Continuing on with the description of what a Photo Rep/Agent does (see original post in part 1) – after identifying the best clients to contact, we then do whatever we can to make the initial contact. We each have preferred methods, and buyers have methods they prefer as well. It may depend on how “cold” or “warm” the lead is, where they are located, etc. There are many ways these days to contact buyers of photography. With the advent of social media, we have even more outlets to connect with people all across the country.

I wanted to get the opinion of a well-liked and very credible photo agent, so I asked Quitze Nelson, owner of Q. ink Artist Management, a 17-year veteran managing incredible talent that works with the top agencies and brands in the country,  the following question:

What do you, as an established, successful rep, find to be the best way to make initial contact with a prospective client/lead?

Quitze’s response:

“First, use the various social mediums to do research on the person – linked in, online portals are great ways to learn about a specific designer/art director.  Learning about their style, their client work experience, gives you a starting point for future conversations. Once you have your research, there are a multitude of ways to connect from using mass emails, twitter, handwritten notes, and custom made gift portfolios.  I would do what is comfortable for your style.  One consistent message in any of your communication would be why you are inspired by their work and how you could support them in their vision for that specific account. The approach is not part of the mass marketing craze.  It is meant to make the person you want to work with feel special and important.”

I want to thank Quitze for her insight – I love what she says about the approach. Short and sweet: do what is most comfortable for you. We have to remember that buyers and creatives are people, too. They may get anywhere from 50+ email blasts a day, and hundreds of postcards and printed pieces a week, plus phone calls, linked in and facebook requests. It’s a full-time job for them just keeping up with all the information coming from credible, talented photographers. Obviously they can’t spend that amount of time, so much of our effort to contact them falls through the cracks. We have to make sure our initial contact is authentic, professional, and respectful of their time. Then we have to contact them again, and continue to find other ways to remind them that we are worthy. Being talented, great photographers is only part of the money-making formula these days.

The next post will dissect the “follow-up”. I’ll share some great examples of  how to do it without coming across as a stalker.

The Rep: Marta Aldriedge is an Artist Representative and owner of Big Picture Reps. From offices in Dallas and LA, the firm reps photographers, illustrators, and retouching/CGI studios.

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