It is not shocking to learn that many photographers do not like marketing and sales.
Photographers like to take photographs.
Many photographers feel that hiring a good representative will solve many of their problems. While a sales representative can be a big help, he also can create new problems. If you’ve found an established representative, you are lucky. Most of us will need to train our own.
I’ve hired and trained many representatives over the years. Based on my experience, the following criteria must be met before considering a sales person for my businesses:
1. They must have sales experience.
2. They must have some knowledge of my target market.
3. They must love to network.
Before you hire someone, ask yourself: Would I buy from this person? Would I trust this person with my business? Would this person represent me well in the marketplace?
Take note of how they handle the interview. Did they confirm the appointment? Are they prepared with good questions? Did they follow up by sending a thank you card?
Don’t worry about their photography experience; just make sure they are excited about your product and services. You can train them in the basics. Remember, you need a sales person not another photographer.
Here is the bad news: Just because you have a sales rep doesn’t mean you don’t have to be part of the marketing or sales process anymore. Many photographers make this mistake. Having a rep means you now have two sales people: your representative and you. The good news is when you are busy someone is still marketing and selling.
Make sure you have a plan for training your representative. Teach him about the sales process, your style, pricing, philosophies and workflow. Make sure you put these ideas in writing.
Based on my experience, representatives usually receive about 20 to 30 percent commission on the photography fee. If you find yourself, at any point, trying to figure out how to avoid paying commission, having a representative may not be right for you. If you feel sales people are costing you money rather than earning a deserved commission for a job well done, you have the wrong attitude.
If you want to have a good relationship with your representative, develop the mindset that you can help him earn more.
Remember, if a rep sells $100,000 worth of photography in a year for your business, he is only taking home about $25,000 – hardly a professional living if he only represents you.
Consider hiring a representative to work with you and other photographers specializing in different photographic disciplines. As a team, negotiate and develop a base salary or draw for the rep. A diverse group of photographers gives the rep a greater opportunity to sell more photography.
There are many possibilities. Few people will have the same passion for your work as you do. A sells representative will be helpful if you both have the right attitude.