The Importance of Open Ended Questions: Photographer Selling Skills
One of the most used and least taught skills in life is listening. You go through school and you learn to read, and you learn to write. You even learn to speak other languages. But there isn’t a class taught specifically on how to listen. Often, in this age of technology and digital communication, we consider ourselves master communicators. But are we good listeners? The best way to gain a customer’s trust and to book more sessions is to be an expert listener. But, in order to be good listeners, we need to learn how to ask good questions. Questions that deepen the conversation and give you more information about your customers and their unique needs. The key to this level of communication is through open ended questions.
Photography Sales Secrets: Using Open Ended Questions
Open ended questions start with:
What makes a question open ended? Bottom line: you cannot answer an open ended question with yes or no. Moreover, an open ended question leaves room for your customer to tell you more about their wedding, their vision, and their photography needs.
Are you looking for documentary style images or posed?
How do you want the pictures to make you feel?
Notice how the second question breaks open a whole section of conversation? Try to avoid questions that force the customer to choose one thing or another. Open ended questions allow your customers to talk more on the subject and maybe give you details and information you wouldn’t think to ask!
Do you have a venue selected?
Where will you be saying “I do?”
By asking open-ended questions, the customer is encouraged to talk more about their session and their desires. By writing down their answers, you are arranging a shopping list for the needs that you need to fill. Ask about what attracted them to your style. Ask about why photography is important to them. Open ended questions allow you to gain more information about how you can provide amazing service.
The Magic Word, “Tell me.”
Here’s another great way to start an open-ended question, though technically, this approach is not a question. But it is a powerful tool to have your customers talk.
- Tell me about your theme.
- Tell me about your colors.
- Tell me about your photography goals.
- Tell me about what you like about my portfolio.
- Tell me about your perfect wedding album.
- Tell me about the feeling you have in mind.
- Tell me about your love story.
- Tell me about your family.
It is a proven fact: people LOVE to talk about themselves. By using “tell me” you can get vast amounts of information from your customer.
Tell me gets the customer to tell you their story. You will be amazed at the details they volunteer.
Build an Effective Questioning Technique
When you already know questions that work for you and flow naturally in your customer consultation, your delivery sounds more like an attitude of curiosity and less like a game of twenty questions. Have questions that you feel comfortable asking, ones that make sense for your specific signature style of photography.
Create a list of some powerful open ended questions to get you started. Write down questions that resonate with you, and then listen to the answers your customers provide. Respond to those answers. This can help to generate conversation that stays centered on your customers’ answers. It’s amazing how much people open up when they feel heard.
Try to avoid waiting for your turn to talk. Listen intentionally with the intent to respond. Listen as if you will have to recite your customers’ words back to them. Take notes, keep a list, and really pay attention to the emotions behind the words. Listening builds trust. Trust books sessions.
Good luck with your consultation and happy selling.
For more Photography Sales Secrets, make sure to read “Why Sell is Not a Dirty Word.”