How to Sell Anything {With Purpose}

by Katelyn Block on January 1, 2013 · 32 comments

Hi friends! I have an interesting topic for you today.

How to sell anything. Products, services, yourself and your own brand. Your grandma’s homemade cookies.

I bring up this topic today, because my little sister is running her own photography business. She takes senior portraits, so her main audience comprises of juniors and seniors in high school. She’s talented, and I have told her time and time again that she undersells herself, but the fact is that her main audience doesn’t have a lot of money. Unless they beg their parents for it.


That’s her on the right. Can you tell we’re related?

Tonight she came to me, asking what kind of slogan would be good to add to her cover photo.

First, she wondered whether she should add something about her prices being very reasonable. I said no.

Second, she suggested that she say something like: “Looking to get some portraits taken? Look no further…” I said DEFINITELY not.

Why did I say no to the first? Prices don’t sell. You can make your prices as low or as high as you want, but that won’t make someone decide to employ your services unless they have something to connect to. It won’t be the spark that compels someone to absolutely-omg-I-have-to-buy-that.

And to the second? Because that’s begging to be rejected. That’s like saying, “Hi, please don’t hire me, ever.”

Now, I direct you to a TED Talk called How Great Leaders Inspire Action with Simon Sinek, talented speaker and author of best-seller Start With Why.

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Work with people who believe what you believe. And what her audience will respond to is why she loves taking portraits.

My suggestion to her, was something like this: “Portraits capture life. Capture joy. Take that spark and run with it.”

Simple. Direct. Inspirational. Makes you want to get your pictures taken because dang, that’s exciting.

Am I right?

People respond to why. Not how cheap you made your services. Not how fast you can make x, y, or z. But why you do it. What makes you tick. What you believe in.

And what she believes in, is capturing joy.

Instead of advertising your prices or your business, advertise why. Advertise your values. Your beliefs. Your love, joy, and excitement, and your audience will come to you.

Lead with purpose, and make it yours. xo

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah @Pickyrunner January 1, 2013 at 9:56 PM

This is all really great advice! Advertising yourself and your passion is definitely the best way to attract people. It sets you apart from everyone else :)


Katelyn Block January 2, 2013 at 9:25 AM

Thank you, and amen!!


Katie January 2, 2013 at 12:01 AM

Perfect. Well said, my dear.


Katelyn Block January 2, 2013 at 9:27 AM

Thank you. xo!


Miz January 2, 2013 at 7:16 AM

it is all about YOU POSSESSING THE PASSION about what you are selling and do.



Katelyn Block January 2, 2013 at 9:27 AM

AY. MEN. And you, lady, know this better than anyone else! xo


Danielle @ Clean Food Creative Fitness January 2, 2013 at 8:33 AM

Love this Katelyn! I’m so excited to see more business related posts from you. I think I have a lot to learn and can’t wait to soak it all up. By the way your sister looks like your little mini me! I totally thought it was you until I read it was her!


Katelyn Block January 2, 2013 at 9:29 AM

Thank you!! I’m so glad. And haha — that’s so funny! We often get asked if we’re twins, or if she’s the older sister. She has over 4 inches on me!


Kierston January 2, 2013 at 9:10 AM

You got that right!


Katelyn Block January 2, 2013 at 9:29 AM
julie January 2, 2013 at 11:31 AM

oh i LOVE ted talks! i’ve been so into podcasts lately! especially if i go for early AM walks!


Katelyn Block January 2, 2013 at 2:44 PM

Which podcasts are your favorite? I’d love to start listening to more!


Kaila January 2, 2013 at 12:27 PM

Great advice, thanks for sharing! And good luck to your little sister with her business!


Katelyn Block January 2, 2013 at 2:36 PM

Thank you!! I will pass along and I am sure she is reading these comments excitedly :)


Coral January 2, 2013 at 1:14 PM

as a current marketing major, i loved the ted video! i took my first official marketing class last semester and one thing that truly resonated with me was “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole”. it basically means that the package can say all of the benefits that the product has to offer, but ultimately people buy the RESULTS/SATISFACTION that the product has


Katelyn Block January 2, 2013 at 2:35 PM

That is so true!! I love that metaphor! It’s all about the results and how it makes your life better. Because ultimately, what do we all want? To be happier. To live more fulfilled lives. And as long as marketing and advertisements can target that sweet spot – make that promise of undying fulfillment – then anyone can sell like crazy.


Christine @ Love, Life, Surf January 2, 2013 at 7:54 PM

This is a great post and so true! It’s the story and the why behind it all. When you believe in it, your customers do too. And you sister totally looks like you!


Katelyn Block January 4, 2013 at 5:38 PM

Thank you!! And I know, doesn’t she?! We get the “are you twins?” question all the time!


Purely Twins January 2, 2013 at 8:26 PM

your sister is very talented! and what great advice. Make people see themselves in the pictures :)


Katelyn Block January 4, 2013 at 5:31 PM

I like that!! Great tactic. I’ll pass it on to her ;) xo


Mariel January 2, 2013 at 10:45 PM

Such great advice! I work in marketing and have watched this video several times; love that I just stumbled over from twitter & found you and your blog! Excited for more. Best of luck to your sister and her business!


Katelyn Block January 4, 2013 at 5:38 PM

My FAVORITE video. Doesn’t it just make you want to make things happen?! I’m so glad you found me! Thank you. I will pass it along to her! xo


Crystal January 2, 2013 at 11:35 PM

You make a great point! Thanks for the words of wisdom and right as I’m about to start my 2013 summer marketing!


Katelyn Block January 4, 2013 at 5:44 PM

You’re very welcome!!


Denise | Chez Danisse January 3, 2013 at 11:58 AM

Well said.


Katelyn Block January 4, 2013 at 9:05 PM

Thanks. ;)


Lea @ Greens and Coffee Beans January 3, 2013 at 1:34 PM

Great advice! I took a marketing class last year with a professor who actually worked in the industry for 30+ years and he gave a lot of the same advice. Consumers are so much more likely to purchase a product they feel an emotional connection with, especially for something as personal as senior photos, than a price point.


Katelyn Block January 6, 2013 at 8:54 PM

Thank you!! That’s awesome. Professors with real-world experience are truly the best.


Stellina @ My Yogurt Addiction January 3, 2013 at 2:08 PM

Great post Katelyn! This is so true in so many aspects. Love what you do nd why you do it. Passion shows! :)


Katelyn Block January 6, 2013 at 8:55 PM

Thank you!! It sure does!


Allie @ Supermodel Swag January 25, 2013 at 9:15 PM

You could teach people on how to run a business– such a great post :) Do you have your own business?


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