When you approach other businesses..

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by malenurse, Jan 1, 2010.

  1. malenurse

    malenurse TPF Noob!

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    Could really use some help here...

    How do you approach or contact other businesses about leaving your cards/displays? I guess I need a sort of walkthrough to your approach - do you call? just go in? do you dress in slacks/dress shirt/tie? Do you bring a port with you just to leave cards? What do you say to get the conversation going? lol I know it probably sounds stupid but I don't want to sound like an idiot is all...
     
  2. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    In retail photography, which is what you do, word of mouth from satisfied clients is the most effective advertising.

    There is another online forum with many more retail photographers and a more active and pertinent business section than there is here. Forums - Mpix.com Community

    Check out the local community college and look specifically at what they offer in the way of business management and marketing classes, or begin a self study program of your own. Amazon.com is a good source for business management and business marketing training books if you opt for the self study option.

    95% of new photography businesses fail because the owner lacked business skills.

    You can get free, expert business advice from www.SCORE.org SCORE stands for the Service Corporation Of Retired Executives.

    Another free business resource is www.sba.gov the federal Small Business Administration.
     
  3. HikinMike

    HikinMike No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hey Keith! It didn't recognize your username here, until I clicked on your blog. :mrgreen:
     
  4. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    I couldn't use the same handle both places.

    The online photography world isn't all that big, is it!

    Welcome to TPF, it'll be nice having you around here on TPF too!
     
  5. HikinMike

    HikinMike No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yeah, small world! :)
     
  6. eclecticguy

    eclecticguy TPF Noob!

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    I agree with the comment that word of mouth is best, BUT, word of mouth works very well in conjunction with advertising. We all have many acquaintances, neighbors etc. that we compare notes with on various services. However, if you're like most people, you don't have most of these acquaintances' phone numbers handy.

    So when a potential client hears from an acquaintance (that they see once-in-a-blue-moon) that you provided them excellent service it might stick in the back of their mind. When they continually see an ad (or card) from the same provider (you) that too will stick in the back of their mind. These two things come together when a need arises, they know your good, and they know where to find your number. I was a contractor for 20 years btw.

    Regarding how to ask, just go in, give a very brief description of what you do, and just ask. Chances are they have been asked this before and have adopted a standard policy on placing or not placing business cards so there shouldn't be to many awkward silences.

    Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2010
  7. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    At the least you have to somehow make it worth it to the other business. At a minimum you have to offer an exchange.

    "Hi, I'm KmH the owner of Astral Spatial Photography and I'd like to do a business card exchange with you.

    I'll display a holder of your business cards at my business if you'll do the same for me here."

    I'll provide you a matted and framed wall print to decorate your waiting area/sales register area/display area/etc., if you'll allow me to place one of my business cards behind the glass."

    Do you have a place of business? Or do you only do location shooting?

    And then you go by each of those businesses a couple times a week to make sure the business card holder is filled and to get more of theirs, or make sure they haven't taken down the $90 matted and framed print you left with them.

    So, what businesses do you approach? A car repair shop? How about Restaurant? A doctors office?

    You approach business that have tie in to yours.

    Your best pricing is for Intimate images. Approach stores that sell high end lingerie.

    For weddings: approach florist, caterers, DJ's Videographers, etc.

    For family portraits: daycare centers, restaurants, etc.

    None of that is advertising. It's marketing. And it's not very effective marketing at that.

    For a single person, local photography business, there is no known retail photography business advertise mechanism that works, except direct mail to former clients.
     
  8. seacritter

    seacritter TPF Noob!

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    I'm not really good at marketing myself either... SO... this is my very different approach...

    I try to find as many public places to sell my work as possible. I don't sell alot of my prints, but I get an amazing amount of inquiries about my services... I make far more money off of the services than I do off of selling prints...
     
  9. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'll second all of the above, although I have had some luck with direct mailing to a target market with an impending need (seniors, to be specific).

    -Pete
     
  10. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Good point Pete, and you're right, that is another viable way to use direct mail.
     
  11. STOFFEL

    STOFFEL TPF Noob!

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    Think about what's in it for them? If they can make a profit that will be great. If you are just leaving brochures most small businesses are o.k. with that- it just depends. Here are some tips.
    1. When you call on them, make sure you are dressed as a professional.
    2. Get the name of the owner or the decision maker.
    3. Ask for the decision maker and set an appointment (they might want to meet with you on the spot).
    4. Make sure your brochures are crisp- no bends.
    5. Introduce yourself, thank them for meeting with you, ask If you can get 15 minutes of their time. Talk about your brochures and products and what you want them to do with them.
    I hope this helps!
     

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