I have spent entirely too much time, money and energy trying to master my craft in marketing. As a public affairs expert, I felt that I knew everything that I needed about marketing. Well, the truth is that PR is about building relationships and branding perception and marketing is … well about sales and branding desire.

So what does any red blooded American do when he wants to learn? He goes to the Internet. When he still isn’t satisfied, he starts at one end of the Barnes & Noble shelf and works his way from A to Z.

After many hours of reading, I can honestly say that every marketing guru has accomplished one task common throughout every book: they were able to milk very simple statements into hundreds of pages of “blah blah blah.”

So I am going to help everyone out. I have distilled 12 marketing books to the important message you need to walk away with. Once you read the outline of the book, I hope that you save your money and just skip the book. Or–for those who like a challenge– go out and read the book and see if you didn’t walk away with the exact same concept.

The one point that you will NEVER see a marketer or advertiser mention is the most important aspect of business and the only one that salesman can’t control: that good businesses are founded on good products.

Brand Simple
By Allen Adamson

1.    What is your business strategy?
2.    What does your brand stand for?
3.    Can you deliver on the promise of the brand idea?
4.    “Search All towns, you’ll see no statues of committees” D. Ogilvy
5.    Don’t be all things to all people
6.    People should listen with their guts not their ears
————-
Essentials
By Tom Peters

1.    Enthusiasm begets enthusiasm. Technicolor words beget
Technicolor responses.
2.    Meaning not marketing
3.    Who are we (25 words or less)
4.    Three ways we are unique
5.    Dramatic Difference
6.    Ask, identify yourself, keep your word, talk it up, shrink it
down, “Verb” it, rehearse your message, be people.
————-
Me, Inc.”
By Scott Ventrella

1.    QOL Index
a.    Relationship
b.    Health
c.    Spirit
d.    Emotion
e.    Intellectual stimulation
f.    Career achievement
g.    Finance
————-
All Marketers are Liars
By Seth Godin

1.    First impressions are rarely made on first contact.
2.    People make judgments in a moment and resist change.
————-
How to Get Your Point Across in 30 Seconds or Less
By Milo Frank

1.    Have a one sentence premise that addresses the need of the
client with “what, who and how.”
2.    Have a hook
3.    Ask for the close

————-

Cool Hunting
By P. Gloon

1.    Cool is defined as fun excellence.
2.    Cool provides for needs unrealized.
————-

Let them Eat Cake
By Pamela Danzinger

1.    Old luxury is about stuff
2.    New luxury is about experience
3.    Products must deliver passion
4.    Exclusive is luxurious.
————-

Instant Marketing for Almost Free
By Susan Benjiman

1.    By useful
2.    Be Smart
3.    Focus on the customer not the business
4.    Love at fifth sight.
————-
“QBQ!”
By John Miller

“No excuses—everything is your fault. Fix it!”
————-
“Flipping the Switch”
By Jo Miller

1.    Bad attitudes hurt business
2.    Take responsibility
3.    Positive thinking helps creativity
4.    Do for others what we don’t have to.
5.    By trustworthy.
————-
“Secrets of Great Rainmakers”
By Jeff Fox

1.    Rainmakers have no competitors. You can’t control the
market—just you inside of it.
2.    You can’t sell beer sitting at your desk. You have to get out there.
3.    Remove price from the vocabulary.
————-
“Goals”

By Brian Tracy

1.    Don’t blame others
2.    Responsibility, control, happiness are a relationship triangle
where each effects the other.
3.    Set deadlines and keep them
4.    Identify detractors and remove them.

“The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”
— Albert Einstein

If you think in the same old way, you will arrive at the same old conclusions and leave behind a wall-worn rut.The first step to sales is mindset. You must believe in your product and believe in yourself.

Remove negative thinking.

remove one-dimensional thinking.

Seek opportunities instead of identifying problems.

Be mindful of thinking traps.

Don’t be afraid of not knowing answers. Don’t be afraid to find them!

Break down all obstacles one brick at a time.

The first step in changing mindsets in sales is to first become a strategic thinker. What I mean by “strategic” is that you should be thinking about the long-term effects of your plans. It is much easier to get to someplace on a map if you know where it is on the map you want to be. Many photographers believe that success is measured only by income; however, income is the result of success, not the final destination.

A strategic plan may be to find twenty new wedding clients for the next year. It might also be building two new steady clients for your freelance work. Those goals are much more easily mapped out than “I need to make $50,000 next year.”

Sometimes, people feel that locking yourself towards a specific goal locks them out of opportunity. Nothing is written in stone. You can always change your goals. Nevertheless, there is a lot of freedom to committing to a goal. If you are focused on getting twenty new wedding clients, you have removed other options that may be detractions.

I also tell people to write their strategic plans down. Writing, even for yourself, is a contract that is concrete and tangible. It is a promise, to yourself if no one else. It is a focusing tool. Once you are focused on a destination, you can plan on how to get there.

The first rule of sales is that sales is about business and business is about people. Once you have your goal for your photo business, you now have to start dealing with people. The great thing is that people love to buy. Your job is to just convince them that your product is worth spending money on. You do that by developing relationships with — people.

The best way to develop any relationship is to have something to offer of value. For a photographer that should be your skill with a camera, but also your superior products, and customer service. But that isn’t always enough. Savvy photographer with sales experience can get business with inferior products, if they can convince the client that they don’t need better services. How do they do that?

Nearly every time, the photographer that wins the contract (barring jobs that are contracts because the photographer is their cousin) is the one that presents the best “win-win” scenario.

I have seen some photographers pull the “elite” card in a sale pitch, and demand that everything goes the photographer’s way. This is a “win-loose” negotiation, and unless you have clients banging down your door because you are famous, it will rarely work for most. The photographer leverages their status to call the shots, and psychologically some clients believe that they are fortunate to hire a photographer so “elite” that he deserves such reverence.

Low-end photographers have a less than ideal situation as well. They present “loose-win” situations where the photographer gives away their services and is essentially begging for work. Clients who hire this photographer feel like they are getting a real deal, but offer the photographer little respect; and almost always come away dissatisfied. How can you love images created by a photographer you don’t believe in, and who doesn’t believe in themself?

The “win-win” sales concept is the best. You are worth your money, and you are going to prove it to the client. Remember, the client wants to spend money. Your only job is to convince them it is best spent on you.

In any meeting with a clients, something is sold. Either you sell the client on buying your service, or you sold the client on walking away. In either case, you sold them. The best way on selling them on buying your services is to have a superior product and to anticipate all objections they may have for not hiring you.

1. Believe in your product.

2. Realize that objections to a purchase are never the reason for not buying.

3. Listen to the client and look for what their real concerns are.

4. Ask the client if your assessment of their concerns are accurate.

5. Provide solutions to their objections and remove them from the equation.

6. Sell to help. It is about benefits, not features.

7. Be sincere and always tell the truth.

8. When you ask a question, be quiet and listen.

9. Never down the competition.

10. Most important– Ask for the sale.

11. Regardless if you got the sale: follow up, follow up, follow up!

The last two are the real stumbling blocks for photographers. A salesman is not afraid to ask for a sale. If he believes in his product, and he has successfully removed all objections, then he should have confidence that the client WANTS to hire them. Some salesmen will play a fishing game and force the client “think about it.” That is a very tricky game, because they are essentially not finishing the meeting.

Imagine if you went on a date and then just walked away before the kiss goodnight? If you didn’t ask for it because you were afraid, do you think a date is inclined to agree to be asked out again? If you didn’t ask because you think it will make them realize that you are the perfect date– you better be darn sure your date was amazing.

The client expects you to ask them to close the deal. That is why you are talking. Don’t be afraid of rejection. A famous ballplayer once said, “If I swing a hundred times I may not get a home run, but if I don’t swing at all I certainly won’t.”

Whether you get the contract or not, always follow up. For new clients this is important, but for those who passed on your service, this is an important time to develop a positive business image. There may be clients they may refer down the line.

Most of all, sales it about being positive and strategic. Have a goal and get out there and sell yourself to get that goal.

“If you are given a bag of cement and a bucket of water, you can build either a stepping stone or a stumbling block.”