youngest daughter was paying for everything. I followed up after the photo shoot, again, with my price list, saying make sure you review this before you come in. She sent me a message saying I feel so terrible that I'm only going to be able to afford a couple pictures. I still did the full reveal wall with 20 to 25 images as if she will still buy my largest package, even though she's told me she's only gonna buy a couple pictures. Because there's that chance that they're gonna buy more and at the reveal once they saw their images, it came down to, picking out the images they could not live without. Each one of them pulled out a credit card, saying you know, what, we're just gonna get this. We're gonna spend this. You're gonna put this this this on each of the cards. So never assume that because, the reveal wall changed everything. They saw those images, and they had to have them.
(mumbling) so she see the reveal wall, and she started sobbing, like real, cry. And I'm waiting. And then she calmed herself down and she said, you know, now I see, how my grandchildren will see me. And then I kind of start crying, because there's what about, creating something that will be family-held.
But I've just gotta say this. To all the people out there. Last night, I got a Tweet that said, estrogen fest. (laughing) Now I wanna tell you something about an estrogen fest. Hell yeah buddy. I'm all about the estrogen fest, and I'll tell ya why. I shoot women. I market to women. I sell to women. Listen to what these women are telling you because these women want to walk in and see themselves. Don't you see what we're doing? If you can't offer this, this is the magic that you're mother was talking about. You know, that photographer needs to be, that photographer needs a stern phone call from me that told your mother that they can't make magic. Because I can make magic with any human being, male or female, who steps in front of my camera. My job is to look for the magic inside someone. To capture it, and then to sell it back to them. My job is to do that. Now, these girls, these photographers are telling you, the emotion around seeing the printed images, is extraordinary. We've gotta go back to digital sales though, because we could talk about this, now, it's like coffee group. (laughing) Or wine, wine group. (laughing) We could talk about this 'til the cows come home, but can we come back to, we're gonna do language after lunch around sales, but let's just say one thing about digital sales. Can we at least, how did you start with digital? How did you do it?
I use Lightroom, exclusively, in my reveal appointment for digital reveals. I utilize Lightroom's slideshow functionality and I put it to music and that's how we intro. Then once that is finished, I pull up the entire collection of 30 images that I've edited and say, alright, now which ones would you like. I have them all up on the screen and then I let the client direct me and say can I see all of these together, or whatever. I also will have them go through and maybe say yes, no, maybe, to each image, one at a time. And they always are yes and maybe, with the exception of maybe two or three. And so, then from there, I say alright, now you tell me which ones you want.
For me, the only thing I do digitally, is business headshot sessions. So I move them into a Dropbox folder and I take my iPad to wherever the client wants to meet. If it's my studio, great. Otherwise, I can go to them or wherever. And you can mark in Dropbox which ones they want, so I've been doing that. I might, now that you're doing business headshot sessions, or portraits, whatever you're calling them, on the wall, yes, that might be my next step.
I also, if I do digital, use Lightroom. And usually that is when the client has flown in from out of town and we have to do a Skype reveal. But what I found, is I was doing the, okay let's mark yes no maybe, and I could tell, they weren't sure how to narrow it down, or if they should, so I was like giving them reasons to narrow it down. Oh, how about I just show you buy outfit? And then how about I just show you, I'll just show you all the yeses. And it's like I was helping them get rid of some. And I realized, I need to stop talking. So once I shifted that mentality of stopping, showing oh let's do it by outfit, because of course, if they see three that look similar, in the same outfit, they're gonna pick one. Whereas if I had never suggested let's do it by outfit, they probably would have kept more. So I'm finding to... Yeah, I know. (mumbling)
One thing, and I need you to say this, put this in your office, up on your wall, make it easy for people to spend money with you. So make it easy for people to find you. Make it easy for people to contact you. Make it easy for people to spend money with you. And why the hell would you talk yourself out of all of that? So people are standing in front of you going, I really want this, no let me talk you out of it, because it's really not that good. (laughing)
You know exactly why I do it. Because I'm still trying to be okay with taking, with receiving, that's exactly why I do it. So, it's all a progression.
Throw a discount in there. (laughing)
No more discounts! I say to myself, stop it, stop it. If I'm thinking about adding one more, if they narrowed it down to 15, or 16, but they wanna buy the 15, in my head I'm like, oh just give it to them. And I'm like stop it. Give it to them, stop it. Like I just go back and forth with myself. It's terrible. Anyway.
I'd love to hear, also, Joanna, right? You are not doing to reveal wall? You're digital only. Could you tell us about your process?
Yeah, so, being on location, I actually kind of do a little bit of a hybrid of digital and the reveal wall because I like to keep the momentum going. So I do my reveal either same day or the next morning. I try and get it done within 24 hours. What that does is, I already have them scheduled for the reveal, so that they know that they're gonna come in, they're gonna have their session, they're gonna have their shoot, they're gonna have a great time. And then they can either go out to dinner and take a little break and then we come back and we do the reveal, or they come back the next morning. And they're ready. And they know they're gonna see their images. They're excited to see them 'cause they still have that momentum going. They know that they're gonna be purchasing that day. Now what I do is I pre-frame them, and I tell them, I use Lightroom, we do a slideshow. But before I start the slideshow, and actually when they're on the break, I actually batch process the images. So I go and I call them and then I put them through Portraiture and Alien Skin so that they kind of get an overall feeling of what that image is gonna look like at the end. Now, if you do that method, you have to make sure you get everything right in camera because women need to see what they're gonna look like. Otherwise, their insecurities start coming out and then it just creates a disaster. So a lot of it has to be done properly in camera and then I do the batch process and then I show them the slideshow. But right before I do that, or actually, before we start picking the photos, what I tell them, is, I want you to look for the pose and the expression that you love the best. Because there are other things, like if it's a background issue or if it's something that she doesn't like with a shadow on her face or a wrinkle in her clothing or something, I tell her that's something that we can take care of in Photoshop afterwards. So they're already pre-framed and so now I also have them directed to where I want them to look, which is the expression and the feeling that they get from the images that they're seeing. So from there we just go through rounds. The first one I just tell them, if it's a maybe or a yes, let me know. I mark it down. I also have a printout of all the images, so when I'm showing them the slideshow, I look for the reactions, and I just markdown which ones they're having an immediate reaction to, which helps them if they're trying to select them down later, they can't choose. I say, well you liked this one better. So, I help them along that way. A lot of it, I'm just sitting there quiet, ya know. I just let the images speak for themselves. I let them talk themselves through the process. Then if they're just trying to select between a few, then I might step in and just give them a suggestion or something. But other than that, they go through the entire process themselves. They're so excited to be, even a part of the retouching process, because then, when we select the final images, I go through them all. I tell them exactly what I'm gonna do to each image and I ask them, ya know, is there anything else that you want me to do. If they tell me, I mark it down for that image, and then I make sure that I get it all done. And then I deliver their images. I tell them within two weeks. But I usually try within 7 days.
And Lori, you also do digital?
Yeah, I have something to add from my last studio, that I will not be doing any longer. I know that it's brought up once in a while in the groups. People talk about proofing services. That's a form of digital showing. Sometimes they'll send it right to someone's email and they're viewing it in their own homes. I think that's a big mistake, with what we do. I think proofing services are more or less, more important for event photography, wedding photography. Things for the guest to order from. But try to keep it out of this section of your business if you're going to do glamour, you must follow what these girls have all experienced and this is especially what I'm going to do in my new studio. I actually did some proofing service reveals in the past and I had one with no orders. Great images, no orders. They just don't take the time to interact with you back. They just don't...
Or they screenshot them.
Screenshot them. Something happens. It gets lost in the process. It can be very discouraging. You have to take that extra step and bring them in and communicate. Let them, the reveal wall is the most, greatest innovation that I have seen in portrait photography. It almost makes me cry every time a see a post of somebody drawing it up there in the group, that they're showing, I have a reveal today, I'm so nervous, support me. And we just know, that these women are gonna come in and touch that image. Smell it, taste it, see it. All the senses are involved. I don't mean like, tasting it, but, (laughing) you know what I mean. They're going to get a taste of their own beauty and what we've brought to the table for them.
Well Sue talks about the emotion of it. Really, if, 'cause a lot of people have done, we talk a lot about in the group about sneak peeks. I never ever do a sneak peek, because that emotion is gone. Once that initial, even if I have to wait, if it's three weeks for the reveal, once you've given that little taste, then it's gone. So you wanna save that emotion for, it's all pent up, they're just, at the height of excitement when they walk in that door and they see what they're gonna see.
It's just you and them, not the world.
It's them and their images.
So I would like to say that, it's significantly changing sales. This is the bottom line. It is significantly increasing sales. Most asked question as a photography educator. What do you say when people say, can I have a CD? I sell printed images. Everything you purchase printed, you can have on CD. Now, when people say, but how do you get 'round it when they ask? You say, I sell printed images. Everything you purchase (laughing) I will also give you on CD. But what happens if they wanna see them online? I don't do online galleries. I sell my images in person. Everything you buy, you can also have on CD for Facebook and Instagram. Next question. But what do you do when they take your photo and then they crop it and put a filter on it? I say, how wonderful that they're using my images on social media. (laughing) You are getting in your own way if you are asking these questions. You are getting in the way of selling and sharing if you are asking these. These aren't hurdles. These are road bumps. And your self imposed road bumps. They're annoying. (laughing) But I know that they're real. So this is really really important. I want you to tell me, all of you, a sentence that you use when you're selling. That people can take, write down, and make their own. Okay, I'm gonna tell you the greatest freedom I've ever been given. Shut up and get out of your way. That's an internal message. This is the external one. As you know, these are, this is my price list. You've already seen it. Three times. As you know, this is my price list. (mumbling) these are your beautiful images. What would you like to order?
All of them.
That freed me. Somebody actually told me that. Shut up and say this. As you know, this is my price list. These are the products I sell. Point to them. These are your beautiful portraits. And after 20, 10 minutes, two minutes, three minutes, after they're looked at them, what would you like to order? That is the most powerful sales sentence I've ever heard. You know what else is? How would you like to pay for that? Now, what would you like to order and how would you like to pay for that are the two sentences that will change your life. And then, after you say it, how would you like to pay for that, shut up and stop talking and let them tell you how they're gonna pay. It will blow you away. I want your sales wisdom, anything you got, whether it's anything you repeat. I want you to tell us something.
I always invite my clients to bring a bottle of wine with them when they come to their reveal appointment. Just what you said, is really what I would say to them. Here, enjoy. And sit down.
But you repeat something, think about, we can come back to you Emily, if you need time.
I mean, for me, what you said is what I do. All of my selling is done before they've ever walked in that door. So, I don't have to, it's already pre -sold from the very first time I talked to them on the phone to the pre-consult, to the shoot, all selling. Subtle.
What are your words?
What are your (mumbling) words like mine?
They're exactly the same, you know. Have a look. I'll be over here. And if you want, the only thing I encourage is, if you wanna start a pile, you can start a pile right here. And they start moving. I want this one. I want this one. Then they realize, I've put every one in that pile. And then I ask how they wanna pay for it. 'Cause they usually, at that point, will come back and say, now, how much would, which bundle do I get? And what comes with that again? And that's usually when I walk away because they are going from in their mind six to, okay I really want 8, but that might put me, and then the pricing, the way the pricing is structured, I really should just get 10, because that's a better deal. Or if they're at 15, then they're doing the same thing for 20 and so, I'm just letting them. I'm off in the background doing something completely else and letting them do the math. And I see them. On the phone, with the calculator. So I really don't do anything. And then I come back in, do you need anything, do you have any questions. And they're like, I think I want these. Okay, great. You get this box with that. Did you want that on your credit card?
I do a lot of, and I don't overdo it, it's very genuine, but look how beautiful you look. Wow. These are your photos. Take a minute. Look through them, that sort of thing. That's kind of how I approach it. Internally, I'm saying things like, stop it. I'm saying things, if they ask again, how much is it for the 10? And I do have a visual, but I have learned to say my pricing like they just asked me what time is it. Oh, this ones $1800. Very confidently, quickly. I know what I'm saying. Eye contact. Just like they're saying it, what time is it. So that's been a huge shift for me. And I don't think that I'm not in the mirror practicing, saying oh yeah, you get 15 photos for $1800. You know, like I'm saying it. I'm practicing it. I practice with my husband. I've practiced with Sue. You know, that really helps me as well, during sales.
So it's very important, very important sales tip. I like that these guys aren't coming up with scripted advice 'cause that makes me happy 'cause it means that there's not a formula. It's about the energy you're holding in your own space. When I sell, always look eye. Always look eye. Okay. Very very important. Always look eye. That package is 3300 and you get a CD of everything I took of you to use on your social media. Look eye. You also get a beautiful wall portrait. You can pick that now.
Or, you can take your box home and call me in a month and we'll print that wall portrait for you. Look eye. But when you talk money, look eye, okay. 'Cause if you're not looking' someone in the eye, you're not doing good business. Now I grew up with my dad is a man's man. He's a handshake man. And my dad taught me, when somebody looks at this, you shake their hand, shake their hand firmly. Do it with confidence. Look them in the eye. And you tell people what you charge. You look them in the eye and you tell them your name. My dad taught me that because he was like, this is is where you stand in your first impression as you honor yourself. And you say, Sue Bryce, and then, when you talk money, look in their eye. Okay. (mumbling) Yeah?
I noticed that, when people come in for the reveal wall, they're like oh, I wanna look at, and I encourage them to touch them and pick them up. And when they move them to a separate pile, when they actually touch it, those are the ones that they buy, so I think they like to feel it and hold it.
So you know women are touched by nature. If we hold it, we're gonna buy it. Basically, when I do a consultation, I put the album in their hands, because they'll hug it. When women flirt, their body language is touch. We touch our own hair. We touch our decolletage. We touch our body. And if we're flirting with a boy and we touch him, like if we touch his arm, she's into you dude. (laughing) Okay. So we touch because we're very tactile and we touch our own hair a lot when we're flirting and so I feel like touch is really important for girls and if you wanna sell something to a woman, let her hold it. 'Cause she's taking it home, and it's that simple.
(mumbling) romantic energy.
Is what it is. It's romantic.
Sales is, yeah, because we wanna be desired. We like desire, we like to be enticed, and we like to be excited and we feel like that about purchasing, that's just the way we are.
So I think that's what this whole session has been about. Thank you so much, all of you, for sharing. Because, it is so simple. I mean, you gave us two lines. It's just us believing that it can be that simple, right.