why sales is not a bad word

Many wedding professionals are scared of the term “sales”, and it’s completely understandable. After-all, we have been trained to think negatively of salespeople. Even using the term “sales” or “salesperson” I’m sure conjures up negative thoughts and experiences that you have had.

Maybe you remember that one time that you were fear mongered and were sold the “service warranty” after buying a computer at a big-box computer store, and you resented the sales person for it. Perhaps you have a vision of a “salesperson” as the stereotypical “used-car salesman” who uses gimmicks, cheesy sayings and sly mind-tricks to win you over.

You have ever right to be afraid of being a salesperson if this is what you identify “sales” with, but what if I told you that this isn’t necessarily what sales are all about? What if I told you that you can be in sales and not have to use high-pressure, gimmicks or sneaky techniques to win the sale and close the deal? What if we just re-framed what sales meant to use and put a positive spin on it? Let me provide an example:

I am a wedding photographer, and a damn good one to say the least! Aside from being recognized in my industry through awards and accolades, I am personally very confident in my abilities as a wedding photographer to create beautiful timeless images for a couple on their wedding day.

By the way … I am not saying this to brag or come across as egotistical. I have a point, so hang on a second! 

Let’s say that I meet with a couple to have a consultation and talk about their wedding and my for them to discover more about me and my style as a photographer. What if after talking with them about their wedding, I know that I would be a perfect fit for them. Their wedding is the exact kind of wedding that I excel at photographing, I am familiar with the locations, and what they’re looking for out of their wedding photographs is exactly what I specialize in creating. It is a match made in heaven, right?

If I am truly confident that I am the best photographer for this couple and that I will be able to make the best images for them in a way that perfectly aligns with their vision, then don’t you think that it would be a disservice to them if I didn’t try and “sell” them on why they should hire me? If I decided I didn’t want to “sell” them and I let them walk away, then they may end up hiring another photographer who wouldn’t do as good of a job as I would. Then the couple wouldn’t have as nice of a documentation from their wedding day.

Now that’s a sad story. My lack of interest in “selling” them results in them not being happy (or as happy as they could be) with their wedding photography. Puts a different spin on “selling” doesn’t it? What if that’s truly what “selling” was all about? Selling is really just the process of getting or giving people what they truly want.

Here are five ways that you can “sell” without having to resort to using high-pressure, gimmicks or mind tricks:

  1. Talk in terms of benefits to them. Speak directly about them, their situation, their wedding and what they’re looking for.
  2. Listen. We were given two ears and one mouth for a reason, and that’s because we should listen twice as much as we should talk.
  3. Treat them like they are your only wedding. Don’t talk about other weddings or other couples. Keep the conversation focused on them and their special day.
  4. Be excited for them. Show a genuine interest in their plans, their details and their story.
  5. Be the best at what you do. Whatever industry you are in – florals, decorating, wedding planning, photography, and so on. Be the best you can be so that you are delivering the best in quality and experience.

We don’t have to resort to being a stereotypical “salesperson”, and you aren’t the only one who doesn’t like that approach. No one does, let’s be honest. Clients will appreciate your no-nonsense, friendly and “them-focused” approach if you pay attention to the 5 tips for no-pressure selling above.

If you are a photographer, I would love it if you would join me over at my educational site, Sprouting Photographer. This is a website that that is dedicated exclusively to knowledge, tools and insights that help professional photographers with the business of being creative. One tool in specific that I think you will find extremely helpful is our “What to Charge Calculator“, where you input all of your personal preferences and it will tell you exactly how much you should be charging for your wedding photography.

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