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(c) This week guest blogger David Coblitz begins his series on Networking for photographers on PhotoBizCoach.com

What if you could get clients who don’t even ask the price, or who pay you more than your bill says they owe?

What if other people went out of their way to learn enough about your business that they excitedly recommend you to your ideal clients?

In this series of articles I’ll show how I have made it happen, but more importantly, how you can make it happen. I’ll share with you how you can get clients who are not looking for “a photographer”, but are looking for YOU.

The method is business networking. It is the systematic development of business relationships between business owners who help each other mutually improve their results in a consistent, planned fashion.

Does it work? When I first started networking, it paid for itself in the first 4 months & within 6 months was 91% of my business.

Where do you start? It starts with education and finding places to meet the right people, then meeting them in the right way with the right frequency.

There are many organizations to help you develop your business networks. Among the largest is Business Networking International (BNI). They are an outstanding source of networking education. They provide the starting education and an instant network of people who “get it”. Why do I bring them up now? I do so to introduce their slogan, “GIVERS GAIN”. Not a new concept, but concise. If you’re looking to help others, which is fun & can lead to amazing results, then you’re on your way.

Networking is not selling. Let me say that again, since it’s critically important. Networking is NOT selling! Networking is the systematic development of the right relationships with the right people who YOU can help, and who in return might want to help you.

Here are some actual situations in which I have found myself through the consistent application of the Givers Gain principle:

A client had me do a head shot for her business. She never brought up price, so I did, since I don’t like surprises in either direction. Afterwards, I asked why she never had asked about price. She said, “I knew you do good work and will treat me fairly, so I wasn’t concerned about it.” Would you like customers like that? You can have them by following the methods I’ll show you.

Here’s a testimonial from my Linkedin page that surprised me when I first read it, but it shows results of this process.

“David combines photography and art in ways that are very innovative. He is a man of many talents. He is one of those individuals that you want to be associated with not only because is he a great person, but because you just know that great things will result!” March 1, 2012 (http://linkd.in/LinkedinProfileDBC)

My goal with these articles is to help you position yourself so people feel that way about you. I hope you enjoy the results. If you have any tips on networking please share them in the comment field.

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