My friend is preparing to take one of the biggest steps of his life. He’s about to place an order for new kitchen cabinets.

Might not seem like a rite of passage. But when you consider how seldom the average homeowner plunks down $4,000 on something that doesn’t include automatic transmission, choosing new kitchen cabinets is something most people only do once.

So when someone decides to it’s time to make that investment, how can a custom woodworker capture his business?

I say the key to scoring a custom kitchen job is to hire the best photographer you can afford.

You might think having the cheapest prices will win you a client. But customers shop with their hearts, not with their wallets, especially when it comes to kitchens.

After all, before they even pick up the phone to call you, many homeowners have already mentally prepared themselves for sticker shock. They’ve already swallowed the fact that it will cost them more to build the kitchen than they’ll spend on food to cook in the kitchen in well over a decade.

So when a customer contacts you, what they really want is to be inspired.

The first step is having excellent photography on your Web site. Having an enticing showroom is great, but many consumers will never walk into your showroom without first looking through the photos on your Web site.

Your site should be overflowing with an endless stream of beauty shots of your cabinets in room settings – a gentle assurance to your customers that these cabinets really will look good in real life, and an assurance that you’ve done this before.

The second step is making sure your photos are just as prominently displayed in all of your brochures. For a decision like this, consumers need to contemplate their options at home, and the more beautiful the photos, the more you make it impossible for them to live with the crappy kitchen they already have.

On the downside, too many photos can make people freeze.

For several months, my friend’s been earmarking his cabinet brochure, agonizing over which wood will look best. A reddish cherry? A warm oak? A nutty pine? And then there’s the choice of the door style: simple “Sedona” or country “Tuscan”? It’s enough to make anybody’s head spin.

But ultimately, a great photo is worth a thousand words – and when the customer finally falls in love with the perfect kitchen cabinets, it’ll also be worth several thousand dollars for you.

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