Something has for our life

Earlier, I mentioned that people make judgments about you within the first five seconds after they are exposed to your voice, your signage, your business card, your physical appearance, your answering machine, etc. That five seconds will either help you build value or it will take it away. If you haven't already done so, I strongly suggest you spend some quiet time with the Five-Second Image Challenge on pages 58-62.

Perception is reality; we all make decisions in our subconscious minds about what kind of value something has for our life and how much we are willing to spend for that value. If you want to be viewed as someone worth spending a lot of money on, every aspect of your studio's brand must be top-notch.

Step 2: The Initial Contact

On the Phone. Our initial contact with a prospective client usually occurs on the phone—and I would venture to say that, for most of, taking phone calls is not our favorite thing to do. You didn't get into photography be

A well-appointed and well-organized area for taking calls, like this work station in Christa Hoffarth's studio, will make any employee who works in the reception area feel like a real professional.

cause you liked talking on the phone, did you? However, this is the first real opportunity for you to sell yourself, educate the prospect about what they can expect from their experience with you, and begin to build a long-term relationship with them (the key to any successful business). Understanding that the telephone is one of the most important—if not the most important—selling tools you have will help you begin to look at it a little differently. After all, when a call comes into your studio, it means your marketing has done its job—and now it's time to begin the sales process.

The first rule to follow is that you always want to be smiling and happy when you answer that phone, even if you are having a bad day. People can sense positive energy and negative vibes through the telephone, so take a deep breath before answering the phone and show your best side. We all have bad days now and then, but you should never let that come across on the phone. As soon as the phone is answered, it's game time! The goal is to get them excited about you, your photography, and the experience they will have with you

Questions About Pricing. It doesn't matter what country you live in, whether you are located at the far reaches of the earth or in located in downtown Me-tropolisville, we all get the same question during this first phone call: How much? Since you know that 99 percent of all prospects are going to ask that question, wouldn't it make sense to have some sort of script figured out ahead of time instead of trying to spontaneously come up with an answer?

In many cases, your answers may actually be questions—questions that help you better understand the prospect's needs. After all, people ask about price because they don't know what else to ask. What they really want to know, though, is whether you are the right photographer for them. Are you going to be able to meet their needs? Allow them to enjoy themselves? That's what they really want to know . . . but the only question they can think of is, "How much?"

Imagine you walked into a friend's jewelry store and they said, "Hey, would you do me a favor and watch the store for a few minutes while I go to the bank to make a deposit? The phone hasn't rung all day, but if it does go ahead and answer it and do the best that you can." You agree, and he leaves you all alone with a million dollars worth of jewelry . . . and the phone.

All of a sudden the phone rings, so you answer it and a nice young man on the other end of the phone asks, "How much are your diamond rings?" What do you say? At this point you have no useful information for him, because you know nothing about diamonds—but can you think of some questions to ask him? How about:

1. What size diamond are you looking for?

3. What type of cut do you want?

4. What type of setting do you want? Gold? Platinum?

5. Do you need the ring by a certain date?

6. Would you like the ring delivered or would you prefer to pick it up?

7. Do you have a budget in mind for the ring?

That wasn't so hard, was it? In fact, there are probably many more questions you can think of off the top of your head. So why is it, then, that when someone asks us how much we charge for one of our products or services, we break out into a cold sweat and our stomach starts to churn? Why do we feel that we need to give them some sort of solid answer before we have any information? The biggest mistake many photographers make is that they try to sell every single product they have. As a result, they never really find out what the customer wants. God gave you two ears and one mouth for a very important reason: you should listen twice as much as you talk.

Price is usually part of the conversation, but rarely is it the deciding factor as to whether or not the client will come to you for their portraits. So, if price isn't going to be part of the deciding factor for them, then don't you make it the stumbling block. Your ability to discuss pricing confidently is directly related to your strength and be lief in yourself and your products. If you don't have faith that your product is worth every penny, you won't be able to sell it. (Note: A little later on we will dive into some meat-and-potatoes techniques for handling objections over the phone and in the sales room.)

The Power Of Charisma

The Power Of Charisma

You knowthere's something about you I like. I can't put my finger on it and it's not just the fact that you will download this ebook but there's something about you that makes you attractive.

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