I get asked all the time:
Will your sales process work for me?
Short answer: Yes.
What if I’m a photographer?
What if I’m a planner?
Or a stationer? Venue? Videographer?
Yes yes yes.
What if I serve mid-market clients?
But what if I serve luxury clients? Do you have to use a different sales process for wealthy people?
Because rich people and poor people are all people. We’re all humans. We all make choices using the same basic wiring in our brains passed down through DNA over thousands of generations.
The sales process I use is based on behavioral science and is designed around the way humans make decisions.
Cognitive heuristics like status quo bias and loss aversion affect people the same regardless of how much money they have in the bank. And that’s what my sales process factors in.
Principles of influence like reciprocity, social proof, scarcity, and likability work regardless of net worth. And that’s what my sales process incorporates.
All humans want to be heard. Feel understood. Feel important. And that’s what my sales process does.
The sales process is “what” the buyer’s journey looks like. What path you take them on. My process is simple:
Inquiry comes in
Quick response with a request for a conversation (if prequalified)
Email recap of the discovery call
Call to review proposal and close deal
Online contract and payment
Obstacles may get in the way of this process (and so you make adjustments), but this is the direction to take all your buyers whenever possible.
How to sell luxury
However, success isn’t based solely on the sales process. Two other factors contribute heavily to consistent bookings: Sales skills and sales messages.
Your sales skills are “how” you guide them through the process.
How do you implement different strategies and tactics along the buyer’s journey?
I operate by the platinum rule, not the golden rule. The platinum rule says that you should treat others the way they want to be treated. Different from treating them the way you want to be treated.
It’s more than a play on words. It’s a completely different mindset. One starts with what works for you, and the other begins with the buyer in mind.
That means you operate the relationship with a potential client differently depending on the way they want to be treated. Your job is to discover as early as possible how to communicate with them in a way that’s natural and comfortable to them.
While people make decisions generally the same way (mostly non-consciously through cognitive shortcuts called heuristics), the way we process information we receive can be very different.
My four primary buyer types are an expression of how different brains tend to filter the world based on their unique mental wiring.
Some people prefer lots of information at once. Others want it doled out bit by bit.
Some people move fast. Others move slow.
Some people like to work in groups. Others prefer to be on their own.
Some people focus on the end result. Others care more about the process to get there.
The most successful salespeople shift their way of communicating to match the other person’s natural preferences.
One of the things we know about luxury consumers is that they expect a personalized experience. Stretching how you communicate with them is the most important skill to develop.
Why luxury buyers make purchases
I’ve talked about sales process (“what the path looks like”) and sales skills (“how you guide them”), so where do sales messages come into play? Remember, messaging is “why” they should buy it.
Building desire is one of the most important parts of booking any client. But it’s especially important when you’re trying to convert clients at higher price points, because people’s willingness-to-pay is largely determined by how much they want what you’re selling.
Here’s a helpful insight on how to sell to luxury buyers instead of mid-market or even premium:
Luxury clients tend to focus on desires. Mid-market buyers fixate on concerns.
I’ll say that another way using marketing lingo:
Luxury clients want to experience more good things in life. Mid-market buyers look for less bad things to happen.
Or using simple psychological frames:
Luxury clients want more pleasure in their lives. Mid-market buyers seek to eliminate pain points.
I’ll give you an example of how this impacts messaging.
Let’s say you’re a photo
grapher. If you’re selling to mid-market your message could be:
“I help you feel less awkward in front of the camera.”
And if you’re a photographer selling in the five-figures:
“I help you feel beautiful in front of the camera.”
Let’s do that for planners:
Mid-market: “I take the stress out of your wedding day.”
Luxury: “I make it so you can enjoy the wedding day.”
See the difference? One takes away a pain point, the other fulfills a pleasure.
There’s so much more to messaging your ideal client, but I thought it would be useful to offer a simple example of how different words create different feelings – and we all know wedding services are emotional purchases.
Words matter. More than you imagine. So if you’re not getting enough inquiries from the right kinds of couples, it might be time to start looking at your marketing and sales messaging. We include full brand strategies for all our copywriting and website clients.
Now’s the time to get started if you want better clients in 2023 and beyond.
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KT Merry is on the podcast this week
This week I had the pleasure of talking with a luxury wedding professional who knows a thing or two about how to book business at the highest levels. KT Merry joins me on the Own Your Business podcast for a retrospective and deep-dive on her career.
I hope you tune in because it’s a fascinating perspective on how to take yourself and your business to the next level, no matter where you’re at right now.
Free workshops for photographers with KT Merry
The Art + Science of The Irresistible Photography Brand: Master Your Art + Business From October 5th to October 13th, KT Merry will be sharing insightful gold to support you in your photography business journey. The Art + Science of The Irresistible Photography Brand: Master Your Art + Business is for those who are new to the world of running a photography business or veterans in the industry.
After three, LIVE workshops with KT, you’ll walk away with a:
Framework to build a wildly profitable & creative photography business that attracts portfolio-worthy, inspiring and aligned clients
Clear picture of who it is you uniquely serve (so you can stop trying to serve & sell to everyone and anyone)
Blueprint of how to build a business that will allow you to reach your potential and do your most meaningful work