For Cris and Deanna Duncan, personality is the key to sales session success
The success of portrait sales often depends on the personalities involved. For this reason, Cris Duncan, M.Photog.Cr, CPP, and Deanna Duncan, Cr.Photog., owners of CJ Duncan Photography in Lubbock, Texas, do their best to classify clients into one of four personality types. From there, they customize the experience—and particularly the sales process—to those personalities.
Directors are big-picture people who don’t like to deal with details. They’re businesslike, making decisions quickly and without a lot of extraneous chitchat. Directors are highly organized and want their experience to be well planned.
“During the sales presentation, I will show Directors two options and ask which one they prefer,” says Deanna. “They are typically decisive, and we can narrow things down very quickly using ProSelect software.”
Directors like to be right. If the Director makes a choice that Deanna feels isn’t the best option, she never confronts her directly. Instead, she asks, “Will you allow me to speak to what I love about this other image?” Then she moves on to another part of the presentation before circling back to the image in question. When allowed to reconsider the choice in a way that doesn’t feel like conceding he was wrong, the Director usually agrees with Deanna’s suggestion.
Relators like to feel comfortable. They don’t necessarily like to talk about themselves, but they do like to talk about the people they love. Relators often like to have lots of little portraits throughout their home.
During a sales presentation with a Relator, Deanna talks about the images in terms of how they make the Relator feel. “I ask Relators about the people they love,” says Deanna. “When they talk about the people in their lives, Relators relax. You can’t be too pushy with them or they will shut down.”
The life of the party, Socializers talk constantly and share openly. A sales session with a Socializer would go on for hours if you let it—but you can’t, because Socializers are indecisive, so after that multi-hour session, they still may not have made their final choices.
When conducting a sales presentation with a Socializer, Deanna presents specific choices. The fewer images you show a Socializer, the better, she says. “Socializers are often uncomfortable making a decision, so I invite them to bring a friend to the sales presentation. The friend’s input makes them more comfortable with their selections. Also, we will give them three days to change their mind after a purchase, which grants them some peace of mind.”
Thinkers like all the facts, and they like time to digest. During a sales session, they often bring the photographer’s product catalog or some other reference material and constantly refer back to the details in the catalog.
“Thinkers don’t like to make a decision during the first sales meeting,” says Deanna. “However, when they do make a decision, it’s usually a good one. In fact, some of our biggest sales have come from thinkers when they are given time to consider the purchase. So I set up a sample order and then say, ‘Okay, I know you need some time to think about this.’ We schedule a time for them to come back. They almost always go with my sample order and add to it. But if I try to close the deal during the first sales meeting, they will shut down, and the purchase will be very minimal.”