What to do when selling gets awkward. - Kristen Kalp

What to do when selling gets awkward.

Welcome to this thrilling episode of Objections and the People Who Use Them. In today’s drama, we’ll encounter a young father who’s trying to stop his wife from spending thousands of dollars on newborn baby portraits.

Tag along as we learn the three steps you’ll need to overcome any objection at sales time.

He’s just uttered, “I’m not spending $3,000 on pictures. There’s no way.”

Angry dude

Before we eye-roll at his obviously unenlightened sensibilities, let’s read his script notes. He is meant to be scared about paying other bills associated with the baby. He is not meant to talk about his fears to any other character. Likewise, he is not meant to have ever read anything about the value of photography, so asking him to pay $3,000 for art is like asking him to pay $3,000 for a new edition of Angry Birds. In his mind, there’s an app for both of them, and his 729 daily iPhone photos are MORE than adequate reminders of the baby’s first few months.

We’ll begin with education, which is our first line of defense against any price objection. We tell him why the product costs what it costs and the benefits it brings. Ideally this has happened before the sales meeting takes place, but clearly it hasn’t in this situation. Let’s rejoin our scene, already in motion.

“I completely understand that $3,000 is a significant investment. As outlined in the information I shared with your wife, you’re investing in art that lasts for a lifetime to commemorate this special event in your lives. I’ve invested in this artwork by planning the shoot, traveling to your home, spending hours with your wife and child, editing the images, retouching anything that wasn’t absolutely perfect about the images so they’re ready to grace your walls, preparing a slideshow for you to view, and returning to your home to share the finished product with you.”

“Nope. No effing way.”

“What do you feel would be a fair amount to invest in the images you’ve seen?”

“$800.”

“Okay, so we can eliminate x, y, and z from your order to get to that price point. We can also discuss payment plans if that would make the decision a bit easier. Susan, how do you feel about this?”

weeping woman

We pan left to see Susan weeping uncontrollably. It’s tempting to keep talking, but this is the point at which our protagonist has laid out the options available. She hasn’t given any discounts or caved in any way. She steps out with an excuse of some kind – going to the bathroom, grabbing a coffee, taking a call – and tells the couple she’ll return in about ten minutes. This gives the couple privacy. Maybe he tells her how scared he is about finances now that the baby is here. Maybe he doesn’t. All our protagonist can do is allow them to work it out without making her into the bad guy.

In this scene, no matter the outcome, the photographer has done three things right.

She has used education as her first defense against price objections. Quality, time investment, attention to detail, customer care, personal service, travel, and custom presentations go a long way toward showing a client why something costs as much as it does. When presented factually and without intention to start sparring verbally, this can be helpful.

She has listened to what the client is saying.
He says in no uncertain terms that he’s not paying $3,000 today. She hears him and asks him what he would like to spend. There’s no drama, no arguing in the hope that he’ll change his mind. Just hearing, acknowledging, and brainstorming an alternative.

She has presented a solution and then checked in with all decision makers about that alternative. Yes, it could mean she’ll be receiving $800 instead of $3,000. It also means she’ll be honoring her clients’ wishes, even if the whole scene is a bit awkward.

No matter what objection you’re encountering at a sales meeting, you’ll want to educate, listen, and offer an alternative.

If, for example, our token male had been complaining about the size of wall art, or the fact that his family won’t be living in this house forever, or how there is simply no wall space to hold canvas, you would take exactly the same steps we’ve just outlined.

Educate. Canvases come in all sizes and easily move from house to house. A gallery of smaller prints might be a great option.

Listen. Acknowledge what the client has said about lack of wall space, no matter the size options presented.

Offer a solution.
If wall art is simply not in the cards, it’s time to sell an album. This option stays off the client’s walls and allows the portrait session to be preserved in a gorgeous manner.

These three simple steps go a long way toward making you more money at sales time, no matter what you’re selling.

P.S.  Here are five reasons your last promotion fell flat.