Theres just youand thats exactly what successful salespeople are really selling

who never seem to go nowhere. You know the type of person I'm talking about here. Invest your time building relationships with other successful people— people who have the same aspirations as you do and want to make a difference in the world.

2. Keep abreast of the newest and hottest ideas.

How much time do you spend each day reading a new magazine, trying new ideas out, or even just watching a new show on television? New information and ideas are essential to success. You can bet that your competition is keeping their eyes open— and so are your clients. Open your mind and look around you. See what other people are doing. You must have a steady diet of change and innovation in order to succeed

Establish Great New Habits

Education is important. We all have been to seminars and workshops where we got so fired up we couldn't wait to get home so we could implement the ideas. We've all read a book that touched us in a very powerful way, or watched a video that opened up our minds to some new and creative technique. Right?

If you are like most other people, though, those fantastic lifealtering ideas either fade out or get pushed to the side before they actually get implemented. Our brains get filled up with the chaos of life (kids, cars, grocery shopping, the weather, practice, games, mowing the lawn, sessions, employees, receivables and payables, vacations, and everything else) and those great ideas get filed away in notebooks or simply forgotten.

Making the most of education (whether it's from books, seminars, articles, or other sources) is like hearing a song on the radio. If you hear a song and you like it, you want to hear it again. If you hear it five times, you can sing along. If you hear it ten times, you can sing it on your own without the music. The same is true with marketing and selling ideas: if you want to become a master at these techniques, ten times is the key.

Good habits take time to create, and bad habits take time to break. So, commit yourself to reading every book you can get your hand on, watching every DVD you can find, listening to every CD you come across, and going to seminars and workshops that focus on the business side of your business, instead of only attending ones that teach you the technical side of photography. This is how you'll achieve the critical mass of information it takes to have marketing and selling ideas really sink in.

When you see an idea that you think will work for you, make a plan to implement it not just once, but at least ten times. Whether it's sending a thank-you note to every client after their session or writing a monthly newsletter, once you've done it ten times it will become a productive new habit. Regularly adding these habits to your sales life will quickly make you an expert in salesmanship— and quickly increase the size of your bank account!

3. Set and work toward goals. Decide what you want, then get started attaining those goals. Don't just talk about it, do it. Along with education, setting goals is the surest method I know to set yourself on a course for success. If you don't develop the hunger and courage to pursue your goals, you will lose your nerve and give up. Do you spend some quality time each day setting and reviewing your goals? In the evening, my mind is mush, so I make a point of waking up early every day—when I get my best work done—to do my planning and goal setting, and my best thinking. During this time, there are no phone calls, no people, no crying babies— nothing but my brain and me.

4. Make the most of every opportunity. They take advantage of opportunities that come their way. We've all heard people say, "Boy, she sure is lucky!" or "He seems to get all the lucky breaks!" But luck isn't random—it's the result of hard work, perseverance, and dedication. When an opportunity arises, you must also be able to recognize it (often it shows up in the form of adversity), then act on it. Opportunity is very elusive. It's all over the place, but very few can see it because it usually involves change, which is a very scary thought.

5. Take risks and make mistakes. Taking chances is a very common thread among the ultra-successful business people in the world. If you want to succeed, you better be willing to risk whatever it takes to, as they say, "get 'er done." Thomas Edison failed over 6,000 times before he finally invented the light bulb. Donald Trump has had more than a handful of disasters, and Barry Bonds has struck out more times than almost everybody in the history of professional baseball. I don't think for a minute we would call these people failures, would we? The best teacher I ever had was failure—and, believe me, I've had my fair share of that. If you learn to look at mistakes that you make and failures you have had as learning experiences, though, it puts a whole new perspective on things.

I want you to become more successful with your business, and have a more fruitful life—and to truly believe that you

What kind of experience do clients have at your studio? Notice how Christa Hoffarth's studio decor, seen here, gets every client's visit off to a good start.

can achieve whatever you set your mind to. You must believe in your products, your services, your pricing, your staff, your message, your hook—and, most importantly, you must believe in yourself. Having a high self-esteem will lead to higher success.

Free-Association Exercises

Before we move on to defining each step of the selling process, we are going to do some free-association exercises. I want you use your spoken voice for this—speak the words out loud. (Note: People within earshot may think you are going crazy when you begin to talk to yourself, so you may want to send your family on an errand or outside to play with the dog.) Don't worry about making mistakes, I simply want you to do the best that you can.

1. Describe your favorite movie . . .

6. Describe a portrait session at your studio . . .

8. Describe the experience a customer will have at your studio . . .

We communicate facts, feelings, conviction, and emotion to our clients through the words we use. Being good with words—being good at painting irresistible mental pictures—is of the best skills you can have as a salesperson. Doing this means adding vivid details into your sales presentation. Choosing the right words helps to convey your passion, your enthusiasm, and the zest and zeal you have for the craft of photography.

I recommend writing out a list of all products and services you offer. Then, come up with a paragraph or two that describes each one in a vivid, colorful, and effective way. In fact, why don't you do that before you begin the next chapter? Here are a couple of examples, describing a wedding album, to get you started:

At John Doe Studios, your wedding album will include about fifty images, some in color, some in black & white. These will be selected from throughout the wedding day. You can pick the color of the album cover and add whatever text you want.

Each John Doe Studios wedding album is elegantly designed to tell the story of your special day, with all its beauty and romance. We will combine breathtaking color and black & white images with meaningful words to produce an album that will make you laugh and bring tears to your eyes—an album that is as unique are you are.

Another Big Secret Revealed. . .

I have been to countless seminars and workshops, read dozens of books, listened to umpteen tapes, watched numerous DVDs, and spent time with some of the best and richest salespeople in the entire world.

A well appointed studio sets the stage for building a good relationship with

After exposing myself to all that education, here's what I can tell you. There are thousands of ways to do just about everything—thousands of different closing techniques, conversational "ice breakers," different ways to overcome objections, to say hello on the phone, etc. It's very easy to become intimidated and overwhelmed with the overload of information. As a result, most people simply do nothing.

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