What to be Successful? Become a Shameless Self-Promoter!

Being a Shameless Self-Promoter really isn’t shameless at all, but looking for every way possible to add sales, spread the word and generally push your business forward by every means at your disposable.  I am not suggesting you become like the insurance salesman that talks with everyone at funeral about buying his life insurance, “after all you never know when this can happen to you!”  I am talking about being a professional and being smart, not handing out business cards to people that don’t ask for them and bothering people with information about your business.

Let me give you some examples so you see what I mean by “self-promotion”.  A client comes to your studio to pick up their final portrait order, is there a reorder form in with the portraits to make it easy to re-order more portraits with a credit card over the phone?  Is there an advertisement offering a discount on a different time of photography?  It is much cheaper to convert a current client into a repeat client than a prospect that hasn’t ever done business with you company into a client.  With that idea in mind do you send out birthday cards to your clients offering them something for their birthday? Do you ask your current clients about themselves, looking for those who are in professions that could benefit your photography business or need commercial photography taken?

Many clients don’t make the connection between you as a baby/family photographer and other types of photography they might need.  Twice in my career I have been the family’s chosen photographer and when the dads of the families ran for political office they had another photographer, suggested by their campaign manager, take their photos.  When I saw these guys afterward they explained that they didn’t even think I did that kind of photography.

In your business, are their Monitors in your waiting room showing videos of you working with clients to excite people that drop by or come in with a client?  If you have large window on a busy street, do you have a large screen in the window pointed toward the street (which is very noticeable in the evenings)? A city billboard would cost you $1000 a month on a average, your window space is free to run an endless loop of commercials.  If you have a phone system do you record upcoming events, sales and order deadlines for the “on hold recording”?  Do you have scan-able gift cards for the holidays or other special events so should a client think of giving your photography as a present they may still do so,  even if they are too late to order portraits?  Do you not only have these cards but advertise that you have them?

Do you have handouts about your photography in your studio/office for those who drop by or come in with a client?  Do you have handouts and photos at vendors you work with?  Back in the day when I did wedding I received most of wedding business from other wedding professionals that I had worked with in the past, provided them with photos of their cake, catering, banquet facility, DJ Service or Church and that turn into relationships that brought in a great deal of business.

Self-promotion is about using every opportunity to make another sale or get another client, it’s not about networking.  Networking as it is used in today’s world is like being a homely guy looking for woman at a bar that only men go to.  Networking makes me feel the way I feel on when I log into twitter, there are 10 million people all trying to sell you something or get you to come to their website.  Networking has taken the passive, relaxed process of meeting new people and allowing them to discover what you do to an aggressive level of thinking.   “I am going to this party tonight and I have to give out at least 20 business cards!”  You turn into the guy that no one wants coming to the party.  Networking events turns out to be 300 broke salespeople and professionals trying to sell their services to the other 299 broke salespeople and professionals.

Professional Self-Promotion, if done properly, makes you look like the studio/photographer that everyone wants to come to, not a photo-groupie that shows up to every personal gathering with a camera around your neck to announce to the world you are a photographer!  No one wants what is too easy to get, but every wants what is wanted by everyone.  No one wants to be told, but don’t mind being gently reminded!

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~ by jeffsmithbooks on May 18, 2010.

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