Consider yourself officially invited to forget those meticulous sales rooms, designed to Pinterest-perfection.
To stop worrying if your newest sample has been spit-shined and dusted to Guggenheim specifications.
Heck… you don’t even need to wear pants for this… It’s time to stop trying to force your life to fit into “The Perfect Business” and, instead, fit your business into your imperfect life.
So let’s skip the stress-inducing, time-sucking, daily need to hire a maid that is In-Person Sales, throw on some pajama pants (business on top, jammies on the bottom) and take a look at IPS’s scrappy younger sister, the Virtual In-Person Sales meeting.
Virtual In-Person Sales gives you many of the benefits of traditional In-Person Sales (higher sales, better service, more consistent income), without many of the tradeoffs (see above…). But before you going sprinting into your first Virtual In-Person Sales meeting, let’s get you started off on the right foot with a few quick tips to help you make the most of your naptime-hour-of-profitability.
Tip One: “Tech”
Not Just Another Four-Letter Word
The “Virtual” part of a Virtual IPS meeting really just means that you’ll be doing the meeting over the interwebs. And, with that, comes some tech… but that doesn’t need to be scary or to hold you back from putting Virtual IPS into place in your business! Here’s what you’ll need:
- Some sort of software to run the sales meeting. There are quite a few available to you but – surprise – we recommend www.swiftgalleries.com!
- A way to share your screen with your client, while also seeing each other face-to-face. You can use Google Hangouts or Skype for this, but we prefer Zoom.us for its reliability and the fact that it’s 100% free for our needs.
- To chill on the Netflix and chilling for long enough to get your sales meeting done. Kick everyone off of Netflix, SnapFace, Fork-Knife or whatever the kids are playing these days to reserve as much bandwidth as possible for your Virtual In-Person Sales meeting. More bandwidth = better experience = happier clients = higher sales.
Tip Two: Have a Plan
Just because you’re rocking some unicorn jammie-pants (what… is that just me?), doesn’t mean you should go into your sales meeting all willy-nilly.
Have an agenda and a solid timeline for your meeting to keep it moving in the right direction. This will help you keep your clients focused on the task at hand, while also making sure you finish up before those kids wake up from that nap that “I swear only started 25 minutes ago….”. Here’s a pretty good framework for you:
- 5 Minutes – Chit-chat and witty banter. Get everyone comfy with the tech and establish some rapport + lay down the agenda for the meeting
- 10 Minutes – Slideshow, twice. First time, just tell the clients to sit back and enjoy your masterpieces. Second time through ask them to start thinking about which images are their favorites.
- 5 Minutes – Cull their favorites from their not-so-favorites. Just ask them to give you a “yes” or a “no”. Skip the “maybe” option… it’s an unnecessary decision you’re putting in front of a client since a “maybe” is ultimately either a “yes” or “no” at the end of the “day”. That last one didn’t need quotes. It just felt “right”.
- 15 Minutes – Sell the “big stuff”. Find a home for their absolute favorite images in wall art or albums. Ideally, you would have done much of this “selling” before you ever got to the sales meeting, but that’s another blog post altogether.
- 15 Minutes – Find a home for the other images they love, but that don’t fit on the wall or in an album. This is where your smaller products come into play – things like coffee table books, small prints, table-top frames or even – gasp! – digital files.
- 3 Minutes – Take their payment and nail down order and delivery expectations.
- 2 Minutes – Happy dance (quietly, so you don’t wake the kids).
Tip Three: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
So… that plan of yours?
It’s probably going to get pummeled by this thing called “life”. Don’t sweat it. The beauty of a Virtual IPS meeting is that it lends itself well to being more informal and low-key than a stuffy IPS meeting.
So don’t stress when that kid wakes up early and comes wandering, bleary-eyed into the background of your sales meeting. Or when you don’t have every minute perfectly scripted. Just roll with it and let your clients see that you, like them, are an actual human.
Tip Four: Do Sweat the Big Stuff
Now… “business on the top and jammies on the bottom” doesn’t give you or your clients permission to completely blow off the importance of this meeting.
This is still a vital part of your process and it’s important that everyone keep that in mind. Here are a couple of places that you’ll want to reinforce the importance of the meeting:
- Timing: Make it clear that this is the time you’ve set aside for this meeting and that this is the time your clients will need to place their order. Be firm on this one, it’s truly important. Look… you’re busy. You’ve blocked off this hour to be completely and totally dedicated to helping your client figure out what to do with their photos. Don’t be afraid to ask your clients to respect that.
- Timeline: It’s easy to let time get away from you in these meetings, especially if you’ve developed a great relationship with your clients. Be yourself – relatable, fun and easy-going – but be the business pants version of yourself. The one who directs this meeting and has a timeline to stick to. You’ve got this.
- Attention: Your clients are on the internet. They’re going to want to jump onto Facebook, thinking you won’t notice. Nip this in the bud right from the start by asking them to be respectful of you and your time and to keep all unnecessary apps and tabs closed. Feel free to lean on the (actually true) excuse that they need to conserve as much bandwidth as possible for this meeting to run smoothly.
Tip Five: Make it Work, Then Make it Better
Maybe you want that fancy-pants studio with the meticulous sales room and the Guggenheim samples.
That’s cool. You do you, boo.
Or maybe you’re worried your new Virtual IPS process has to be perfect before you can run through it with your first client. And to either of those things, I give you this, my favorite quote in the history of ever: Make it work. Then make it better.
Don’t let the need for perfection (that perfect space or the elusive perfect process) and the fact that you’re not there yet today stand in the way of you taking imperfect steps today to make things happen.
Your entire agenda for today? Make it work. And every day after that? Make it better.
Article by Adrienne Scott is a mom, wife and co-founder of Swift Galleries (a sales and design tool for shoot-and-burned-out photographers). She lives in Colorado Springs, CO with her husband, two kids, one dog and 7 chickens.