As I have mentioned in the past, I am a member of the Digital Wedding Forum. Today I came across a post on the forum that included a reference to a guy named Elmer Wheeler along with a video of him. I didn’t know who he was…they didn’t teach us about this guy in business school but the video drew me in so I had to find out more about Elmer. Apparently he was a “pioneer of persuasion” who was around in 30’s and 40’s…right after the Great Depression.
Elmer Wheeler was known for his “selling statements” used by major brands. His words helped increase sales (during an economically difficult period in time) for many super companies including Texaco, Coca-Cola, Hoover Vacuum, Sears Roebuck, Macy’s and Barbosal. He wrote a book called Tested Sentences That Sell, which was first published in 1937. You can read the book online here.
As a business owner, naturally you must sell. Even as a photography business owner, you need to sell yourself and sell your product in order to stay in business, support your family, pay your rent or mortgage, and finance your next vacation to Aruba. If you are in business, selling is part of your survival. Selling happens from the first moment a client looks at your website (actually selling happens before the potential client even looks at your website). “Selling” is happening when you don’t even realize it is happening. I hear many creatives say that they don’t want to be a sales person, but the truth is that if you want to be successful you have to sell.
Watch this short video and you’ll realize that historically, while technology has changed, the basics of selling and marketing have not… At the core, you still need to sell the the sizzle and not the steak.
Wheeler lays out five points that you can apply to your photography marketing:
1. Don’t sell the steak, sell the sizzle.
2. Don’t write, telegraph.
3. Say it with flowers.
4. Don’t ask if, ask which.
5. Watch your bark.