The start of the year always brings about changes and new beginnings. Here at Wonderful Machine, the New Year means lots of requests from photographers wanting to work on their portfolios, website edits and marketing materials. I also see a big spike in photographers traveling and showing their work to prospective clients. One of the most popular marketing consulting services we offer is setting up Client Introductions for photographers with art buyers, photo editors, art directors and designers. On average, I work with 2-5 photographers a month scheduling meetings in various cities. New York is certainly one of the most popular cities to visit, and since we’re there frequently for our own portfolio meetings, we’ve made tons of connections. So, when Nashville photographer Robby Klein contacted me about a round of meetings in the Big Apple, I was happy to help!
Robby’s no stranger to our consulting services. He’s worked with us on various projects ranging from Marketing to Estimate Review. Robby knew the meeting drill and sent me his list of priority clients, including lots of entertainment and music companies. We ask photographers to send us a priority list of so that we can get a better understanding of what types of clients they’d like to meet with. We then add additional prospects that we feel are appropriate and comparable to that group. Typically, we reach out to 40-50 prospects per round, which takes about six hours. The number of meetings we’re able to secure depends on client availability, so we’re not able to guarantee meetings, but it’s very rare that we’re not able to set up at least one. On average, we set up three meetings per six-hour session, but have scheduled up to eight in one go.
After I had Robby’s prospect list built, I began contacting creatives via phone and email. I find that an email is a good way to start a dialogue. I’ve also heard creatives say that they prefer to look at work online before they agree to a face-to-face meeting; so I’ll be sure to include a link to the photographer’s website. As a general rule of thumb, I avoid sending emails/making phone calls on Mondays. I tend to get better responses mid-week. In Robby’s case, timing was a tricky because he was coming to New York the week after New Year’s. I’d normally reach out to creatives the week before a photographer’s in town—giving them enough notice to book a meeting, but not enough time to forget—but the holiday interfered. So for this round of meetings, I waited until much later in the week, after the holiday, to start reaching out.
Here’s an example of an email I used:
I sent out my emails over a couple of days, and as creatives started trickling back into their offices, I was able to get a hold of people on the phone. After some crafty scheduling, I booked three meetings for Robby from his priority list.
Through the many emails and phone calls I made, I received a lot of typical responses like “too busy to meet,” “I’ll keep his work on file,” and “let me know next time he’s in town.” It’s important to mark these notes down for the photographer so they know who actually responded and who to try to connect with next time around. To keep everything straight, I made an Excel spreadsheet for Robby with everyone I contacted, and notes about each one that responded. When the project was completed, I gave him a spreadsheet to keep for his records that listed who I contacted and the result.
Here’s a portion of the spreadsheet I sent to Robby:
Robby was pleased with the meetings booked and said that they went well!
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