To increase sales this is the single most important business factor
To increase sales while retaining a high customer satisfaction you should focus on Customer Service, the idea of placing your customers’s desires in front of everyone else. It is the way forward in this connected economy. With this idea in mind, if you want to make your customer live a unique experience through your images, you need to provide a solid quality from the beginning to end; in the entire process there is one single point you can really leverage to increase sales and provide a great moment for your customers: the in-person viewing session, the moment your customers see their images for the first time.
To increase sales you do not have to “sell” your images
When Fabiana and I restructured the way we did business more than a year ago, we introduced the in-person sale sessions. We hated this term (and we still do), and we hated the idea of having to force our sales; however, we discovered that what we were doing, making sure the customers had the best possible experience, is not selling, it is giving our customers another “wow” moment. To increase sales you don’t need to be a good sales person, you just need to care for your customers’ experience.
Yes, you read correctly: you do not have to sell your images during a viewing session, you have to be your customers’ “photo consultant”. Tell them what you think, which of her images you particularly love and why, tell them what product you truly believe will be the best and avoid looking always for the big sale: if you sell well, you will create returning customers, but if you sell hard you will have a one-off without many referrals, this is how the economy of Internet and social networks works. To increase sales you just need to treat them as your friends and suggest what’s best for them.
What if they do not have time for a viewing session?
Your customers have invested a big deal of self confidence in this shoot, they have put themselves on the line, trusting you to take their photos. They are dying to see the final result, they want to see themselves beautiful, but they are scared to see what you have prepared for them. Do you really think they won’t have time for coming to a in-person viewing session? Make an event out of it, have some wine ready, something to eat and a nice atmosphere. Make it personal and make sure to give her calendar options that do not necessarily break their daily plans (think about evening in-person sales sessions for example): they will come.
Of course, there are exceptions to this, especially if your customers live far away. In such occasions, the Internet is your friend to make sure you can still deliver a personal, emotional experience. Privately upload their password protected slideshow on Vimeo and share your screen when you show them their images while chatting with them on Skype. It is simple!
Why online galleries are not a good solution
Let’s face it, having an online gallery makes things simple. You upload your photos, send a link to your customers and BAM, the job is done! Quick and easy, but what added value do you give to your customers? They get an email, and they go and see their images on their own. They will not be able to live a moment. You will not be able to create the right mood for them to see their images. They will not be able to see your products in front of them. They will see their images without someone to help them with their choice.
If you want to get more from your customers, you need to give them more, much more than a cold online gallery.