I think my initial disdain for sales comes from my own discomfort around being sold to and feeling like it's the duty of a sales person to get anyone with money to buy regardless of want or need. Mix that with my anxiety around saying, “no” without feeling guilt and I’m sitting in a bucket of sweat before I make it through a department store.
I’m not sure where this started but somewhere along my journey I found myself feeling guilt if I needed to say “no”. This really manifested itself in high school and early adulthood. Picture this, I’d be strolling through Nordstrom careful to stay on the path winding through the departments in hopes that no one would talk to me. Yes, this is ridiculous, but when you haven’t figured out how to confidently and politely say “no thank you” any other option feels better.
I eventually realized that the employees were just doing their job, serving, and to let someone walk through their space without asking if they need anything would be a disservice. Some salespeople might not care if you need or want what they have to offer and will try to sell regardless of interest but generally, that has not been my experience. Most interactions have been ones of truly wanting to help. In a world where there are about five billion versions of any given service or product a little help is welcome.
Now, fast forward a decade to selling my services, man it’s hard to sell something as subjective as art, especially photography. Conversations when people find out I am a photographer usually go something like this, “oh, you do photography, would you take some photos for me?” Mind you, these extraordinary humans have not yet seen my work and are already confident they want me. I should be thrilled and instead I am already overthinking this through a lens of worry.
It is an honor to be asked to capture a person’s life, and a tremendous responsibility (I do not take lightly) to be commissioned to do this. Within seconds my self-doubt kicks in, what if they hate my style, what if they think I’m too expensive, what if, what if.... Before I know it, I’m shooting myself in the foot and talking people out of hiring me because I’m so nervous (insert eye roll here).
Here’s the thing though, (warning: humble brag) I am a damn good photographer, and I care more than anything about providing my clients with pictures that literally evoke emotion and that they will cherish forever.
So while I hate sales, mostly because I kinda suck at it (right now), I am going to keep selling and improving because the way I see the world is the only version on the market and to shy away because I feel anxious or awkward does not outweigh the importance of the pictures I create for people.
Until next time!