The American Society of Media Photographers provides this forum to encourage the development of critical skills and to foster new ideas. Our goal is an informed and savvy professional photography community.
[by Blake Discher]
There have been two times in recent memory I found it impossible to get either a return phone call or email from a prospective client that I knew would be a good match for me. I tried the usual progressively-clever voice mail messages with no success. I tried smooth-talking the person’s assistant for access. Nothing worked.
What I needed was something to get my prospect’s attention without resorting to a singing-gorilla-gram! Throughout the years I’ve heard some of the tactics used by other photographers. Here are two common ones:
Deliver lunch: Not sure about this, what if he or she is vegetarian and I send a Reuben? Worse, what if she has a lunch date already and your lunch ‘investment’ ends up in the break room for whomever wants it?
Deliver breakfast bagels: What if he’s trimming his waistline with a no-carb diet. Nice touch, you’re the person that keeps him from his weight-loss goals.
No, what I settled on was to deliver an orchid to this particular client’s office. Orchids are great; they’re elegant, they’re understated, and best of all, they’re generally uncommon in an office setting.
It worked! She called, said, “OK, you’ve got my attention, let’s talk.” She ended up being a great client for the next four years!
Blake J. Discher is a people photographer and SEO consultant in Detroit, Michigan. He writes a sales and web marketing blog, www.groozi.com.
By Blake Discher |
Posted: May 24th, 2013 |
[by Barry Schwartz]
Everyone wants to develop contacts with potential clients; to get in the door.
The thing about getting in the door is it’s best to ignore the door.
And forget about using your elevator speech in an elevator.
One of the better strategies for getting in contact with a client is simple: be in the same place they are: conferences, networking events, trade shows, parties. Blogs, comments on blogs, chat rooms, social media. It’s a long list.
While it is important to have an elevator speech ready-to-go, honestly, you’re not that likely to make a business connection in an elevator. (How often do you really see strangers even talking in elevators in the first place? It’s a litte weird. I mean, come on.)
The fact is: potential clients are always looking for new talent – and that includes potential clients who don’t even know they are looking for talent in the first place. (Even in an elevator.)
The door to the client, as it turns out, is not the door to their office. The door is making the opportunity to meet people and develop a connection, and that’s a door you bring with you wherever you are.
Barry Schwartz is a photographer, writer, and designer in Los Angeles who does have an elevator speech, and thinks it’s good practice to follow John Steinbeck’s advice and always try out your material on your dogs first.
By Barry Schwartz |
Posted: May 23rd, 2013 |
[by Selina Maitreya]
Years ago when I was a rep, a good month looked like 40 appointments. I had many “good months” and worked very hard to get every single appointment. Today 40 appointments is next to impossible for agents and not at all reasonable for photographers. Everything has changed but much is still the same. In order to get in the door you still need to:
- Know who your key potential clients are
- Create a reason for people to see you
- Develop a system that will enable you to stay in appointment flow
How do you facilitate these 3 key steps?
- Know who your key potential clients are: Create an effective outreach (email and direct mail ) database; make sure to include key buyers from 3-5 different industries.
- Create a reason for people to see you: While your visual product is what will interest clients, they can see your work on your website. Your printed or iPad portfolio unfortunately is not the front end sell when trying to get the appointment. But your interest in great service is your hook. Let your potential client know (in phone messages, email notes, etc) that you’d like to see them, as you know each client has a different idea of what VALUE looks like to them when they work with a photographer. You’re interested in knowing what that value looks like to them. This is NOT spin. This is integral.
- Develop a system that will enable you to stay in appointment flow:
- Create a smaller database one that has between 75-100 contacts you will visit
- Build front end visibility, send them 2 mailers before calling
- Choose a monthly goal, 4-8 visits (places not people)
- Use both the phone and email to reach contacts
While there are many ways to approach creating an appointment flow here is one:
- Pick 50 prospects, call each once on Monday afternoon and leave a message
- Leave another message on Friday to anyone who hasn’t called back (trust me, most won’t)
- The following Monday, send those same prospects an email
- Send another email on Friday to any prospects who still haven’t responded
- Repeat this two week cycle so you’ve contacted the same people twice per week for 4 weeks
- Drop anyone you haven’t heard from back to your regular contact cycle
- Start over with the next 50 contacts on your list
Getting appointments is one of the hardest parts of being a pro shooter. It gets hugely easier if you stay consistent with your efforts regardless of the initial results. Stay the course and reap the results.
Selina Maitreya was the first photography consultant in the U.S. Through her 1 on 1 consulting services, online teleseminars, books and lectures she continues to guide, inspire and teach photographers world wide how to build businesses that meet their creative goals while building a business that will thrive.
By Selina Maitreya |
Posted: May 22nd, 2013 |
[by Rosh Sillars]
One of the most underused tools in social media is the LinkedIn search box. If you want to know who the decision maker is at a company, type the company name in the search box. LinkedIn lists employees and titles that have a LinkedIn account. This information alone has opened many doors for me through the years.
One of the best ways to open doors is with the support of your friends. The people who know and trust you can offer a warm introduction. This beats a cold call any day. If you know the name of the person to whom you want to present your work, type his or her name in the LinkedIn search box. The results will not only share the accounts of the people you wish to reach, but also the names of the people you know who are connected to them. In my experience, it is much easier to call or email a friend rather than a stranger for a little support.
As with any powerful tool, this can be abused. Remember to avoid wearing out your welcome with friends and associates. If you use the LinkedIn search box effectively, you will open doors.
Rosh Sillars is a photographer, author and marketing consultant. Listen to his weekly podcast at http:www.roshsillars.com