show it to sell it

show it to sell it

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We’ve all heard this tired nugget: “If you want to sell it, you gotta show it!” In my experience, it’s 100 percent accurate.

How can we expect clients to shell out hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a product that doesn’t exist and can’t be seen yet? It seems like common sense, but many professional photographers still just post images online, don’t have samples to show, or, worse yet, just hand over a CD of images. And they often wonder why they are struggling.

You have to show it to sell it. That’s Sales 101.

I can still remember when the lightbulb went off for me. We were early in our business and still trying to figure things out. In the beginning, we would post everything online. Seemed easy. Take the pictures, post them online, and the sales will start rolling in. Nothing could be further from the truth. We did this the first year, and nearly went out of business. The average engagement sale was about $125. The average post-wedding sale was nonexistent.

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. CheriAnn

    Although you don’t sign in with an app, I see why Michele would think that. Your page says “log in…” and then lists all the app options immediately after. Perhaps if it read “log in at the top of the page…” that would eliminate confusion.
    Thanks for your good info, Sal. I appreciate it!!!

    1. admin

      🙂 yeah thats a tough one… you have to create an account before you can sign in with a username and password… hopefully she has the info she needs now. and you are welcome!! 🙂

  2. Michele

    Why is it necessary to sign in with an app? I’m happy to register with my email but not with Facebook, Twitter or any other social media. Websites already have too much access to people’s information.

    1. admin

      hey michele – not sure what you are referring to. there is no need to sign in with an app. in fact, thats not even possible. sal

  3. Kate Caudillo

    Salvatore: I agree with you completely… with one caveat. Your comments are clearly aimed at the portrait and wedding photographer. For those folks… putting images online is a BAD idea. As you mentioned, putting images online without any concept of what they will look like finished… and for hundreds or even thousands of dollars… that is INSANITY. However, I feel that I must point out that there are exceptions to every rule. It is best that we not make blanket statements to photographers in general about sales. Your target photographer will clearly benefit from your comments. However, there are photographers who photograph things that do actually benefit from the online model. The portrait side of our business will never sell online… for the reasons you mentioned above. However, we have an event side to our business. We photograph things like Santa Photos, Easter Bunny, Proms and Graduations. For graduations especially, your comments do not apply. These folks are not coming to purchase a large package. They are coming to buy a simple 5×7 or 8×10. They already know what that looks like, and they are not spending hundreds or thousands of dollars to get that image. When we photograph a graduation, we will always sell more when we sell onsite that night. But… for some graduations… especially really large ones… it makes perfect sense to upload the photos to an online gallery for parents to purchase. Selling onsite at that event would be nuts, as the lines would be excessive, and the customers would get frustrated. We only need to send one photographer to the event, and the amount of equipment required is far less than if we took our entire printing station to produce them right there. On these type of events, the money does start to roll in, because there are hundred of folks coming to view the photographs online… not just one. And it brings a ton of traffic to your web site.
    You are completely correct in your assessment for real portrait and wedding work, but let’s remember that there are other benefits to online galleries, and sometimes it the PERFECT solution.

    1. admin

      Kate you are spot on… i am speaking from the perspective of a portrait photographer. 🙂 You make very valid points… the key to think of is… if it aint broke dont fix it… but if its not working… find another wall to run into. thanks for the perspective. sal

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