Sports photographers, have you evaluated your sales methods recently? As technology changes, so should the way you run your business. The opportunities for you to sell your photos are ever changing, and it’s a great idea to look at new ideas to increase your sales both at and after an event. If you’re taking photos of sporting events, teams, competitions, etc where you might nt have individual contact with your potential clients, these tips are for you.

Set up an online photo gallery for your photos and print out the URL for the photo gallery to hand out at the event or photo shoot. If there is an event program or directory, get this URL listed. Participants and parents will take this paraphenalia home with them, and often look through it later, this is a great opportunity for post-show sales. This requires prior planning, so make sure to look ahead at your schedule to have this in place!

Upload your photos to a proofing service during the event. If you are lucky enough to shoot at a location where there is a good internet connection available, upload the photos to the service right there at the event. Make sure the event attendees know about your proofing site, and watch them browse your photos almost in real time from their smartphones or iPads. There is no better time to capture your potential buyers than when they are in the moment, thinking about the event. You might have sales rolling in while you’re still shooting. This probably requires an assistant to man a laptop and upload, while you continue shooting. Make sure that you’re equipped with multiple memory cards for easy hand offs.

Follow up with email. Many events will have a list of participants or attendees available. Some may require you to purchase this list, but the expense may be well worth reaching out to the people that otherwise might not know that you or your photos exist. Send a short email with a clickable link to your online photo gallery as soon as possible after the event, while it is still fresh in their minds (and before they’re off to the next one).

Accept orders on site. If you can, set up a table or booth with a laptop computer (or several) and show clients your photos on-site. This works great if you’re able to upload them to your proofing service, so that even if the client is not ready to make a purchase on site, they can later access photos they’ve marked as their favorites or earmarked for purchase from their home computer (make sure that your online photo proofing service has a means to store the client’s favorites or purchase items from one device to another, as ShootProof.com does). If you can close the deal on site, make sure that you’re equipped to process payments, either through your proofing service, or physical credit card reader (Square is a good telephone line-free option).

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For photographers who rely on sales through online photo proofing – whether you’re a destination photographer, want to reach beyond your closest client, or just prefer online photo sales – making the online photo sale is key. You have to give your clients a reason to connect with your images, remind them they are are there, and help push the sale. This doesn’t mean being pushy, it just means being present, straightforward, and assertive.

1. Set a short window for photo viewing and purchasing. Give your clients ample time to check out their photos and make a decision, but not so long that they get busy and push it off. Creating a sense of urgency helps make the sale happen. Does this mean making a bride spend her honeymoon rushing to place photo orders? Of course not. Create a window of time that’s right for your clients, be it a week, a month, or more. Let them know clearly that their photos are available for this timeframe, and not afterwards. Most online photo proofing galleries provide the ability to “expire” a gallery. Some photographers even include an extra fee to reinstate a photo gallery – if you do this, make sure your clients are aware of this fee up front. Remind your clients when the expiration date is close – you can set an email for a future date “last chance to view your photos online” – give them a day or two notice so they have time to place the order.

2. Create a time-limited promotion. Create a deal that is only good for a limited time; “order by Friday for 10 free gift prints”. Make sure to place a clear expiration date on your promotion and stick to it. If a client orders late, politely tell them “sorry, that was a limited time offer”. Don’t be  pushover if you’ve clearly stated the conditions of your promotions.

3. Make your prices simple and clear. Many photographers create confusing multi-faceted discount systems, packages, and conditional sales. Choose one method of creating a sale, and one alone. Feel free to experiment with different sales for different clients and see how they affect your sales, but stick to one at a time so you don’t confuse – and ulimately lose – your client. Stay away from packages that leave a client purchasing items they don’t really want. Some great sale suggestions:

  • Tier based discounts, such as orders over $200 get 10% off, over $400 get 20% off.
  • Buy something, get something discounts – buy two 8×10’s, get one free (great if you show an example of a triptych wall display).
  • Order by a certain date for upgrades in paper quality.
  • A straight up sale of an item you’d like to encourage – $10 off all canvases
Ultimately, your client will be happiest if they have great images, and soon enough that they feel connected with the event or photography session. These simple selling tips can help encourage a timely purchase and give your clients the products that they want.

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