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Business for Photographers: The Five Types of Questions You Should Be Asking at Sales Consults

Business Miscellaneous | Emily Chappell Photography

September 3, 2019

questions you should be asking at sales consults

“My greatest strength…is to be ignorant and ask a few questions.” Peter Drucker

Too often I hear about wedding photographers and creative entrepreneurs getting stuck on telling their prospect about their services and product during their sales meetings. Tell them all about you and your work, craft a halfway decent close, and you’ve got the sale – right?

Except – hold up. That doesn’t exactly work. As a matter of fact, if it were actually that simple, sales would be a heck of a lot easier!

The truth is that being successful at sales (which will absolutely set up you apart from others in your field!) takes a lot more discovery, digging, and information mining. And how do we get that info?

So glad you asked! :)

I happen to have a little super power I’d like to bestow upon you – and that’s the magic of QUESTIONS.  Questions are, in my experience, EVERYTHING in the sales process. By crafting your sales presentation around questions, you’re going to get your prospect to tell you exactly what you need to do to sell them on your service and gain their confidence, trust, and business in the process!

What should you be asking? Well, there’s honestly a ton of different ways you can look at structuring your presentation, but I like to base my consults around the following types of questions: PERSONAL, LOGISTICAL, EXPERIENTIAL, VISION-BASED, and CLOSING.

 

Again, I’m no expert…I’ve just devised a system that helps me remember what questions are important and how to structure my consults for more meaningful AND productive meetings.  That means BOOKINGS!  Today I’m going to share a little about what that looks like, so read on to learn more about “Five Types of Questions You Should Be Asking at Sales Consults”!

Personal

Personal questions should be the backbone of your sales consult and should make up the majority of the questions you ask.  I always recommend leading off with these types of questions to help break the ice before getting into the details.  You want to show how much you care about getting to know your client and what makes them unique. This is all about understanding their backstory and walk of life so that you can help cater your presentation and services to their needs.  In the process, you’ll gain trust and common ground – both of which are crucial to earning your prospect’s business.  These questions are limitless!  Some examples of personal questions you could ask might be:

 

  • Tell me a little more about how you first met and started dating.
  • How did the proposal go down? Were you shocked?
  • Where did you go to school?
  • What do you do for work?
  • Tell me about your families.

 

Logistical

By the time you’re meeting with your prospect, you should know some of the basics already such as their wedding date, location, and budget.  If not…go back to start. :) These are qualifying questions that will save you time on the front end – after all, no need to meet with someone whose budget is $1K less than your entry price point! So make sure that those questions are already answered prior to meeting with your couple.

Then, when you’re sitting across the table from your prospect, you’ll want to begin information and needs gathering on a deeper level. This will help you become more informed so that you can expertly guide them throughout the sales process.  You might even be able to up-sell them on additional services and products based on what they need.  Some additional examples of logistics-based questions you’ll want to pose might be:

  • How many guests are you anticipating?
  • Do you have a set time for your ceremony?
  • Are you working with a wedding planner?
  • How is your wedding planning coming along? (Offer referrals if needed.)
  • What additional services or products are important to you?

 

Experiential

Now we begin digging deep with our prospects to get them thinking about specific experiences they’ve had in the past when it comes to photography.  Oftentimes couples are unsure exactly how to voice what it is they want, and these questions can help them – and you! – to gain clarity.

  • When was the last time you had your photos professionally taken?  Tell me a little more about that experience.
  • We’ve all been to (or heard about) a wedding or event where the photographer was incredible – or perhaps not so stellar.  What has your experience been?
  • Tell me about the last time you fell in love with a friend or family member’s wedding photos.
  • When was the last time you walked away from a wedding and were “wowed” by the celebration as a whole?

Vision-based

This is where you get to start dreaming alongside your prospect and essentially connecting emotion to your services.  You’re going to engage your prospect on an intangible, emotional level, which will drive the more subconscious part of their decision-making process.  I love saving this for last, because at this point they’re a little more relaxed and are more likely to open up!

  • Which photos are the most important to you? (Details/Portraits/Family Photos/Candid) Why?
  • What type of photos do you see yourselves in? (You can joke about Pinterest here!)
  • When you (and family/friends) look back on your photos, what do you want them to remember about your wedding?
  • When your great-grandchildren look at your wedding photos, what do you want them to feel about you as a couple?

 

Closing

If you’ve been in sales for any length of time, you know how important it is to confidently ask for your the sale.  Your ability to properly close a sale based on exactly where your customer is at in the process can mean the difference between earning their business or not.  This makes understanding how to use closing questions vitally important.  You might feel more comfortable with one of the following over the other:

  • Who is helping you with the decision-making process? (Oftentimes parents or other family are helping)
  • What is your timeline for booking your wedding photographer?
  • Would it make sense to review the contract and invoice together?
  • Do you feel that this collection would fit your needs?
  • Where should we go from here?

 

I hope you’ve benefited from reading about Five Types of Questions You Should Be Asking at Sales Consults!  Want to start generating more sales? Stop selling and start asking. By mastering the art of asking thoughtful, intentional questions, you’ll find that your consults have more substance and meaning…and ultimately result in the sales you want.

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