Photo of me and Skyler at the studio (above) – Alex Diaz Mora
Marketing and business is an area where photographers struggle. So Here’s a little tip for getting yourself some referral business and sharing the love.
Keep it in Your Pants (Your business card, that is)
Yes, I have a card and I give it up if someone asks for one BUT, I rarely hand them out anymore. If you’ve read the marketing “tips” online you’ve probably seen some of the ones written by Captain obvious like: “Have a website with nice pictures” or “Hand out business cards to all your friends” or “Tell everyone you’re a photographer so they will know!” Yikes.
Sure, spreading the word about what you do is great, but what would you think of someone who handed you a stack of business cards as if they were on fire and told you what they do in the first ten minutes of meeting them? Do this and you’re probably lining someone’s bird cage with your fancy matte finish photo printed photographer cards from MOO.
The best way to earn yourself some more referral business is to focus on GIVING more referrals. Resist the temptation to tell people what you do. When you meet someone new, make a genuine effort instead to find out what they do and who would be a good prospect for their company. Get their info and make an honest effort to send them some new business. Don’t give them your card unless they ask. Don’t even tell them what you do unless they ask (they usually do). This simple and more selfless technique absolutely works wonders. And best of all, its completely free and makes you feel warm and fuzzy.
Make sure the person you’re recommending has the skills and reliability to do a great job. You don’t have to know everything about them, but make an effort to research the person a bit before endorsing their work. Try to stick to referring people whom you know in person or have met once or twice.
Finally, turn down any work that doesn’t suit you. If someone asks you to photograph a baby and you are not a baby photographer, the best course of action is to turn down the work and refer someone who is. The client ends up happier because they got a more experienced baby photographer and the next time the baby photographer finds himself on the end of a phone call that suits you better, they are more likely to refer you in confidence.
Next time you meet a good prospect, keep the cards in your pants and do your best to send them some business! You will make a friend and referral buddy for life instead of beautiful and luxurious bird cage flooring.
More marketing tips to come!