The Importance of Showing Clients What You Want to Sell

There’s a saying in the photography and video industries: “Show ’em what you want to sell ’em.” I can think of no better example of how this is illustrated than the toothpaste industry.

The next time you see a photo or commercial of toothpaste on a toothbrush, make a note to look at how much toothpaste is used. You will always see the brush covered from end to end. In fact, I remember as a kid seeing commercials where the toothpaste isn’t just end to end, but they would loop it at the ends so that it kind of made a side-ways “S” curve. Since that’s what I saw all the time, that’s how I would put toothpaste on my toothbrush.

Then about 11 years ago I was working as a business marketing manager at Quicken. A lot of the managers there came from Proctor & Gamble, makers of just about everything that’s sold in a grocery store. One of these managers told us an interesting little story. The toothpaste manufacturers do that on purpose so that you’ll use way more toothpaste than you actually need. The truth is, you really only need to cover the brush as little as 1/4 of the way across and you’ll still have plenty of toothpaste lather to clean your teeth. (Some people would argue that you don’t even need toothpaste at all, but that’s fodder for a different blog altogether).

So what does that mean? Chances are that on every brushing, you are using 3-4 times more toothpaste than you need. That means the toothpaste industry is selling 3-4 times more toothpaste than they would if everyone only used the tiny dollop that’s actually needed. And we know what that means…

Mo’ money! Mo’ money! Mo’ money!

What are you showing your prospects and clients in your online portfolio? What examples of your work do you have laid out in your place of business? If you want to sell $2,000 wall portraits, don’t have a bunch of 8×10’s all over the place. If you want to sell videos with motion graphics, have a lot of motion graphics work online. Review your portfolio, the review DVDs you send and everything you have in your studio and make sure you are only showing your prospects the kind of work and the size of packages you want to sell. If you take on a smaller job or any other type of job that isn’t what you’re normally excited about doing, don’t post it in your portfolio. In fact, don’t put it online at all (unless it’s password protected for your client’s review). Just remember the toothpaste “S-curve.”

6 thoughts on “The Importance of Showing Clients What You Want to Sell

  1. Awesome post…you took me back to my childhood and taught me a valuable
    I’m quite portable and meet most clients at coffee shops. But you’ve inspired me to pursue promoting my portraits as art with the cafes I frequently hold my meetings.

    1. That’s a great way to get your work out there. See if you can get your portraits hung up in those cafes. Then just point and say, “See that portrait? Yeah, I did that.”

    1. No joke Joseph! That stuff adds up quick. Ever since that day he told us that story, I’ve been using 1/4 to at MOST 1/2 of the toothbrush filled with toothpaste, and so far, all the pearly whites still are. 🙂

  2. Awesome post! I’m about to order some sample albums and canvases. I’m gonna try and max them out now to show the largest album instead of the smallest. You know, to hopefully persuade folks to drop… Mo $, Mo$, MO$$! 🙂

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