[by Judy Herrmann]
In today’s fast-paced work environment, convincing prospective clients to carve out face-time is harder than ever. With fewer hours to spare and more photographers clamoring for attention, these tips can help you stand out from the crowd:
Do your homework. Make sure the people you’re calling really need what you sell. I will never forget our studio manager getting a prospect on the phone after 3 years of sending him mailers featuring our still life work only to hear him say – “I love their work but I’m on the Hertz account. Unless they shoot cars, I can’t use them.” Oops!
Give them something to remember you by. Sending several visuals before calling for an appointment improves your chances of triggering some name recognition or at least some recollection of seeing your images.
But don’t assume they’ll remember you. Whether someone picks up or you’re leaving a voice mail, don’t just give your name and expect them to connect it to your images. In the same breath, provide your name and a description of the most recent visuals you’ve sent them. If they don’t interrupt to say they remember, add a brief but descriptive summary of the kind of work you do.
Turn cold calls into warm calls. Nobody likes to feel like a number. Before you pick up the phone, spend some time learning about your prospect. By bringing specific details about their work, their company, their values or goals into the conversation, you show that they are more than just another prospect on your list.
Know what you’re after. Have a specific call to action in mind. Get to the point of your call quickly and ask for what you want without hemming and hawing. If you’re coming to their town for a limited time, give plenty of advance notice and let them know the exact window of availability you have.
Don’t guilt trip: Most buyers of photography are nice people who wish they could give out more assignments. Putting them on the spot about things like why they’re using stock or why they haven’t hired you yet, usually won’t entice them to spend more time with you.
Be prepared: Chances are you’re going to get someone’s voicemail. Practice your message so it doesn’t sound overly canned. Keeping a separate list of key talking points handy can help you avoid getting flustered on those rare occasions when someone actually picks up the phone.
via Strictly Business.