Words Tell.
Stories Sell. 
Business Photography Conquers All.

By Josh Foo,

UPDATED:  September 10, 2019

Cafe2U Coffee Van

These photos are beautifully captured by one of my handpicked photographers for purpose of selling the business.  The professional photographer and myself were on site where he was the creative director and I act as the choreographer to direct for the types of photos that would entice buyers.  

For this post, I need you to do something for me.   

Search Gumtree.com.au or SeekBusiness.com.au for businesses for sale, and take a look at their photos.

Then tell me how many photos are taken from a smart phone.  

You would not believe how many people use amateurish photos and then expect to attract buyers.  It is no surprise that very few buyers are interested.

I will always work with a professional photographer where I choreograph the photo-shoot on premise to produce the type of photos that will persuade buyers to take the next steps.

Professional photography for selling a business is a different art to creating photos for product & services.  For instance, when we take photos of a restaurant for sale, we want to re-create a sense of pride to owning the restaurant in the photos, not pictures of noodles and salad.

If you want to seriously sell your business, professional photos are a must, and not negotiable, at least with my clients. 

The Words-Story-Photos Test

It is only human to respond to attractive photos. It is in our DNA and psychology.  Don't take my word for it.  Let's put Words, Stories and Photos to the test.  

Words:  I have a busy cafe-restaurant, packed with people every night with queues to the street.  

Story:  When I saw the number on my mobile, cold sweat rolled gently down my back.  It was my Sous Chef calling.  3 hours from dinner service at my restaurant and I can't afford to give him a sickie on Mother's Day.  We are absolutely booked out with no margin for error.   Even without Mother's Day, our queue is almost as long as the road to Rome.  

At this point, how persuaded are you?  

And you see this photo: 

Photos say a million words. Source: Unsplash.com

Now you are utterly persuaded.  The photo sells itself.  

Photos activate the psychology triggers in our brain and we judge everything visually.

To prove this, I only have to put you in a different context.  Imagine if you are deciding on a nice hotel, would you be more likely to book a hotel on a professional photo that looked like this:

Photo: Unsplash.com

Or look like this:

This is literally a no-brainer.   The first photo wins hands down. Your brain gravitates subconsciously to the aesthetically prettier photo and rejects the bad photo.   This is despite the fact that this is one of the most expensive hotels in Sydney. 

You are far more likely to book the hotel on the professional-looking photo.  Photos are critical for the hotel business because most guests cannot visit the hotel before booking.  

The psychological trigger (of good photos) is true of everything in life:  car sales, whitegoods sales, online dating, political campaigns, tourism promotion, restaurant menu and especially in the sale of business

(In the last election, did you vote for the local candidate that looked trust-worthy in the photo?)

In the early stages of sifting through suitable businesses, most buyers will not waste their time + effort to travel and see the business in person if they are uninterested. If the photos are unconvincing in anyway, then the business won't make the short-list and have no chance of selling.

Photos Build Comfort & Trust

Photos entice buyers to take action.   Without buyers taking the first step, your business has no chance of selling.

More importantly, photos build trust.  It humanises people - the owner, the employees, the customers.   Buyers will only purchase the business if they trust the seller.  Without trust, no amount of paperwork will sell the business.  

Most buyers will do their due-diligence and review the business on its own merits. This is an absolute given. However, if your photos don't entice buyers to take action in the early phases, then your business won't be in the consideration at all.

Photos build trust. A coffee van business for sale (Ref FQ1129). Photo: Copyright 2019.

Great Photos Will Save You Big Bucks

There is no point to spending (err.. burning) money on marketing and advertising to attract buyers when your photos don't do what it is supposed to do. Bad photos sink the ad from the start - it's yelling to buyers not to take it further.  

I see it all the time on Gumtree.  Paid ads shouting 'urgent', bold & highlighted on the top of the search results but their photos failed them miserably.  And these sellers wondered why there hasn't been many responses after paying for ads.

Professional business photography may set you back $1-2K but it is very well worth the investment.  

Fortunately for you, bad photos are everywhere.   So a couple of professional photos will set you apart from the pack.   Often, the cost of professional photos are far less than expected because I am able to 10x the effect with the choreography.  

The Supporting Cast You Need 

Great photos are the supporting cast you must have to sell a business. 

Professional business photography is the baseline denominator for all subsequent support materials such as E-mails, Information Memorandum, Ads, Videos, Slideshows, Print Material, Facebook & Instagram Posts and more.

Without professional photos, all the integrative support material will appear lack-lustre and unpersuasive.   It is like using contaminated water to cook - all dishes thereafter will be poisoned. 

If your marketing effort does not persuade or influence the buyer, then the sales funnel is jammed - this simply means that buyers who finds out about your business will not take action.  

Photos That Tell A Story

Photos need to more than just beautiful.  To be effective, they need to tell a story.

For my own listings and clients, I will personally choreograph the  business photographer to produce the right photos and create the ideal narrative to sell the business.

I will hand-pick my photographers for the job and integrate their photography skills with my own expertise on story-telling.

By using attractive photos, I strive to craft a story on the people behind the business that buyers can relate to and be persuaded to take the next steps:

Unless we are able to re-wire our primal visual brain, great photos will always be the bait that persuades the buyers to take the next step.    But be warned:  bad photos have the opposite effect where buyers will form their own (incorrect) judgement about your business regardless of what you write.

* For more information or password access to photos, please contact us

Josh Foo contributed to this article

Disclaimer:  The information in this article is not advice in anyway.  The content is provided as an educational resource and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind.  The author, founder and contributors assume no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material, including any omissions or inaccuracies.  Copyright 2019.

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