Let’s talk about myths. And no, I’m not going to debunk “Flat Earth Theory.” Go on. Look it up. I dare you! And, on that same note, I refuse to talk about the nonsensical position that humans only use 10 percent of their brain. I, for one, use 100 percent of my brain. Every day. Nope, forget all that nonsense. We’ve no time for that … We have to get to work. We’re talking about other nonsense: the myth of emotional selling. Because there truly is A LOT of garbage floating around our industry related to this topic.
[Related: “The True Value of Your Photographs”]
So, let’s set the record straight. Here’s the truth: The most important ingredient to selling photography is the element of fun. What? Fun! Yes, fun! In fact, making that first reveal for your clients, when they see their photographs for the first time … That should be the most incredible experience for them! One of the best experiences they’ve ever had!
Connection | Not Manipulation
Some would actually call “clients having fun” emotional manipulation. But hey, if having fun is manipulation, I am totally okay with that! Why? Well, clients want experiences! In fact, the experience industry is booming: interactive museum exhibitions, escape rooms, and, yes, a proper photographic experience. Gone are the days when families want to pop in to the local JCPenney department store for their annual portrait. They want a full experience. They want to be heard, to be seen, and to feel a connection to the photographs they are purchasing.
Adding a real experience for your clients, from beginning to end, is all about considering what they are feeling right now. As the photographer, your job is to take action. Your job is to help your clients connect with one another. To help them through a process to discover who are they and who they love the most in their lives. After all, let’s face it: “busy” has become the new currency for success. The busier people make themselves, the less quality time is left for the people they care about the most.
And that’s where you, the photographer, come in. Portrait and wedding photography, in case you’ve forgotten (since you’re often busy chasing awards and worrying about your next social media ad campaign) is about … Wait for it. PEOPLE! It’s about their hopes and their dreams and capturing their relationships. Here’s a hard truth: your clients have loads of photographs at their disposal. However, that magic ingredient of someone believing in them and giving them permission to make the time time to go out of their way for one another is absolutely the missing link.
Your clients want more. They want someone who sees them, in the midst of a world that happily walks by without even a glance … We are the most socially connected generation, and yet we are the loneliest. Therefore, as an industry, we must (above all else) photograph connection. That’s how we’ll truly move people with our photography!
Emotion Is Photography | Emotional Selling Doesn’t Exist
Photography that matters to your clients is filled with emotion that matters to them, and this needs to be our industry’s mission. As our clients see their photographs for the first time, they will naturally go through so many emotions. Specifically, they will face themselves, and all their fears and judgements of themselves. Our confidence in them is all they need to help them see themselves as worth being photographed, and worth being on display.
In sum, our clients are not buying “just a canvas” or “just a wall print”; rather, they are buying that emotional connection to something that they want to keep, and perhaps thought they have lost, up until now that is. And I’ll be bold to claim that they’ll always choose that photograph that touches them emotionally over that one, epic photograph we painstakingly planned and crafted. Even if it is slightly out of focus or not quite perfect in some other manner, a client will choose something that emotionally means something over something that is void of emotion. After all, our clients commission us to create something that they want.
Like it or not, we are in the business of emotion and giving our clients an experience. The future is bright for those photographers that embrace emotion and fill their clients souls with it. From that first inquiry to the moment our clients’ wall art in displayed in their homes, emotion is the key to a great experience. And that, friends, is loads of fun. So, let’s go have some fun!
Want to Learn More?
We have a full platform of online courses suited to help you become a better photographer, and I’ll be bold to place my bets: you’ll even become a better human. Check out our membership here. And if you’re ready to really throw down, and get to work, join us for an in-person workshop. We have many upcoming, including several that specifically focus on the art of selling (some call it in-person sales). Check those out here and here.