I’m feeling a little crispy and fried from the constant barrage of news and uncertainty and guessing that’s been my feed for the past six months. Too much unproductive anxiety, too little actual life.
I’m guessing some of you might be, too.
I was originally going to talk about my product launch today, but instead, I’m going to share the most important bit of sales advice I know.
I’ve been reading a lot about universes lately.
The blue universe. The red universe. One side. The other. And how the two don’t meet. And maybe they don’t. Maybe they do. More likely, sometimes they don’t and sometimes they do. But as business owners and humans, really, the notion of two universes misses the mark.
It doesn’t go far enough.
There aren’t just two universes. There’s a universe for every single person out there. Some of these universes are very similar to yours. Some are very different. No shock there.
Whatever the case, every single person has their own reasons for doing things.
For wanting things.
For going one way or another.
What you have to understand in all of this is that each of us is our own, unique, incomprehensible shit show. But what a glorious shit show it is.
And the most fundamental sign of respect you can give your client is not to assume you know what they want, and you know who they are. It’s to learn about them.
All the time, people ask me how do you build value?
Because in this industry in these times, it sure as hell feels like it’s all about the money.
And, yet, at the same time, instead of entering the clients universe to really understand them like nobody’s business, photographers try to “convince” the buyer that they’re the right choice and smash them over the head with their full powers of persuasion. That they’re a better fit or a better deal or a better photographer or just plain nicer. Pick them.
And if you’ve ever felt like sales feels a little like begging, that’s why. When you spend your time trying make someone to come around to you, that’s exactly how begging feels.
What rarely happens is that people learn about their clients, beyond a few surface-y stereotypes.
But how do you want to be treated?
Do you want people to try to understand you?
Do you want to buy from someone who makes learning about you their mission? Or do you want to buy from someone who tries to “sell” you? Or who thinks they know you after a few minutes of chit chat?
Value starts with respect.
It starts with a universe.
It’s not about hope. It’s not about praying that you’ll get the business and things will work out the way you want, and that you’ll get what you need.
It’s about being fully immersed in what’s in front of you.
If business is a choice between hope and action, start with action.
Entering your client’s universe is that action that starts a domino effect of great-stuff-happening.
When you make it your mission to learn about them and every need they have, your relationship changes. People live and breath. They worry. They hope. They have quirks and surprises. What are those quirks and worries?
One person will worry about satisfying their parents. Another rebels against them.
One person wants to see their own expressions. Another will want to see their guests.
One person will love atmosphere. Another will love expression.
And even with any given stereotype, whether it’s the upscale luxury types or the cool kids, these distinctions will exist.
Shatter the stereotypes. Don’t just tell people what you do. Find out what they really need. Find out what they didn’t even know they needed. Find out who they are.
It’s how you sell without selling.
It’s how you take care of your clients.
It’s how you build emotion and get them excited.
It’s how you stand out and make them see that you bring more to the table than just snapping the shots.
It’s how you build crazy amounts of trust.
It’s this common ground that matters. When you find it, the world changes. You’re not a vendor and a customer. You’re not a price tag and the client isn’t a bag of cash. You’re two people.
Take action. Respect the universes and the universe gives back to you.