Yesterday, I talked about the first 3 of 4 keys to killer in-person sales.  Today, I'm going to share with you the fourth - and probably the one you've been waiting for.  Today, I'm going to share our in-person sales process.


When the client comes in, the first thing we do is show them a slideshow of 20-40 images, set to music. This really is a huge part. We want the clients to experience the images. We want them to connect and relate to them. We allow them to linger with the images and experience the emotion that comes with them. We find that 4-5.5 seconds per image is perfect. Any longer and they become anxious for the next image. Any less, and they feel like they don’t really get to take them in.

When we've finished the slideshow, I'll ask them for feedback. I ask them what they're thinking and feeling. The idea is to understand how they're connecting with the images, and uncover any objections early. You'll know right away whether you've helped them make a connection.

I ask questions like:
Tell me how you feel about these images?
How do these images fit with what you envision having in your home?

Resist the urge to rush past this and move straight to the “ordering/dialogue phase.” This is as important as any part of the entire process. Getting clients to verbalize their connection to the images helps to solidify and concretize them. This is the foundation for helping them make purchase decisions.


We then talk through their needs. Typically, this looks like the following:

We ask them to think about which image best represents the feel they want for their wall portrait. This is usually one of their favorite images, and OFTEN it's obvious which image they're going to pick during the slideshow. It will be HARD for them to narrow the selection down - but that's okay. That just opens up opportunities to provide them with other solutions. We focus specifically on three things with our portrait business - and we dialogue them in this order: Signature Wall Portrait (or canvas), Gift Prints (5x7, 8x10, and 11x14), and Albums/Books.

Once we've talked about which image will be their wall portrait (or wall collection), we talk about where it will be placed, and the environment it will hang in. (side note: for families, we actually offer a consultation where we visit the home so we have this info ahead of time. For our senior business - this hasn't been practical, though I wish it was).

We suggest to them the size that will work best, and let them visualize their image at that size. Most of our clients end up purchasing 1-3 24x36 gallery wrap canvases, or 20x30 matted, framed prints, or a gallery wrap collection (3 12x12's or 16x16's for example).

At this point, we guide them to talk to us about what they need to give as gifts. Typically, these are either mounted, glazed and framed 5x7, 8x10 or 11x14 prints. Most of our clients order 4-6 of these. For seniors, this also would include wallets (obviously).

What happens next is amazing. Clients realize they're leaving with only one or two "images." They see 30 images they LOVE, and they're only getting a wall portrait, and maybe something for their desk. This is a perfect opportunity - and it's where we sell gallery books (matted albums). We suggest we go back through and simply give a thumbs up/thumbs down to every image. We let them know we'll get an idea of how many images they feel like they "must have."

Usually they will have somewhere between 12 and 20 images. If they are close to 20, we sell them a 20 image gallery book (either 9 or 12 inches). If they're at 11 or 12, we sell them a 10 image book. Once they've touched and felt one of these, clients realize what a BETTER gift idea these are, and will often order 3-5 of these, so that grandparents, etc can have one.


We offer a few other products, but our studio operates by a "show less, sell more," philosophy. We try to know our customers well enough to match them to a product that meets their need (solution to a problem), without confusing the issue with a large quantity of products.

For seniors, these products include gallery sets (multiple images in a matted set), graduation guest signature books (similar to what wedding photographers offer as guest books - i can't fathom why no one else is selling these to seniors!!!!!!!), or graduation announcement cards.


We take payment in full for the order at the viewing appointment. Once we’ve been through the dialogue and had a chance to write up their order, we slide it across the table and ask them if they’d like to pay via check or credit card.  I think this is the hardes part for many photographers, or anyone for that matter.  It doesn't have to be hard, if you think about it: they came to your studio (or wherever you've met them), told you want they want, and now you're simply letting them know what it will cost.  Instead of asking yes or no questions (would you like me to place this order for you?), ask multiple choice questions that assume they want to place the order.  For example, "would you like to pay for that with a credit card or a check?"

In some cases, we work out a payment arrangement, but everything is due before delivery. We let them know we'll contact them when their order arrives (in 3-4 weeks), and schedule a pickup time. We also offer to deliver to them, and have their wall prints hung on their wall.

We still post weddings online, and will post some portrait sessions on request - but only AFTER a viewing session (the exception being out of town wedding clients). 

Want to know more about this process?  Check out my FREE WEBINAR on Sales Sessions.  Register soon - limited seats available.  

How about you?  What have you found to work really well as a sales process?  Leave your comments or thoughts below!