Confidence in Selling

In many aspects of life, confidence is an element of success. Nowhere is this truer than in the art of sales. Obviously, great sales take more than JUST confidence, but without confidence, sales is destined to fail. If we go into sales believing we will fail, that is confidence in our own failure, and that failure will be a success. But the one success we do not want, it failure. Sort of ironic isn't it?

So how do we become confident? Nothing breeds confidence like success. Remember that first sale you made over $500. Before that, you wondered if you would ever hit that level. But once you did, you had confidence, knowing that it IS possible. So we find that $500 sales become much easier. So we begin to think that $1000 sales are nearly impossible. Until we get one and now have the confidence that it is possible. Then we get more $1000 sales. I know every time I have hit a new level, achieving that goal the second time was so much easier. The third time, even easier.

So how do we get that first success that will breed our confidence? We often have to rely on the other tools and teaching of sales to clear that hurdle. We must have some belief in that what we learn will work! Ok, let's take a reality moment here. Will it work EVERY time? Probably not.But it will likely surprise us how many times it will work. If we go in believing that it will not work, then it will fail EVERY time.

Let's take a brief look at some of the tools we need. A greater understanding of the sales process is the best place to start. No matter what you are selling, those steps, and their sequence are important. Greeting the customer, qualifying their needs, demonstrating and closing are all important. Skip one step and your likelihood of success drops. Sales training is the best way to get that understanding, either through personal training or one of hundreds of sales books.

Once we have this process understanding, then we can focus on the tools of our own particular business or product. For me, that is portraits. Effective tools include our own marketing and branding. Are we attracting the right clients for our products? Our displays and samples. Are they building desire for what we do? Presentation tools like ProSelect sales software and it's Room View feature help clients visualize our portraits in their home beforehand. And our own words. Are we saying the right things and at the right time to reach our clients.

I would like to help you achieve the next level in your own personal portrait sales goals. How to take each of these pieces and fit them together to equal your success. Consider a training course with Gary Box and UBOX to help you with the sales confidence you seek.

A change in focus

For years I have worked to help fellow photographers grow in their profession. It has been a true passion with many gifts of success. To understand this, we need to go back to the beginning, or at least my beginning, in the profession. When I was getting started, I had several great local professional photographers help and guide me. They were paying it forward. People like Ted Lane, who taught me the basic lighting patterns on a face, and Les Peterson who told me "it's always better to apologize for price than to apologize for quality". I own a good portion of my success to those and many more.

For many years I have been paying it forward, helping others grow, whether new to our industry trying to get a good start, or experienced pros trying to better themselves. This process and my travels has brought me many friends and much personal growth as well. As a teacher, the greatest rewards that I have received are positive reports from those whom I have worked with. When they send me a photo of the Harley or sailboat that they were able to buy with their own growth. Or when they stop me in the hall at a conference and thank me for doubling their sales average.

Teaching and speaking is hardly a highly profitable venture. What I charge for a full day program is less than 1/2 of my average senior order, which I do two of a day during main season. And speaking is often a 3 day investment. A day getting there, a day teaching and a day returning is typical. It is an easy claim to say that I make more staying home shooting than teaching. This does not even consider the incredible amount of time that I spend in Facebook sharing and answering countless questions. I am often asked how I get it all done. I was recently referred to by another teacher as "the shoot and burner of photography education" because I do so much for free that others charge for.

It's no secret that I am not getting any younger. I have had to slow my own business down, I can not work the pace that I used to. As I slow, I have found that the percentage of time I invest in others is now out of balance with my own businesses needs. So I have had to put myself on a "teaching diet", especially for unpaid time, and focus more time on my own business than that of others.

So for a while at least, I will work on educating and mentoring a smaller number of people and perhaps start running the education part more like a business.