A question I’ve had from a friend is how I find clients. The answer is through business pitches. In simpler terms, it means reaching out to people I want to work with, hello dream clients! Some photographers are well established in their communities (likely working and building relationships for years) with referrals and name recognition. And then there’s me, the scrappy newcomer.
Because I don’t have the same name recognition, I reach out to people I’d like to work with and let them know about me and my business. Through my year of pitching clients and success, I’d thought I’d share what I’ve found get the job done!
Personal connections work best in business pitches
I’ve been able to establish a personal connection with more and more clients because I’ve specifically targeted who I want to work with because I feel strongly about their work or product. The connections range from meeting up for coffee dates to writing about a personal memory I have using their products. The email also touches on why I’m interested and how I can help their business. Showing that you’re already a customer of theirs is compelling. It shows that you’re familiar with their brand and takes it a step further than a generic email with a rate sheet saying please buy me! Imagine if one of your clients raved about your services and offered a useful service to you versus someone you didn’t have a connection with at all. The person pitching with a more personal connection is going to edge the other out.
Don’t let, “no thanks” get you down
I’ve had polite responses from my pitches saying that potential clients don’t have any needs right now, but they’ll keep me in mind for the future. I thought this was a polite no thanks, but I’ve had a few people come back when they do have photography needs a few months down the road. The lesson here is not to be disheartened because you’ll never know what will happen in the future. I’ve spoken to other photographers who get no’s from clients. And their attitude was you’re not my client YET, but you will be! You just have to have unshakeable faith in yourself, your ability, and a can-do attitude.
If you’re not following up on your pitches, you’re leaving business behind. A simple follow up email after not hearing from someone after a week has allowed me to book more. You get a ton of emails every day and it’s pretty hard to keep up with them all. Even if you’re interested in the offer, life happens and I’ve received emails saying thanks for getting back to me! I wanted to email you before but X, Y, Z happened! Sending a follow-up email takes no time at all and is faster than coming up with new leads.
The most encouraging and true advise I’ve received from people further down the rabbit hole is to keep going. Many talented people give up from their business because of a lack of funding to support it. Elizabeth Gilbert addresses this in her book Big Magic. She says she’s never demanded that her creativity support her. Instead, she has supported her creativity by working other jobs as a waitress until the success of Eat Pray Love which is her fourth published book. So keep going friends. Find a way to support your creativity.
Business pitches to companies or clients you want to work doesn’t have to be scary. It’s a great way for them to find out about you and your services! You’re able to tell them why you want to connect or what services you offer, and it starts with a natural connection you already have with them.
Don’t be discouraged by no’s and keep moving forward. It truly is a numbers game and finding the right people to connect with and to waiting for results to start coming in. Let me know if this was helpful to you and if plan to implement these pitching tips!
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