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01/22/2009 04:42:41 PM · #1
I know some of you out there have the gift, but it's something that escapes me utterly.

What are the tricks? How do you go about it? Is it something you can learn, or is it an inherent talent? Bit of both?

Whenever I try, I either come across as a self-indulgent whiner, or an arrogant narcissist. I hate that, so I generally don't even try.

I want to know the secret!

(Why am I suddenly singing, "I want to be like you" from The Jungle Book in my head?)

Message edited by author 2009-01-22 16:44:05.
01/22/2009 04:55:42 PM · #2
In what context are you trying to sell yourself? Is it fair to assume a business capacity?
01/22/2009 04:58:08 PM · #3
The best advice I ever heard someone give a young salesman had everything to do with believing in his product. If he was selling something everyone knew it. Instead, he wanted people selling his product that believed in it so much that their passion for the product shown through. They didn't oversell or ignore defaults they just simply believed they had the best product.

For the purposes of this thread I will assume that you are selling your images (or photographic talent) to a potential client. I will use your top 5 and only your top 5 as the basis for my statements. Your top 5 are amazing examples of taking things that many people have seen before, but you make them vibrant. You give a different perspective that you don't have to sell, you just have to believe in. You don't have to be Ansel Adams to have technical skill. You clearly have technical skill, and your perspective is one that produces images that draw the eye. I think in here and so many other places folks assume that just because they are learning they shouldn't have the confidence to sell themselves as a photographer capable of excellent images.

The difference between a pro photographer and an amateur is just finding someone willing to pay you. YES, I agree that pro should be reserved for making over half of your income blah blah blah, but if you are on a shoot that someone paid you for THEY see you as the professional. The first college graduation I shot I was nervous, but I banged out the images I needed to get and the company made some good money off of the gig. Did I feel like a professional, NO, but 300 set of parents behind me sure thought I was.

Sorry long reply, but really Selling yourself is like this -------> //www.youtube.com/watch?v=Af1OxkFOK18
01/22/2009 04:59:03 PM · #4
Write about yourself from the third person- it sounds like somebody else is saying how great you are. And get testimonials to put on your website.

Instead of saying "I'm a great X and specialize in Y" you could say "(name) is a well established professional X with a special talent for Y."

~April
01/22/2009 05:00:39 PM · #5
Originally posted by Ivo:

In what context are you trying to sell yourself? Is it fair to assume a business capacity?


Yes, business/professional at the crux.
01/22/2009 05:12:25 PM · #6
It was an interesting comment where you stated "Whenever I try, I either come across as a self-indulgent whiner, or an arrogant narcissist. I hate that, so I generally don't even try." Lets look at that. First, If I'm to hire someone or acquire something, I'd hope it has some of those attributes you are trying to avoid. If its not DAMN good, why would I want it? For the past many years, I was a financial advisor. Need I say more? The success of a good advisor is to portray all of the self inflating qualities in a manner that instills confidence in clients. They hired me because they needed someone who could do what they could not or want not. I was an extension of a skill they wished they had so .....they hired me to be that skill.

That said, what can you do that they cannot do or want to hire someone to do? Someone like you? Embrace those skills and when presented, focus on how others can employ your skill set so they can benefit from these traits. Face it, if you're good, your good. If your not good, no amount of selling will make you so.

I've always liked "Green Eggs and Ham" for that simple reason. very good lesson in that simple story. Maybe you just need to tell yours a bit different. Is there a secret? No. Just do it over and over until you believe it. Once that happens, others will believe it as well. Sounds ridiculously corny but it sure works. Hope that helps.

Message edited by author 2009-01-22 17:16:07.
01/22/2009 05:12:26 PM · #7
I know nothing about how to sell yourself as a photographer.

But, I know how to sell yourself as a writer.

Identify your abilities, your interests and your motive.

Find your niche, your favoured subject, be it landscape, wildlife or studio portraits. You may be a sports fan, a music buff or a candid photographer. Do what suits you. If you are interested in the subject, you will find a way of becoming an 'expert'. You wouldn't hire a wildlife photog to do a wedding!!

If you have a passion, you will succeed. If you just want to find the highest payer, then give up now. Do what you know and love best, knowledge and experience will give you a target and a path to follow, it may take time, but you will get there.
01/22/2009 05:15:43 PM · #8
I use the Fake a Call app on my iPhone--I can make it look like I am getting a phone call from God :-)
01/22/2009 05:18:30 PM · #9
Thank you for the replies so far!

Ivo... shoot, I didn't even think about it that way, and it kind of raises ethical dilemmas doesn't it? I hate myself if I have to be someone I'm not in order to be someone I want to be.

I feel like I'm in a movie.
01/22/2009 05:31:34 PM · #10
The other important thing to do once you realize your strengths is to figure out who your customers are likely to be and what they are looking for that you have. Like Ivo said, you fill in the gap for your customer.

Once you know what that gap is, make up some advertisements and get out there!
01/22/2009 05:33:05 PM · #11
Originally posted by K10DGuy:

How do you "Sell" yourself?


Mostly street corners. (And for the record I can't believe Slippy hasn't posted this reply).

Seriously though. I honestly have no idea, but people tell me I do it very well. My current boss (well, former boss since he just retired) told me that he wasn't going to hire me and was only interviewing me because of a mutual friend, but I did such a good job of selling myself at the interview he had to give me a chance. He then added, "Luckily you didn't disappoint me so I didn't have to turn around in nintey days and fire your ass."

But I can't tell you how I sold myself.
01/22/2009 05:35:13 PM · #12
Originally posted by K10DGuy:

Thank you for the replies so far!

Ivo... shoot, I didn't even think about it that way, and it kind of raises ethical dilemmas doesn't it? I hate myself if I have to be someone I'm not in order to be someone I want to be.

I feel like I'm in a movie.


Ethical dilemmas? Well, I chose to no longer be an advisor for reasons we are ALL experiencing but never the less, the principal remains. Unfortunately, the idea of hating yourself for being someone you do not want to be is the very reason many people change careers or lifestyles. On the other hand, getting paid to sincerely be who you want to be is a rare opportunity in this day and age. I guess we need to fulfill someone else's ambition until we elevate ourselves to a place where we are capable of solely pursuing our own without negative consequence.

I really would rather sit on the beach and take purdy pictures of sea foam but I have not yet learned how to present that in a marketable way. In the meantime, I'll have to do something like take pictures of bridal parties and attend weddings (yawn)to earn till I learn how to sell my "Sea Foam" vision.

The challenge now I guess is???? How do I get them to wnat to cover their walls in "Ivo's sea foam pictures??? ;-) I hope you get the meat behind my nonsensical story.

Its not the steak that sells, its the sizzle. That my friend is the magic bullet.
01/22/2009 05:37:35 PM · #13
Originally posted by Ivo:

Originally posted by K10DGuy:

Thank you for the replies so far!

Ivo... shoot, I didn't even think about it that way, and it kind of raises ethical dilemmas doesn't it? I hate myself if I have to be someone I'm not in order to be someone I want to be.

I feel like I'm in a movie.


Ethical dilemmas? Well, I chose to no longer be an advisor for reasons we are ALL experiencing but never the less, the principal remains. Unfortunately, the idea of hating yourself for being someone you do not want to be is the very reason many people change careers or lifestyles. On the other hand, getting paid to sincerely be who you want to be is a rare opportunity in this day and age. I guess we need to fulfill someone else's ambition until we elevate ourselves to a place where we are capable of solely pursuing our own without negative consequence.

I really would rather sit on the beach and take purdy pictures of sea foam but I have not yet learned how to present that in a marketable way. In the meantime, I'll have to do something like take pictures of bridal parties and attend weddings (yawn)to earn till I learn how to sell my "Sea Foam" vision.

The challenge now I guess is???? How do I get them to wnat to cover their walls in "Ivo's sea foam pictures??? ;-) I hope you get the meat behind my nonsensical story.

Its not the steak that sells, its the sizzle. That my friend is the magic bullet.


I see where you're coming from. It's much akin to my aversion to going back to school as well, where one has to suck it up and do what the professors want for 4 (or more) years to learn what one needs in order to go down their own path after that.

I have a very difficult time with that. I guess it's something I'll eventually have to learn to swallow eh?
01/22/2009 05:41:34 PM · #14
confidence helps a lot - you need to have it in your self, your ability to do the job you're selling. it comes across in your voice, body language, attitude, etc. If you don't have confidence in yourself you can't possibly expect someone else to!

Then it's mostly techniques you can learn, just like exposures or lighting. Get books sales, closing sales, etc. Read them, try out the techniques. You may not feel comfortable with all of them, and not all work with all people.

There is advertising, marketing and sales. all have a similar purpose, all are different. Sales is the face to face thing - if the other two parts have done their job well you've got the right customer in front of you at the time they're ready to spend the money. Sometimes you bring in $1000 clients when what you're selling costs $5000. All the salemanship in the world can't get blood from a turnip.
01/22/2009 05:43:14 PM · #15
Originally posted by K10DGuy:

I hate myself if I have to be someone I'm not in order to be someone I want to be.

Well, if who you want to be is not who you are now, then you have to become someone else. :D

I think the trick is making sure that whoever you eventually become is still someone that you like and respect.


01/22/2009 05:53:26 PM · #16
I don't see it as an ethical dilemma (presuming one is not falsifying information), but more of a comfort zone thing: most of us don't brag about our greatness all the time, and tend to get embarrassed if someone else starts telling us how great we are (I am forced to imagine that one.... ;-)

This is a step out of normal-mode comfort-zone operation in order to assure your "customer" that they have chosen well, need not worry, etc. I don't want my doctor, pilot, accountant, mechanic, etc. to say "yea, I can muddle thru this and we'll get there, it will turn out okay in the end". I want them to exude familiarity with the task, confidence, willingness to work hard to learn new things, etc.

You have strengths, and you have a right to represent them in a non-gloating but confident way, that inspires confidence in those who would hire you.
01/22/2009 05:57:06 PM · #17
I'm one of those cliche fools who thrives on those silly stories, or one liners, we come across so often. I hold them dear and they have always served me well. For example;

Anthony Robbins states a few gems, "A ship is safest in its harbor, but is that really what it was built for"? Another one I've tried to embody is, "If you want better, then BE better".

I had a business partner once who's favorite line was, "Give me a bucket of coffee and a pack of smokes and I'll figure it out". The message in that statement pushed me to do many things that in retrospect, I never could have done.

Oh damn, now I'm rambling but stuff like this just gets me all fired up. That's a good thing ...... in my world.

01/22/2009 05:57:24 PM · #18
Originally posted by chromeydome:

I don't see it as an ethical dilemma (presuming one is not falsifying information), but more of a comfort zone thing: most of us don't brag about our greatness all the time, and tend to get embarrassed if someone else starts telling us how great we are (I am forced to imagine that one.... ;-)

This is a step out of normal-mode comfort-zone operation in order to assure your "customer" that they have chosen well, need not worry, etc. I don't want my doctor, pilot, accountant, mechanic, etc. to say "yea, I can muddle thru this and we'll get there, it will turn out okay in the end". I want them to exude familiarity with the task, confidence, willingness to work hard to learn new things, etc.

You have strengths, and you have a right to represent them in a non-gloating but confident way, that inspires confidence in those who would hire you.


I guess maybe that's where my main problem lies then? Confidence is a major contention with me, and even when I begin to build it, for some reason it turns into 'gloating' very quickly. Kind of like a Jekyll/Hyde syndrome. Maybe, what I'm learning here, is that I have some issues that I need to work on before I can work on the issue I've presented.

Oops?
01/22/2009 06:02:05 PM · #19
I walk the streets between 3rd and 5th, wearing fishnet stockings, tight shorts and a light blue silk shirt, half opened while holding a sign that says "Photographer for hire".
01/22/2009 06:18:02 PM · #20
Originally posted by K10DGuy:

Originally posted by chromeydome:

I don't see it as an ethical dilemma (presuming one is not falsifying information), but more of a comfort zone thing: most of us don't brag about our greatness all the time, and tend to get embarrassed if someone else starts telling us how great we are (I am forced to imagine that one.... ;-)

This is a step out of normal-mode comfort-zone operation in order to assure your "customer" that they have chosen well, need not worry, etc. I don't want my doctor, pilot, accountant, mechanic, etc. to say "yea, I can muddle thru this and we'll get there, it will turn out okay in the end". I want them to exude familiarity with the task, confidence, willingness to work hard to learn new things, etc.

You have strengths, and you have a right to represent them in a non-gloating but confident way, that inspires confidence in those who would hire you.


I guess maybe that's where my main problem lies then? Confidence is a major contention with me, and even when I begin to build it, for some reason it turns into 'gloating' very quickly. Kind of like a Jekyll/Hyde syndrome. Maybe, what I'm learning here, is that I have some issues that I need to work on before I can work on the issue I've presented.

Oops?


So, I am a private pilot, and occasionally take folks with me. I do very specific things to put them at ease: I take them thru the preflight with me, explaining what I am doing and why, and that I never find a problem, but I do it every time anyway. I smile a lot more than usual, mention how great a day for flying it is, how I never get tired of doing this, even though I have done it a lot of times. I tell them about the weather we should expect (good or we wouldn't be going) and that if it should change or even appear to be changing, I will alter our plans appropriately. I explain that after engine start, it will get pretty noisy, and there will be times when I have to ask them not to talk on the intercom, as I will need to pay attention to the ATC, etc. etc. All of these are things I would normally DO when flying anyway, but I explain them out loud to (a) help them understand what is happening and (b) make sure they know that even if they don't understand, that I sure as heck do. I don't say I am a Damn Fine Pilot, So Just Get Over It and Trust Me. I say flying is actually not nearly as hard as you might think--the hardest part is scheduling this rental plane!

Saying "I enjoy challenges and love digging into things to solve problems" is very different than "I can solve any problem you can throw at me". The first is a fact about yourself, the second is Cocky Know It All s--t.
01/22/2009 08:38:03 PM · #21
Originally posted by K10DGuy:


I hate myself if I have to be someone I'm not in order to be someone I want to be.

I feel like I'm in a movie.


If you feel like you're pretending to be someone you're not, then that means you must have a sense of who you are, at least to yourself. If you know that, you know more than most people & it was hard-won knowledge. My thoughts on this are that self-knowledge, who you are, is all anyone ever really owns in this life. Never compromise. Never surrender. Never give up. The consequences must fall where they may.

[eta]
Oh, yeah, & never sell yourself.
On the other hand, it isn't wise to go throwing the acid truth about who you really are into people's faces, either. It upsets people.

On the other other hand, selling is not so much about you as it is about your customer. If you find out who your customer really is, you can present an opportunity that just can't be refused. Selling happens when your customer has their eyes on the prize & doesn't even see you.

Message edited by author 2009-01-22 20:58:56.
01/23/2009 05:15:29 AM · #22
Prof_Fate got it right. The first thing you need is confidence. In yourself and your ability. You are a salesman and you are selling YOURSELF, who knows your product better? You need to be excited about what you are selling (you). If you aren't excited about your product (you) then no one else will be. Eye contact is very important. Be articulate and honest. PRACTICE for interviews and your parents can be good interviewers as they have the experience, usually.
01/23/2009 05:37:08 AM · #23
Originally posted by K10DGuy:

How do you "Sell" yourself?


I network. I work with people involved in the industry. I do the best I can and I let my reputation spread by word of mouth. And I advertise directly to clients.
01/23/2009 05:58:49 AM · #24
I stand on a street corner in tightie whities
01/23/2009 09:34:13 AM · #25
I do not sell myself, I give myself... bloody fool I am.
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