We’ve been asked a lot of selling related questions by our photographer members over the past few years. The perception we have is that a lot of you are eager to sell your photography services but that you believe you are less talented on the commercial end than on the photography end…which is not surprising at all considering you are photographers.

This FAQ is a result of the communication we’ve had with many of you. Our goal is to present some points that have come up in our discussions in a concise and organized fashion. Please note, however, that this FAQ is not a substitute for a good sales training course – something that we’d recommend to anybody serious about selling their services.

Who is this FAQ for?

The FAQ is intended for any 360 Cities member who would like to leverage his / her VR photography skills in order to generate (more) sales and make (more) money.

How can I make this FAQ better?

You can send your questions, suggestions and feedback on this FAQ to selling@360cities.net

What is meant by the term “sales process” and why is it relevant?

As any good salesman will tell you, there is more to selling than just making a sales pitch or presentation. There are multiple steps involved in selling, which are often referred to as the sales process or sales cycle. The sales process is made up of a number of parts and we address each of them individually. Please note that we refer to potential customers as “leads”:
1. Identifying leads
2. Approaching leads
3. Qualifying leads
4. Tracking leads
5. Closing the sale

How to identify leads?

It’s important to keep in mind that the success rate of converting leads to sales might be quite low, but that sales always result if you contact enough leads. In general, you will probably find that a relatively small percentage of identified leads will end up hiring you. Of course, this will depend on who you approach and how you approach them. In your case, the highest barrier to sales has nothing at all to do with the product. The 360 Cities member base consists of some of the most talented VR photographers on the planet and are acknowledged as such. 360 Cities would never have made it to the photos layer in Google Earth without the spectacular photography.

That being said, lots of leads will still not be convinced at first to invest in VR photography. The key here is not to be discouraged. Business clients have a lot of vendors approaching them regularly trying to get them to purchase various marketing related solutions. It’s necessary to have a “thick skin” and not take rejection personally. Here’s an interesting fact: good sales people thrive on rejection – they see each rejection as a step toward each new sale.

When working with leads, we strongly recommend that you keep track of leads in some type of system – even if it is only a spreadsheet. Better yet, familiarize yourself with a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool. There is a plethora of free online systems available. CRM systems are extremely useful in bringing discipline to the sales process.

Think of selling as a series of steps starting with identifying leads, following through on the leads to making (or “closing”) the sale, implementing the project, receiving payment and providing after sales support. Imagine a funnel that is big on the top (leads) and gradually narrows to a much smaller number on the bottom (sales). The idea is to move leads through the funnel – i.e., the stages of the sales cycle. Most of your leads will fall out along the way, but some will make it all the way to success and to even more sales.

One thing we can tell you from lots of experience: although bars and restaurants are obvious candidates for photography services, selling to them is tough. You will need to speak to lots of them – and take your computer with you so you can show examples. In the some cases, you may decide to tasty barter arrangements with them :)

Stay tuned for Part 2 – Coming next week.