The very misunderstood and underutilised technique is that of using photographs.
Let me give you an example of how this works in one profession:
One of the most successful car salesmen in Sydney has the same kind of a little office that all car salesmen have. (You know that cubicle where you walk in and they have the metal chair and the two crappy chairs there from some garage sale on the other side, and the desk is clean except for a calculator, a pad of paper and a photo of the guy’s wife and kids. You’ve all been in that room, haven’t you?)
Anyway, this one salesman was one of the top salesmen in Sydney and the country, and has a wall of photos. And, these photos all show people who have bought cars.
What the guy does is, when he delivers the cars to the people, he just doesn’t have them come in and pick them up at the dealership.
He drives the car over to their house, goes through the whole car with them, lets all the neighbours see him going through the car and showing off their brand new car. (By the way, he puts a little bottle of wine or some sort of a gift to congratulate them in the front seat of the car. Any ideas for you there?)
He proceeds to stand back and take photos of the customers with the car.
Then when he gets back to work, he puts these photos up on the wall. His wall is literally covered with photos.
Of course, when he started, he only had one. And then two, and now he’s got dozens and dozens and dozens of photos. In fact, a lot of the photos you see are done chronologically in order where you see the same individual buying a car lets say five years ago, and then two years later with his new car and two years later than that with the new car again.
As a prospect, you see continuity. You also see family members hooked up together with the photos in a row of a husband and wife, and maybe the teenage son, and so forth.
Is there a correlation between the fact that this car salesman uses the delivering of the car to their home photos all over his wall…and the fact that he is one of the top salesmen in the country? You bet there is!
See, when people come down and sit in his cubicle, they see that he’s got all these people that have bought cars from him. And when they see these happy smiling faces, it creates a psychological impression that this is the guy to be dealing with.
Now, how does this apply to you? Well, very simply, every time you’re involved in a transaction, you should copy what this guy does.
Make sure you get photos of your clients/customers/patients right after you finish transacting business with them. Try to get a photo of your finished product, service, place of business or whatever.
If the kids came along, get them in the photo too.
If you have a retail business, get photos of the most regular customers that come in. If you have a service business, get a photo with them right after the service is performed.
Then, when you finish taking all of these photos, you can hang them on the wall in your business, or put together a photo album book.
I absolutely guarantee that these photos on the walls or in a photo album will produce an increase in your business and get more referrals and recommendations in a way that you wouldn’t imagine.
It doesn’t sound like much, but I’m telling you that there’s a “safety in numbers” theory that people like to go and follow the crowd.
Nobody wants to be alone.
And nobody wants to be the only person doing business with you.
When they see all the happy, shiny, smiling faces of all the clients/customers/patients you’ve helped, there is absolutely nothing that’s going to replace that.
Using this technique can be just as important and just as good as the car salesman.
Believe me, I’m not comparing professions. That’s not my intent.
My intent is to compare the techniques that this car salesman uses and to have you follow the same type of advice for yourself. You’ll be amazed at how this simple little technique will increase your business over and over again.
Another type of photograph you can find yourself wanting to use is a photograph of…YOU!
I’ve trained people in all kinds of industries and professions. And I know, few industries or professions are more captivated with the idea of their photographs being on everything than these people!
Now, I swear I’m not being critical or sarcastic. I’m just stating a fact.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s letterhead, scratch pads, business cards, brochures, ads, calendars, seed packets, flyers, farming postcards, newsletters, ads, inserts, etc., etc…you name it, and somebody’s photo is probably on it.
Now, let’s analyse what’s going on here.
What’s the deal with photos?
Well, having been involved originally from outside this profession, looking in, I was amazed at this photo thing.
I’ll talk about instances where photos have been proven to help response in a second.
Before I do, I want to comment that this personal photograph mania is a lot like Mother’s or Father’s Day. These “holidays” were invented by a card company somewhere and eventually so many joined in that they became national institutions.
In some industry, I’m convinced that an advertising agency told businesses that they must have photos on everything. Then other companies copied the idea, saying the same thing. Then people saw their competitors putting colour photos on everything, and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do the same.
And after a few decades, pictures became institutionalised in certain business professions.
With that said, the obvious question that begs an answer is, “Do pictures make you more money???”
I want to know if pictures that cost money to shoot and reproduce in beautiful colour make anyone more money! (Other than the photographers and ad agencies. I mean, you!)
I’ll bet that you can’t necessarily answer that question in measurable terms. Do you really know if all that extra expense is making you any more cash?
Let me give you an excellent example of what I’m talking about. Ads. Again! Pictures of you on them. Please be objective and tell me how your picture on the ad makes the ad do its job better!
No one, and I mean no one, cares about whether a representative of your company is male, female, Black, White, Asian, cute, fat, skinny, well dressed, poorly dressed, old, young, or whatever.
No, all people care about is how much the service and products cost, what’s involved, where the business is located, what kind of financial shape it’s in, and all that money related information.
No one cares what the representative looks like. NO one. (Okay. Your family likes seeing you on your ads, but they probably aren’t going to do business with you, or not do business with you because of your picture either!) In fact, as I mentioned earlier, I think that your picture on an ad is a poor use of the limited space you have available! (Please, don’t get mad. It’s just reality.)
You have so little room on an ad to begin with; shouldn’t every square inch be filled up with copy that gets people to respond?
Call me simple, but on a marketing medium with limited space, your picture doesn’t do anything but waste space!
The same is true with business cards. If the only purpose of the card is to get someone to call or come in, how does your picture add to that task being completed?
Think about this carefully. When you have limited space, you need to be very choosy about how you use it.
Okay. So where do pictures help? Well, it’s been my experience that your photo on a report can lift response. In that medium, you have no limit on space, so you can stick your picture on without sacrificing copy that needs to be there.
And, a picture of the report’s author – you – may help the reader make a closer psychological connection with you. The reports are written so friendly and down to earth to begin with, the picture only reinforces you as a real person. Most professional communication is so boring that no one cares about getting a connection with the author. When you use this conversational style, people like to put a face with the voice.
The same is true when you write your own books or records. Any place where you have a chance to make an emotional connection, and you have the space, a picture certainly can’t hurt…and sometimes helps.
Another good place is in your place of business. Often people can get an emotional connection when they see the owner’s picture on the wall, especially if it’s matched with a special message that talks about how they are concerned with your complete satisfaction. It makes the business have a more personal appeal rather than just another nameless business.
You don’t have to go all out for these pictures. I mean you don’t have to go to the top photographer in the world and book an hour of studio time. You just need a simple face shot. Black and white is fine. You don’t have to have colour. I spend maybe $50 for the photos that I use. They’re just head shots. And they cost virtually nothing extra to reproduce in black and white.
Otherwise, I tend to stick with letting the copy drive the responses; and, I get very upset thinking about wasting valuable space on my own ego, instead of on increasing the size of my wallet.
Please don’t get upset, and please do think about this. It’s kind of a touchy issue, but you paid me to tell you the truth about marketing.
And, in the spirit of truth, I’m telling you that if response is your goal, your photo may be hurting you.
I am not in business for ego gratification. I am in business to help people and to make a lot of money helping them.
If people recognise me, fine. If they don’t, fine. As long as they pay me, I’m happy!
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