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Archive 2013 · Upstart Needs Food Photography
  
 
campyone
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p.3 #1 · p.3 #1 · Upstart Needs Food Photography


I'm not a pro photographer, I make my living in another profession. Early on in my career people who wanted me to represent them often asked for cut rates and promised that they'd use me a lot in the future at more normal prices and would refer other clients to me. Not once - not one single time - did any of them ever later agree to a higher rate, they all expected the same cut rates they got at first. And not once - not one single time - did I ever get a new client through any of them that I remember. After a couple years of that my motto became "no cut rates, full charge the first and every time, if they can't pay it let them go somewhere else." That's worked out very well for me, I suspect it might for you too (though I guess this current restaurant has you locked in).


May 03, 2013 at 03:25 PM
brucemuir
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p.3 #2 · p.3 #2 · Upstart Needs Food Photography


Yes, it's a constant battle to educate the client as to what good images are worth.


May 03, 2013 at 03:26 PM
Crabby
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p.3 #3 · p.3 #3 · Upstart Needs Food Photography


Rustybug, I never said any of that. People's brains are way to sophisticated. Advertising drives sales (and images drive advertising) it doesn't directly cause sales, in any market. The buying decision isn't made from the ad it is made at the point of sale.
McDonalds spends a lot on advertising. Yet I'll bet you already knew where your closest McD's is. Their menu stays the same. Their ads, as tantalizing as they might be I'm sure never caused you to get in your car and drive over there after seeing a commercial. Not without being hungry first. The reason why they run so many ads is if they don't and BurgerKing still does they will become irrelevant. It escalated to the point it has become because they realized more advertising equals more sales. Now they have to keep it up to stay relevant and any competitors now have to step it up to that level if they want to compete. In other words you have to pay to play.

Now apply that to the realty market. You have the Bob's Big Boy of realtors who wants to appear as relevent as the McDonalds of realtors but they want to do it with Bob's Big Boy advertising dollars instead of McDonalds advertising dollars. When you give Bob's Big Boy McDonalds quantity and quality of work for the Bob's Big Boy price pretty soon McDonalds will come knocking for the same work at the Bobs Big Boy price.

Let me phrase it a more direct way. We have 4 realty companies:
1. Company A Simply puts the For Sale sign in the yard. The market is limited to anyone who passes by and is looking to buy a house.
2. Company B puts a sign in the yard and runs a one sentence listing in the local paper and on their web site.
3. Company C does all the above plus the realtor step out of his/her car and takes a snapshot for their web site. Tilted and off color, perhaps out of focus or too contrasty, it doesn't matter if theirs junk in the front yard.
4. Company D does all the above but throws out the crappy snapshot plus hires a pro to make several images of the home. Professional meaning the pro will make the best image possible.

If you were the buyer which would you be more likely to go with? Most people will flat out say Company D but maybe not. If you were driving down the street and saw Company A's home you may look past the uncut grass and see the nice neighborhood, the wooded area across the street your brain can imagine the potential. Or someone you respect may see the sign and tell you about this great place in details they know your are interested in. Nothing beats seeing and feeling first hand. And a recommendation/word of mouth is the best advertising. But Company A is very limited in exposure. Without the luck of passing by or a recommendation you're not going to take the next step.
Company B has more exposure potential but is limited to the buyers interpretation and imagination. They would have to know the location is favorable at the very least to take the next step.
Company C is in the same boat as Company B the picture may help a little or it may hurt a little.
Company D has the most detailed description. pictures accentuating all the positives and hiding the negatives. It has the same amount of exposure as B&C but it's perceived level of quality is naturally higher.

Company D will get the most interest in their listing. Plus if I were a realtor I'd rather work for company D because it makes my job much easier. When buyers see quality images of a product or service they are in much more of a mood to buy instead of imagining how they can make it work to fit their needs.

P.S. I greatly appreciate your candor and reasoning thought process. Good discussion. We more often then not have to say no or else we are just saying yes to the client dictating what our costs will be. They can't any more then we can when we go to buy their goods or services. And neither of us can dictate what the value will be, the market does that after the fact. We have to make an educated guess on the value of our work. Which is where usage fees come into play. The more an image is going to be used the more valuable it is. The reason we need to say NO more often is because more and more businesses want our work. Businesses that have no prior experience in how this business works. Images are being used more then ever. Yet the price of equipment is higher then ever, the cost of running a business is higher then ever. Some would argue that the ease and efficiency of making an image is higher then ever too, but I disagree. The professional still has to be a step above what a person with a camera can do.



May 03, 2013 at 06:05 PM
RustyBug
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p.3 #4 · p.3 #4 · Upstart Needs Food Photography


Gotcha.

I didn't mean to infer or put words in your mouth per se ... just that MANY PEOPLE try to make too direct a correlation between the image and the sale without understanding where/how it fits into the puzzle. Your point at volume of exposure (marketing) can impact decision making. We've certainly been bombarded with enough bad commercials to illustrate that point @ marketing.

I also appreciate your point @ hiding negatives. Part of my service is to stage key rooms and quite frankly, I don't even shoot those that I can't bring to a good emotive. It isn't my job to overcome the negatives of the property/house/etc. ... my job is to make the phone ring or entice a drive by with a dangled carrot. After that, its mostly on the agent to understand how to facilitate their prospective buyer(s) through the process for their client.

The agent/owner/broker is going to have to overcome the negatives/skeletons with their superior customer service / sales skills / proper pricing. They are going to have to do that with or without an accompanying image ... but they still need the chance to do so by generating (desirable) interest to make the phone ring ... A, B, C or D. Of course, the fewer skeletons/negatives, the better the presentation, but given the rarity of the "perfect house" etc. ... much depends on the agents abilities.

And yes, trying to get A to think like D doesn't happen readily. It may / may not be worth your effort to take on that challenge ... i.e. judgment and wisdom will be relative to each scenario. Anyway, we're likely on the same page, just diff ways of saying certain things.




May 03, 2013 at 07:54 PM
Crabby
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p.3 #5 · p.3 #5 · Upstart Needs Food Photography


There is a direct correlation between an image and a sale. It just is not obvious to even the buyer. It's been proven time and time again. A company with more/better ads outsells any company with less/weaker ads. I interchange the words ads and images because the are interchangeable here in the commercial sense. You can have an ad without any imagery but its very rare today and when you mix images and words the image heavily outweighs in capturing peoples attention. Whether we're talking about food pictures in a menu, real estate pictures on a web site or pictures of socks on ebay.

This is the frustrating part in convincing potential clients. In your case Rusty, if they would spend $10k on promoting those 50 homes I'll bet you they would have sold them much quicker, giving them the opportunity to move on the the next 50 homes. I'll bet you they could have increase competition on at least quarter to half of the homes and received an additional $1-$2k for those homes and in turn pocketed additional money in commission. Not to mention the prestige quality imagery brings to their company. Higher end sellers will look the them to sell their properties in the future. The point is that images SELL. THey work, they pay for themselves and then some PERIOD (well not always, I'll explain later). Most businesses that do their own advertising think of photography/content creation as a necessary evil, an expense they must pay to fit in, to look like the others, and if they are really good at their understanding of advertising...to look slightly better then the others. Real people in advertising understand that it's an asset. An opportunity to bring people over, to win people over, to stop them and make them feel something. Too many clients are fixated on what it costs and never realize what they will gain.
Now, can they expect too much from advertising. YES of course. You can only make images look so good of a crappy property no matter how much money you are willing to spend. There is a point of diminishing returns. I recently had a guy contact me about photographing 20 pieces of antique, finely hand etched glassware. He wanted to really emphasize the hand etching. THis is very difficult work to do. You have to be really good to shoot them well and to shoot them well will take a lot of time. I asked how the images would be used and he said just for insurance purposes! I gave him my price $3000, and of course he was shocked. I didn't lower my price (much) because he wasn't going to use the images for much. What he wanted was way overkill. He decided to go for it anyway.



May 03, 2013 at 09:58 PM
RustyBug
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p.3 #6 · p.3 #6 · Upstart Needs Food Photography


Crabby wrote:
There is a direct correlation between an image and a sale.


I'd have to disagree with "direct" and "sale".
Although, I can go with ...
There is a "strong" correlation between an image and "created desire".


Yes, I realize that there are a zillion studies that represent a case for better marketing and drawing a correlation to the sales. However, that is not the only aspect involved here. If the correlation were THAT strongly dependent solely upon the marketing, then the wedding photographer or portrait/senior photographer with the biggest marketing campaign would make the most money. (Which I'm quite certain there are several members here that can attest that this does NOT hold true.)

I'm not disagreeing with the value of marketing ... all other things being equal. However, all other things are NOT equal, particularly in the case of an industry that is so dependent upon salesmanship vs. order taking. In those industries that are challenging/difficult decisions for buyers to make (i.e. more money than they want to spend), the role of the salesmanship involved takes on a much greater significance than the rote role of "Would you like to supersize that today?" after being bombarded into Pavlovian response to turn into the Golden Arches through an incessant marketing campaign.

My point was simply that in certain realms the adage of more marketing ensures more sales does not necessarily hold true. Consider your own business ... is it your marketing that gets people to decide to purchase your services ... or did you convince them (salesmanship) of the value of your work for which you were asking compensation? I'd suggest that whatever marketing you do, that creates the interest ... not the sale. If you are a poor salesman with great marketing, then you'll simply be busier being told "No." if you can't close your increase in prospects.

Better/more marketing can correlate to generating more leads/prospects (agreed) ... but without the ability to close those leads, it can be unrealized effort. You've got to be able to close the back end, and my point is that some real estate agents are good at facilitating closed deals, and others are not.

Better marketing really doesn't do a lot for poor agents because they don't know how to profit from the increase in leads/prospects. Thus, even when they do buy into the concepts of better marketing, and then come to experience no real gain, because they are the weak link in the process they lose faith in it.

Without seeing a positive return (even though it's really on them) in $$$ they become inclined to abandon the concept of the correlation @ marketing to $$$ because the correlation isn't directly marketing to $$, but marketing to prospects. After which the process is dependent upon converting prospects to buyers. I agree that all other things being equal, more prospects yields more buyers, but all things aren't equal when it comes to salesmanship.

A salesman with a close ratio of 1:3 will do much better than a salesman with a close ratio of 1:12. You can double the prospects of the first salesman and he'll see the gain realizing 2 sales out of 6 prospects. Double the prospects of the second salesman with the increase in marketing and he'll simply die of fatigue and frustration before he gets through the 24 prospects to get his second sale because he simply does not know how to benefit from the increase in leads/prospects ... thus more/better marketing does not reap the dividends for him the same as the better salesman.

In some applications, underestimating the significance of salesmanship or thinking that the marketing can offset the need for better salesmanship is an easy trap, because it is much easier to throw money at marketing than it is to develop better salesmanship skills at contending with the objection handling aspect of salesmanship.

Conversation
Curiosity
Conviction (objection handling subset contained within)
Created Desire
Close

Every sale will have these elements contained within them at some point in the process. Those who are better at understanding where a prospect is within the process can better develop strategies for moving the prospect as needed to get them to be a conversion from a prospect to a buyer. More/better marketing correlates to more/better prospects, which is a step toward the sales process, but it does not complete the process by itself. The psychology of moving a prospect through the sales process is certainly beyond the scope of this forum, but suffice to say that marketing alone does not address the entirety of the process and thus isn't necessarily a direct correlation to increased sales.

This takes me back to my earlier point that "crappy agents" don't realize the benefits as well as good agents and thus have a more difficult time understanding the value that we present to them (insert our own salesmanship skills here also) and require a greater degree of education development. Which may or may not be something you want to embark on ... or you may just want to focus on those clients who more readily understand.

Again, I don't disagree with the value of increased throughput ... I get that very well and discuss it with my agents/brokers regarding inventory turnover. But the reality of it is simply this ... not all agents/brokers get it. Heck, even the brokers can't always get their own agents to "get it". Some folks think more volume = more. Some folks think more efficient/more effective = more. One thing's for sure, there will always be people in both camps and as scenarios vary, so do the outcomes associated with the approach.

Lots of variables in every situation/scenario at how you'll read it and proceed with it, but more marketing is not always a sure fire answer for more sales, especially in those applications that are heavily dependent upon the ability of the seller to directly convey the value of the product/service to the prospect ... AND ... get the prospect to take the action necessary to become a buyer.

If you need better/more prospects, you need better/more marketing. If you have sufficient prospects and a poor close ratio, you need better salesmanship skills. The two are forever intertwined, joined at the hip by your close ratio/abilty.

That's my story ... and I'm stickin' to it.







May 04, 2013 at 12:18 AM
Crabby
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p.3 #7 · p.3 #7 · Upstart Needs Food Photography


Marketing is a broad term that covers advertising, sales, branding etc. All of it is immeasurable so there is no way of determining if anything or all things are equal. No one can quantify the value the swoosh has for Nike. Or how many magazines were sold with a pregnant, nude Demi Moore on the cover. Or how many more ice cubes that salesman was able to sell to an eskimo. It's part art and part science that we understand very little and the layman doesn't understand at all and doesn't care. They want what they want and don't care why. More marketing does lead to more sales until the point of diminishing returns. If anyone here would spend a million $$ on marketing next year I would bet you that million that they would make make more sales then the year before. They probably wouldn't make enough to pay for their advertising though (way beyond the point of diminishing returns).
Advertising is like leading the proverbial horse to water. It is not our job to make crappy agents better salesman. It's our job to make a great sales tool for any agent that's willing to walk over and take a drink. Again, The buying decision isn't made from the ad it is made at the point of sale. We've all stood in line with product in hand and changed our minds before checkout. For any one of a million different reasons.
I do believe that salespeople turn buyers away from a sale much more then they convince them to buy. It's the other things that steer them positively to a purchase before talking to a salesperson. All the salesman has to do is be knowledgeable about what they are selling and not be obnoxious. Not to say that isn't a special talent.
I get the feeling you are defending the powers of salesmanship over the value of advertising. I think that great things sell themselves. Marketers just need to put that "thing" out there in front of as many people as possible and don't do or say something stupid to turn buyers off.
I do know one thing...If I told a contractor he could buy a special tool that would allow him to build 11 homes in a year instead of his current 10 and he could make back the price of that tool on one house then every additional house is icing on the cake free and clear he would be a fool not to take it.



May 04, 2013 at 02:15 AM
RustyBug
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p.3 #8 · p.3 #8 · Upstart Needs Food Photography


Actually, I'm not making a case that either trumps the other ... rather that they work in concert with each other (especially more so in some applications) and when you've got a problem in one area, more of the other doesn't necessarily fix it ... although, it can be an attempt to overcompensate.

And there are plenty of contractors who would still not buy ... fool or not.

While you're logic may be sound, his immediate fear of the extra expense can override his ability to be logical. 90% of buying decisions are rooted in emotion, 10% in logic. He may be strapped for cash or have just taken on more debt than he is already comfortable with. His uncertainty as to whether or not it will actually be realized as a gain is yet to be seen for him. He may be thinking that he'll have to ask his tax accountant first if this is an expense or something that can be captilized ... and he HATES talking with his condescending jerk, brother-in-law, tax accountant, but uses him to please his wife and keep peace in the family.

No matter how logical your case may be, it alone won't convince all contractors to buy your magic tool. Fear (irrational or rational) is an incredibly powerful emotion. So is greed and a bevy of other powerful emotions. If he has such uncertainty in his decision making, you'll have to help him get past that. For that you'll have to be able to flush out the root of any "foolish" objections and correlate that to his DBM ... which may or may not be to build more homes in a year. That is two logical assumptions that you've made ... 1) that he is being logical, and 2) that he wants to build more homes in a year ... but it still remains an assumption, which may not necessarily be his greatest concern at that moment in time that you are trying to get him to buy your magic tool.

He might be more concerned with how he's going to pay for that wedding photographer (and all the other stuff) for his daughter, and still take his wife on that 25 year anniversary trip to Hawaii next month as promised (and can't wait for the ROI of the magic tool) ... having grossly underestimated the cost of the reception and the photographer.

Until you can sufficiently transition his emotions to align with your logic, he may very well be a fool in your eyes, but the money will still be in his pocket and the tool on your shelf. But, just show him a killer picture of the magic tool again ... that should be able to directly get the sale. Well, it can at least be used in an effort to rekindle some of that created desire if you know his DBM. But you've still got to flush out (effective utilization of trial close ... which is where most people lack the "art" as you mentioned) and overcome his (hidden) objections (rational or irrational) before you can close the deal to get the sale.



May 04, 2013 at 02:36 AM
Crabby
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p.3 #9 · p.3 #9 · Upstart Needs Food Photography


You can lead a horse to water but you can't make 'em drink. But it won't be my fault if he dies of thirst. Some horses would rather wonder aimlessly thinking the water over the horizon is better water, or he may wish to stand around and wait for the water to come to him.
There's one in every crowd.That's why we have to say NO sometimes.



May 04, 2013 at 06:43 AM
RustyBug
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p.3 #10 · p.3 #10 · Upstart Needs Food Photography


Yup, sometimes people just aren't gonna get on the same page with you. Sometimes you can get them there, other times you simply can't ... whether that be on our end or theirs (it does cut both ways sometimes) ...and "pass" can either be wise, foolish or simply unfortunate, depending on why a person is saying "No".

About ten years ago, I was discussing weddings with a locally renowned wedding/portrait/senior photographer and telling him how I didn't like doing wedding photography the way I did back in the 80's/90's. Without missing a beat (while shooting prom photos on location) his reply to me was that I needed to raise my prices high enough such that one of two things would happen. I'd either price myself out of the work, such that I would be asked to do it by fewer clientele, or when I was asked to do it, the price would be high enough that I would enjoy doing it.

I always found that be an interesting response with a nugget of savvy from such a young individual at that time. I took it as a rather eloquent way of saying, "Neither beg for work, nor bottom feed and you'll enjoy your work much more."

I've enjoyed the dialogue ... hopefully our exchanges help shed some perspective for others. BTW, just for kicks (and perspective) ... I checked out the housing market differential (Sperling's) between my area and the OP's area. There is nearly a 700% variance in that market segment, and trust me, it is not my area that is 700% more than his (yes, I know the OP is looking to shoot food) ... i.e. you gotta know your market, both sides of it.

For some markets, a $300/day rate isn't worth getting out of bed for. For others, you're the top dog.

Figuring out your pricing will depend on your market (product/service offerings, industry, location, usage, license, etc) and your skills (photographic & marketing / salesmanship).



Edited on May 04, 2013 at 12:01 PM · View previous versions



May 04, 2013 at 11:19 AM
 

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RustyBug
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p.3 #11 · p.3 #11 · Upstart Needs Food Photography


brucemuir wrote:
Yes, it's a constant battle to educate the client as to what good images are worth.


+100 @ good salesmanship never ends.



May 04, 2013 at 11:59 AM
Micky Bill
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p.3 #12 · p.3 #12 · Upstart Needs Food Photography


This is a funny thread when you have two guys talking about marketing and advertising and selling, basically how to get your point across in the most effective way but it's like they are being paid by the word, or have been taken over by chuck gardener.

If you actually want people to read your posts, stop at 1000 words per post

If good photography doesn't sell a product why do car companies spend $500,000 shooting catalogs? To get you to consider the product and imagine yourself owning it.
It doesn't make the sale but it starts the sale by attracting your eye. All things being equal, the house/car/clothes/food with the nicer pictures will attract more interest. If it sells faster, I don't know.

To the people who say the OP is LOCKED IN at his $$9.50 per hour bid, I ask why? There is not contract afaik. I still don't get the parameters of the job, or the client. I thought it was a restaurant but I guess not. It's a vendor but I don't know what kind....doesnt really matter. losing this job would not be a great loss imo.

Maybe I am just cranky but the term "educate the client" always seemed condescending to me. Maybe the client needs to educate the vendor of their needs and budget.



May 04, 2013 at 06:57 PM
RustyBug
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p.3 #13 · p.3 #13 · Upstart Needs Food Photography


Micky Bill wrote:
If good photography doesn't sell a product why do car companies spend $500,000 shooting catalogs?


To generate curiosity and create desire that develops as many prospects as possible in conjunction with their other marketing efforts.
The images can also be used to facilitate conversation and conviction within the sales process ... but that doesn't mean the images will close the sale by themselves. They are an important part of the process in prospect generation (i.e. marketing), but not the final aspect where the rubber meets the road (i.e. sales) to convert prospects to buyers.

Go ask a car salesman (or a thousand car salesmen) if the photography sells the car? If it does, then all the industry of car dealerships/salesman have to do is show catalog pictures all day long and rake in big money because all the work has already been done for them and they should have the easiest job in the world.

Somehow, I don't think car dealers and car salesmen would agree that good photography sells the car ... I'm pretty sure they still have to convert the prospect to a customer, and even the best salesmen don't have a 1:1 conversion rate. Just sayin'.

Think about this ... Ford puts out an awesome catalog shot by the world's best. Chevy hires the same photographer not to be outdone by Ford. Mercedes gets in the game and also hires the same photographer. All images are absolutely stunning and people are flocking to Ford, Chevy and Mercedes dealers around the world.

But do they all buy cars at the first dealership they go to? Which ones buy cars at that first dealership? Which ones go to a different dealership? Which ones never buy a car? Which ones buy a car other than Ford, Chevy or Mercedes? Why/why not?

If good photography sells cars ... why does salesman A make big $$$$ and salesman B gets canned, even though they both have the same awesome images in their same catalog at the same dealership? Which salesman (or agent, etc.) is likely able to better benefit from better images?


Micky Bill wrote:
To get you to consider the product and imagine yourself owning it.
It doesn't make the sale but it starts the sale by attracting your eye.


+1 @ starts the sale (sales process @ prospect generation) by attracting your eye (curiosity)
+1 @ consider the product (curiosity/conviction)
+1 @ imagine yourself owning it (create desire)
+1 @ doesn't make the sale (close)

Better images can do a lot and do have value at helping to generate and bring the prospects to the marketplace (i.e. make the agents phone ring, come to the car lot, ask for a wine list, etc.) ... but they can't do it all, particularly with those prospects who "need help" to pull the trigger on a deal they are struggling to come to terms with or aren't used to making significant key decisions. That's where salesmanship is paramount.

Anybody ever heard this from a prospective client ... "You charge HOW MUCH for those pictures?"
Someone is struggling with terms/key decision making (objection). Enter the need for salesmanship to help them the rest of the way through to the sale ... because even our own best images, don't make the sale all by itself, not even for us.


Edited on May 05, 2013 at 12:32 AM · View previous versions



May 04, 2013 at 10:15 PM
Micky Bill
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p.3 #14 · p.3 #14 · Upstart Needs Food Photography


My question was rhetorical.

There are about 30 things that convert someone into a buyer. I never claimed photography did everything.

Always
Be
Closing

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVQPY4LlbJ4



May 05, 2013 at 12:32 AM
RustyBug
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p.3 #15 · p.3 #15 · Upstart Needs Food Photography


Micky ... I know that you get it very well (hence all the +1) and again +1 @ numerous parts to the conversion from prospect to buyer. Agreed @ you on all counts ... including my 1,000 word extravagance ... I'm obviously language efficiency challenged.

Maybe I should have just said "Images attract, people sell."

I didn't mean to infer anything otherwise (my bad @ missing rhetorical), and you are very correct @ ABC, i.e. good salesmanship never ends and knowing when to close is as/more important than how to close.

AIDA is classic:

Attention (Conversation)
Interest (Curiosity/Conviction)
Decision (Trial Close)
Action (Close/Call to Action)

But it unfortunately omits anything about objection handling ... and that is where many folks "stumble and fumble" when the prospect isn't going along with the sales program as readily as we might prefer.




May 05, 2013 at 12:36 AM
Crabby
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p.3 #16 · p.3 #16 · Upstart Needs Food Photography


But people don't like salesman. Today's consumers are very sophisticated and they process any piece of information from the salesman with a healthy dose of skepticism. They would rather do their own research and draw their own conclusions and for most part have already made their decision before having to talk to the salesman. If the salesman is a jerk they will walk away if they can. If the salesman is clean and courteous and doesn't put his foot in his mouth and the customer's research led to positive results and their mood is positive he just might have a sale.
I would rather test drive a vehicle without the salesman. I would rather walk through a property without the salesman. Once in a while I will ask the waitress what he or she recommends (but only if they don't have pictures on their menu).

You still haven't sold me that the salesman is all that valuable. Unless your saying in your parts a realtor would be happy making $300 per property sold.

I am willing to bet that any computer/kiosk that can finalize a sale will have a higher close ratio then the top salesman.



May 05, 2013 at 01:21 AM
RustyBug
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p.3 #17 · p.3 #17 · Upstart Needs Food Photography


Many people who are in the position of salesman ... are NOT a salesman. They are order takers who nary have a clue at how to facilitate or close a sale, and largely only "make a sale" when the customer is "self sold" or an otherwise "easy close" ... or else they don't get a sale once the prospect begins presenting challenging objective handling scenarios.

To that end, I'd agree with you about the value of many people in the role of a salesman ... which is where this kinda took off from when I referenced "crappy agents", i.e. people who couldn't sell their way out of a wet paper bag ... is suspect at best. These are the kind of salesmen that don't know how to transition a prospect through the various stages of the sales process, which is not always "straightline", and when it starts taking twists & turns, they revert to the role of order taker, cashier, attendant, hand-holder or some other non-salesman characteristic because they themselves have become lost in the sales process.

The reason that people don't like salesmen ... is because those same people who are in the role of salesman don't know how and/or when to facilitate assisting the prospect to transition through the steps of the sale to help solve/transform their prospects problem into a solution. Neither can most of them even recognize which stage of the process the prospect is currently in, nor the fact that those steps even exist. Add to that, the fact that most "salesman" can't forget about their commission (or the pressure from their boss) long enough to actually sustain a legitimate concern about helping the prospect find a solution to their problem ... particularly when it may take a degree of skill, effort & time.

I think my "favorite" is when you walk on a car lot and the "salesman" opens with "So, can I sell you a car today?" ... to which I always want to reply "I don't know, can you?" Of course, I already know that he is incapable of selling me a car because he has already shown me just how badly he does not understand the processes involved. This "classic" approach may be perceived to be rooted in the concept of ABC (always be closing), but it clearly shows that he misses the mark entirely at the purpose of a trial close and thus really doesn't know what he is doing.

What he is really asking is "So, are you already self-sold on buying a car today, so that I can get a commission without actually knowing how to sell anything?" If not, then he'll do his best to pretend like he knows what he's doing by emulating certain actions that he's been told are things that "good salesmen" do ... and yup, largely annoy people along the way.


Edited on May 05, 2013 at 02:10 PM · View previous versions



May 05, 2013 at 03:46 AM
RustyBug
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p.3 #18 · p.3 #18 · Upstart Needs Food Photography


I can relate to your position that you're still not sold that a salesman isn't all that valuable. I too have seen far too many people in that role that added essentially no/very little value to the sales process, much like you are suggesting. I would ask however, that you consider those individuals, while being placed into the role of salesman are not salesman anymore than a GWAC might be a valuable photographer who knows the art and science of his craft just because he has been put in the role of photographer by virtue of having the camera/position bestowed upon him.

To that end, we are currently in the conviction stage of the sales process. We have established a conversation. We have extended each other a psychological reciprocity of being willing to listen to what each other is saying. There is a curiosity as to whether or not I can actually produce that which I am claiming and a testing of my conviction to be able to do so.

My challenge at this point is to overcome your objection (part of the conviction stage) that you have not seen evidence of the value of good salesmanship. There are several things that initially come to mind for me (but we are a bit hindered by the cyber limitations imposed ... my challenge to overcome). While I know for a fact that there are numerous professional photographers here at FM that practice good salesmanship in their business, they are not readily at my disposal to present to you.

The reason I know this to be true is because I've witnessed their response to how they are able to approach/convince/command/persuade/etc. ... i.e. sell their products and services at much higher margins than others and/or garner more client transactions. Truly, we have to look no farther than our own ranks among us to witness the value of good salesmanship compared to those lacking in salesmanship. There are several that I could readily recommend and call out by name that I would consider notably good salesman in their business endeavors, but that would not be appropriate for me to do without their permission first. That and it could prove embarrassing or offending should I overlook someone also deserving of such notation.


Edited on May 05, 2013 at 04:26 AM · View previous versions



May 05, 2013 at 03:49 AM
RustyBug
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p.3 #19 · p.3 #19 · Upstart Needs Food Photography


However, if you will consider using a bit of imagination ... consider a bride-to-be with a limited budget who begins shopping around for a wedding photographer. As she is doing her research (curiosity/conviction) she runs across photographer A who produces good workmanship at a modest price within her budget and photographer B whom she cannot afford (i.e. objection).

For those photographers who have good salesmanship skills, they will be able to address her concerns (objection handling) at her ability to afford them while they are clearly outside of her previously established budget (objection). The ability to contend with objections is a necessary aspect of being able to transition a prospect through the conviction stage. A good salesman will be able to do that such that the prospect can them be in a position to close. This often times is accompanied by the re-establishment of desire, and utilization of one or more closing techniques to garner an action of commitment from the prospect to convert them to a customer.

However, if the photographer is not skilled in the salesmanship of handling objections, re-establishing desire and garnering a call to action commitment (i.e. close), then the sale will not occur ... due to the fact that the prospects objections (perceived affordability in this instance) were never resolved and she will likely return to the "more affordable" photographer or continue to look yet elsewhere. As such, we have presented two different levels of salesmanship that yield two different values of outcomes. Therein we have a correlation of good salesmanship yielding increased value. Of course, there is the inverse scenario where the modest photographer has excellent salesmanship skills, and his salesmanship "seals the deal" with her never even going on to consider the next photographer.

The ability to help a prospect through a difficult decision (i.e. paying THAT MUCH) can have tremendous value getting them to "pull the trigger" rather than simply be another prospective customer that walked out the door because of "sticker shock". Let's suppose for a moment that I could actually present you with sufficient evidence and testament from numerous, very successful photographers that they in fact both practice and value good salesmanship similar to the "story" I presented as being valuable to their business for securing clients, etc. ... would you then be able to consider that good salesmanship has more value over poor salesmanship?



May 05, 2013 at 03:49 AM
RustyBug
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p.3 #20 · p.3 #20 · Upstart Needs Food Photography


So, to try and take this thing back on topic a bit as most will feel I've gone off tangent ... and off the deep end.

A quick look at the poll (currently @ 33-0-0)

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1210404

regarding opinion that salesmanship is / is not valuable reveals 100% of respondents saying "Yes", with no respondents replying with "No" or "Never thought about it."

I'd suggest this is rather compelling insight into the matter that ought to be considered seriously for anyone in the business of business, or hoping to be so. Logic would dictate that "only a fool" (according to others) would not heed such tantamount objectivity ... yet, it isn't just about logic, and people will forgo even the most ardent logic, if it doesn't strike them emotionally, or strikes them with a negative emotional bias for some illogical/irrational reason. Some may simply walk away from even your best presentation, for reasons you may never fully understand.


The perspective from the OP was for that of an upstart. Most all of us have been there (or are lurkers wanting to take the plunge to be there) and it seems to be that the most prevalent question that comes from upstart(s) is about "How to SET your pricing?" To that I would suggest that a somewhat different and potentially more prevalent question needs to accompany it ...

"How to GET your pricing?"


Imo, "setting" your pricing and "getting" your pricing are dependent on more than just the market and the consumer/client. To my way of thinking, being focused solely on setting your pricing without giving any credence to how you are able to improve your ability to "get" your pricing is leaving much to chance and/or the market forces around you. The more you are able to influence your ability to "get" your pricing, the more you are in control of your destiny.

That's not to say that we can all just place a $1,000,000,000 price tag on our work and necessarily "get" it. But, I do believe that there is a significant amount of hyperfocus on setting a low enough price (upstarts in particular) to garner business, without giving sufficient credence to focusing on how to GET the RIGHT price. Imo, salesmanship / negotiation skills come into play here and far too many people fail to strive to advance their skills in this area ... often times mistaking that more $$$ @ marketing will take care of things. (Btw, +1 @ value of marketing, but it doesn't improve your salesmanship skills, even if it does increase the volume of your prospects.)

For many, many people ... it is MUCH EASIER to learn a new photography or software technique, or it is MUCH EASIER to lower your price, or MUCH EASIER to toss $$$ at marketing ... than it is to learn, practice and hone your salesmanship/negotiating skills that can help you secure more clients and/or secure the RIGHT price when others (prospects/clients/competition) are striving to get you to agree to a WRONG price. For those who are consistently struggling to get their price, it might be part of the equation they need to give more consideration to.

Some folks have a very negative connotation regarding salesmanship/negotiation and think it to be such an evil thing they avoid it like the plague. Much of this comes from the likes of the character portrayed by Mr. Baldwin in the ABC vid. But whether you view salesmanship as an offensive or defensive aspect of your transactions, the reality is that unless you are in an application that has a SET pricing structure, it's all negotiable.



Even in a "take it or leave it" structure, the ability to sell someone on the "take it" can make a significant difference. Imo, most people that toss out the "take or leave it" are either:

A) Not wanting to put forth the effort (or don't know how) to engage the necessary salesmanship to convert the prospect to a customer, or
B) Are employing it as a closing technique. Well-timed, it can be very effective. Ill-timed, not so much. Knowing the difference ... can make all the difference.

If you have ever employed (or had it employed upon you !!!) "take it or leave it" and don't understand why you did, or when you did, then it might be worth evaluating. Thus, it behooves us to at least give some credence to the degree of skill we have in salesmanship/negotiations impacting our overall profitability.

"How to SET your price."
"How to GET your price."



Sure, you may still negotiate or accept a lower offer than you started with for different clients. But, imo, the first one kinda needs the abilities of the second one ... otherwise you are at risk to just keep lowering your price till you run yourself out of business through price erosion. It is a common thought that if a person isn't getting the price they set, then the price must be wrong, and the "lowering" begins. If there is a problem getting the right price, then re-setting to a wrong price may not be the real answer to the problem.

If we don't have the ability to get/protect our right price from being lowered, what makes it any different for a new lower price. Will we be able to protect it from going even lower? If we can't "sell" our position (whatever it is), then aren't we really being "sold" on their position instead of ours ... hmmm?

There will ALWAYS be someone out there willing to do it for less than you. If you are going to compete with THEIR price (oh gee, some will do it for free @ photo credit) ... how will you stop the price erosion slide to nothingness if you don't improve your salesmanship ability to "GET" your price or secure a client at any price?

Apologies for the 1000+ words (again) ... so I'll summarize as this:

"How to SET your price." is not the same thing as "How to GET your price."
You have to be skilled in both, complacent in neither ... relative to your talent(s) and your market.

HTH ... someone



Edited on May 24, 2013 at 09:16 PM · View previous versions



May 07, 2013 at 01:59 PM
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