It seems like the In-Person Sales model (IPS) is taking the photography world by storm. Catering to photography genres like portraits, weddings, and families, this sales tactic is a full-service photography experience where you guide the client all the way from planning the shoot to selecting what artwork and size will look best in their home.
Because I focus on corporate photography, I reached out to my friend, photography business coach and IPS Mastermind instructor Mark Rossetto to share his insights.
What is IPS?
A good restaurant experience is a perfect example of in-person sales. You walk in, are greeted by the host or hostess, who shows you to your table and introduces you to your server. The server explains the daily specials and/or recommends popular items, then asks if you have questions about the menu. It’s all very personal as opposed to ordering a pizza online. A fine dining experience is all about the personal service. With pizza delivery everything is left up to you.
The most common photographic business model (purchasing prints online or giving access to digital files) is less personal and more like ordering that pizza.
A photographer using in-person sales, before a family portrait session, you would meet your client to discuss the project, then recommend items to your client, having a menu of sorts whether in writing or as discussion points for them to choose from. You’d walk through each item they are interested in, and show them samples of the products. You might even be able to do a quick mockup of how the photo would look on a wall in their home.
Providing this personal service means that you have a better chance of making more money, as you’re educating your client along the way and making them think about products that they might not otherwise consider.
What’s the process?
The IPS process starts before you even pull out your camera. Recommending things like locations for a portrait photoshoot is something we’ve all done. Following the photoshoot though — that’s often when things change. You send them home with information on the pricing of products and mention things like canvas prints, canvas wraps, frames, portfolio boxes, albums and more.
Then, a week later, your client comes back to your studio to review the images you’ve completed. Then you start talking about products, showing samples and talking about the benefits of each. Having a range of products will help to give options to the client, but you don’t want to overwhelm them with options either. Having a list of products you offer will help them limit their choices to what’s really important to them.
“You really need to know your products, and have your systems and workflows ready to sell those products,” Mark says.
Ultimately, by being able to walk your client through the entire process and personalize it to them, you’re more likely to gain larger sales than you would following the traditional model.
Are there any downsides?
According to Mark, the only real downside is you have to spend much more time with the client versus what you would if you just sold them prints online or gave them the digital files. “There’s so much more upside if done properly — it’s a complete photography experience, where everything else is a bit of a shortcut,” he says.
You can easily go from a $500 sale to a $5000 sale if you approach your IPS session properly. As a photographer, you’re satisfied because you’re producing your artwork and you’re in complete control of it from start to finish.
While IPS requires work, it’s worth it in the long run. You can make some very large sales numbers just by offering more personalized service to your clientele. And that’ll do two things — one, it’ll get them the products they desire and two, it’ll make them come back for more the next time they need a session.
Need help and resources to get started? Check out the IPS Mastermind website at ipsmastermind.net.
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