Would you agree that no one likes the idea of the slimy used car salesman? Have you ever stopped to think about and analyze why no one likes that person? It's because that person has no vested interest in the product they're are selling or the people they are selling to. He or she has no interest in the customer or in the car. As a photographer, how do make money selling a service and product to your customers while never treating them like the car salesman would? The answer is pretty simple: take time to find the products that you're actually passionate about and then share that passion with your clients.
When it comes to selling which products to your clients, there are as many different options available as you can dream of. We live in a time where if you can think of it, there is a company that makes it. We have access to prints of every kind and size; canvas, paper (of every stock and variety), metal, wood, and acrylic. There are custom folio books, coffee table books, albums of every size and material you can think of. You can sell custom USB drives, mugs, coasters, and any other kind of accessory item. Identifying which products you care about is the sure-fire way to make a quality connection with your customers.
The real kicker though, despite the near limitless available options, is that you get to choose which products you offer. Let that one sink in because it's really important. You are not required to offer every kind of product on the market. You aren't required to offer every kind of print or every kind of album. It's your job to identify which products you want to have a vested interest in. The simplest way to go about this is to find the products that you would buy for yourself. The items that you would purchase and display in your own home are the products and the passion that you want to share with your clients.
There are a couple things to consider when you're looking to identify the options you want to offer. First, trade shows or expos are a really fantastic opportunity to see a variety of products in person. You have the chance to talk directly with vendors as well as see and handle the products firsthand. Second, know that it's always appropriate to adapt to your customers requests. If you find that your clients are always asking about something specific, you may want to find a product you enjoy to fill that request.
Remember that you're not the car salesman. The car salesman doesn't see the customer, only the paycheck. You're fostering a positive relationship with your clients. While the end result is earning money through your work, the process is creating an experience and capturing a memory for the client. Your job is to create work for the customer to cherish, a tangible memory that you can present via the medium of your choosing. I've found that I prefer to keep my product offerings very simple. With too many options I tend to (as well as my clients) get lost with too much variety.
Leave a comment below with some of your favorite products. How did you find them and what is it you love about them?