Guest post from Rachael Boer of Rachael Boer Photography:
In-Person Sales (IPS) is the practice of meeting with your clients in person to show and sell your photographs, rather than simply providing them with access to an online gallery. This is not a new concept; it’s the way business was done for generations before the internet.
In recent years, many newer photographers have relied exclusively on online galleries. Now, quite a few of these photographers are transitioning to the IPS business model because they believe it provides a better service for their clients, and it often brings in significantly more income.
Maybe you’ve considered IPS in the past but find the idea daunting. You may be struggling with questions like, “How do I begin?” “How do I transition my old clients to this new model?” “What do I need to start out?” I’m happy to tell you that this transition is easier than you think!
Let’s talk about what you need to begin:
Something on which to show your images
You have several options here. Many seasoned pros swear by the method of using a projector to project the portraits onto the walls at large sizes. This can be great because it helps clients envision their wall art at the proper size, and it enables you to sell much larger portraits more easily.
However, you can also start out much more simply. You can show your clients’ images on your laptop, using a software like ProSelect. This software enables you to show your clients how the images will look on the wall, and you can even design albums and wall galleries within the software, as well.
The best thing about using software during an in-person sale is that it helps clients understand sizing for wall art. This 8×10″ looks tiny compared to the more appropriately-sized 40×60″ portrait:
If you prefer a more low-tech solution, simply order 5×7″ proofs of each image from your favorite printing lab. This is not expensive, and it will allow your clients to sort the images into groups so they can easily choose their favorites to order.
A price list
You can use a printed pricing “menu” or a digital price list shown on your screen. However, the price list shouldn’t be part of the “reveal.”
In order to avoid any “sticker shock” for the client, I believe that pricing should be discussed thoroughly before your IPS appointment.
You’ve heard it before: “You sell what you show.” Clients are much more likely to purchase a product if they can see it and feel it in person. Ideally, you want to have at least one sample of everything on your price list.
Show this to your clients during each appointment, and you are likely to begin to sell that type of print easily. Then, slowly grow your sample collection.
Something with which to process the order
If you are using any of the ordering software I’ve mentioned, you will be able to record the client’s order directly in the software. These programs often allow you to save or print order details, and even text or email a receipt to your client.
If you prefer an offline solution, you can create a simple paper order form. Just don’t forget to bring it with you on the date of your appointment!
Some way to accept payment
While you can stick with the standard payment methods of cash and check, it is advantageous to also allow your clients to use credit cards. Using an app like Square, you can simply swipe the credit card at the end of the session and be paid instantly.
Many clients are more willing to make large purchases if they can put it on a card, so the small credit card fees you’ll pay are well worth it.
As you can see, you have many choices, but IPS can be done quite simply if you’re just starting out. Order a sample or two, create a price list and an order form, and you’re off and running!
You’ll be able to provide your client amazing customer service and help them get their photographs off the computer and onto the wall where they belong!
Rachael Boer is the owner of Rachael Boer Photography, and is based in the Washington, D.C. area. She is also the co-founder of the thriving Facebook group, “In-Person Sales for the Professional Photographer.” Click HERE to join the community!