Sales today is more challenging than ever before. Every market is crowded and prospects have more options than ever. How can you stand out in a sea of sales messages? One way is with a photograph..

A photo stands out among fields of text, creates familiarity and puts a human face on a company. And people certainly remember faces much better than names. Two examples illustrate how you can use a photograph to increase your sales.

Linda Zenker, a real estate agent in Northern Virginia, has 3” x 5” memo pads printed up with her picture on them. Putting the photo on the pads costs nothing extra because it’s in the same ink color as her name and contact information. She then gives the memo pads to clients, prospects and people she meets at networking events. (Everybody needs memo pads.) As a result, her name, phone number and face are in front of her clients and prospects virtually every day. As a bonus, they will often write notes on the sheets and give them to other people, meaning her note pads are doing double duty, generating more sales leads.

Cary Tanrath, a mortgage loan officer in Denver, Colorado, who caters to military veterans, uses his photograph to drum up sales in a different way. He includes it in advertisements he runs in the local paper. At first, he used a photo of himself in a business suit. The ads got no response. But when he replaced that photo with a shot of himself in his dress uniform, the phone began to ring off the hook and his sales climbed dramatically. The picture communicates his association with veterans far more effectively than any words can.

What kinds of photos can you use? Almost any. Consider photos of:

  • You
  • Your family
  • Your pet
  • Your partners
  • Your entire staff
  • Your Employee of the Month
  • One or more of your customers
  • Your store or building
  • Your product
  • The results of your service (especially a “before” and “after” shot)

To get the most from a photograph, first you need an excellent photographer. You can use the Yellow Pages and the web, of course, but to find a really great photographer, you need to do some extra research. Check with your local chamber of commerce or leads group. Ask around to get referrals to someone who specializes in business portraits. (This is a sales effort, not a wedding.) Then before you decide, look at some of their work.

Next, dress appropriately. Talk with your photographer or an image consultant ahead of time to determine which clothes will best compliment you on film. Ideally, you should bring four or five changes of clothes and let the photographer help you pick which outfits to wear.

Finally, put that photo where people will see it. Besides note pads and advertisements, here are 29 other places you can put your photograph:

  • Business cards
  • Letterhead
  • Envelopes
  • Postcards
  • Fliers
  • Posters
  • Your web site
  • Brochures
  • Mugs
  • Mouse pads
  • Greeting cards
  • Newsletters
  • Magazine articles
  • Your office or store walls (especially good for group pictures)
  • Booklets
  • Catalogs
  • Proposals
  • T-shirts
  • Bookmarks
  • Calendars
  • Pre-paid calling cards
  • Banners
  • Tote bags
  • Press releases
  • Stickers
  • CD or DVD covers
  • Coupons
  • Magnets
  • Product packaging

What’s that you say? You photograph horribly? Yeah, yeah, that’s what everyone says. Get over it. Besides, a talented photographer will make you look, if not like a model, certainly a lot better than you fear you will.

And one final note: Update your picture regularly!! Unless you have a plastic surgeon on speed dial or you’re popping botox for breakfast, you should have your photo retaken every three or four years so it actually looks like you. Always be proud of who you are and what you stand for. That kind of integrity and self-confidence encourages people to want to do business with you—one more way a photo helps you boost your sales.

Learn more about Don Cooper.