In-Person vs. Virtual Sales Appointments

Even if you’ve only known me for a little while, I’m sure you know… I am the BIGGEST cheerleader for artwork sales! Every portrait session I do is shot with artwork in mind, whether it be a large frame or a small gift print. I want every client to have photos they’ll love and display forever, and I’m sure you do too. One of my number one goals as an educator is to help other photographers learn how to create sustainable businesses they LOVE, and selling artwork through In-Person Sales is one of my favorite ways to do just that.

Without a doubt, In-Person Sales – known as IPS in the industry – is the #1 way to boost your photography business. Artwork sales benefit everyone: you are able to give your clients the white glove treatment, deliver beautiful, memorable artwork, and make more profit from each and every sale.


THE TWO TYPES OF ‘In-Person’ SALES

This may sound a little strange, but did you know that virtual meetings STILL count as IPS? That’s right!

During Covid, I really had to embrace technology and start offering clients virtual sales sessions. Even though my clients weren’t physically visiting my studio, they still got the slideshow of their images, personalized recommendations for products, and could even see frame mockups during our Zoom meetings. The best part? I was still abIe to serve my clients with a beautiful experience virtually and BONUS, my sales didn’t suffer.

Even though lots of people are learning to love Zoom, traditional IPS isn’t going anywhere. There’s nothing I love more than welcoming clients into my studio and ending their portrait session experience with an awesome sales meeting. I truly believe that meeting with clients in-person – instead of emailing them a gallery or not giving them any input after their shoot – is what’s helped me earn six+-figures year after year. And today, I’m sharing my very best tips for BOTH types of sales meetings.

IN-PERSON SALES

In-Person Sales has been the cornerstone of my own photography business for years. For a lot of clients, the whole IPS process was a new and surprising experience – one that completely elevated my service with professionalism and quality. Although digital IPS are a great option, I don’t EVER see in-person sales meetings going away completely. Here are some of the benefits of In-Person Sales.

PROS & CONS

For in-person sales, the pros far and away outweigh the cons. I truly believe that this is the best overall experience for clients – especially new clients who are unsure about what a sales meeting involves and what you have to offer them.

This is your chance to go above and beyond and provide something a lot of shoot and burn photographers don’t. Most people don’t know what they want until they see it, especially if they’ve never worked with a photographer who offers albums, frames, or canvas options. This makes in-person meetings great for new clients and gives you lots of opportunity for up-selling.

It’s also a HUGE bonus when you can have samples of your products for clients to see. In my studio, I have an abundance frame corners in different styles, several sample albums, dozens of cards, and canvases of my work displayed on the walls. People can see and feel the quality for themselves, and this is what usually gets them excited to buy. Let clients see the frames, touch the album cover fabrics, and fall in love!

To be honest, the only “con” I can see for these meetings is if you don’t have your own studio space and can’t host an in-person meeting. But if this is your situation, don’t worry – there are several ways you can meet with your clients either in their home or at a coffee shop to deliver the same type of experience.

VIRTUAL IN-PERSON SALES

I’ll be honest, here: when Covid first spiked and I started meeting with clients on Zoom, I was worried. I’ve built my business around these personalized, thoughtful IPS sessions and wasn’t convinced that online sessions would be the same. But a year later, I’m a believer in virtual meetings! When you do them right, you can have just as much success over Zoom, and here’s why:

PROS & CONS

One of the biggest pros for Virtual In-Person Sales is that there’s no commute time, no time spent away from home or the kids – you can hop on from anywhere. My busy clients, like working moms and new parents, have loved that virtual ordering appointments mean they can see their photos from the comfort of their own homes, without the time buffer of getting to my studio.

Returning clients also love these appointments; when you see the same clients every year, they’ve got a great handle on what you offer and what they want, and a quick online meeting is perfect for them.

Another big pro of virtual sales meetings is that any type of photographer can have them. I have my own private studio space, but I know that that’s a luxury that not every photographer has or even wants. If you shoot on-location or outdoors, or rent in a shared space, you might have thought selling products and artwork was impossible. But with Zoom, all you need is a computer to open up the world of artwork sales. Plus, every printing lab out there has drop-ship options, so you don’t even need to worry about dealing with the post office – order online and have artwork wrapped and delivered right to your clients!

There are some cons to consider for virtual meetings, however, the biggest of which is that clients may be more hesitant to purchase bigger pieces when they can’t see them in-person. It’s important that you have a lot of photo examples of what you offer and a very clear and detailed price menu to help virtual clients understand their investment. Another con is the inevitable technology issues we all seem to face, but if you do a few practice runs with friends and family, you’ll be a PRO by the time you go through this process with a client.

I still love in-person meetings, but virtual “in-person” meetings are now another part of my business, and one that I’m glad I embraced. There’s pros and cons to both types of sales appointments, but here’s the truth:

How you meet with clients isn’t the important part – what’s important is that you ARE meeting with them!

Whether you have a studio or not, IPS is a great way to connect with your clients, elevate your service and increase your photography sales (that’s a WIN-WIN-WIN!!!). Not quite sure how to implement this into your business? Make sure you hop on my email list, where I’ll be sharing my STEP-BY-STEP IPS sales strategy that has tripled my photography income.

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