This is the seventh post in a 10-part series called "10 Reasons Why You Aren't Getting More Clients." Here's a link to the rest of the series in case you missed it. Networking with other business owners is one of the best ways to get new ideal clients in the door, yet many photographers are afraid to do it. The benefits are huge, especially if you can network with other businesses that have the same target client base as you do and can get them to recommend you to their best clients. The beauty of this is that if someone loves a certain business, they'll be more likely to check out other businesses that they recommend, and you'll get new ideal clients more easily. So how do you create a connection with other businesses?
It's all about relationships
You've got to establish a relationship with them and respect the fact that they are very busy and get lots of requests for their time each and every day. This shouldn't stop you, though. In fact, read this post about how to request something from a busy person and you should have everything you need to start making some great connections.
Not all businesses are equally valuable
If you do portraits, connecting with businesses such that have the same high-end clients that you're trying to attract (as boutique clothing stores or high-end wine shops) is where you want to connect. Networking with the cheap dollar discount store in town isn't going to bring in clients who are willing to pay for quailty, so it isn't worth your time. For weddings, this is super easy. Network with venues, planners, florists, bakers, caterers, and any other wedding vendors that you would love to work with.
What's in it for them?
Make sure that there's some tangible benefit for them as well. Whether it be referring them to your clients in some way or doing a joint promotion, make sure that this isn't just a one-sided relationship where you get all the benefit or it simply won't work. Building referral networks can be one of the most reliable ways to keep your business growing strong, and is one of the cheapest forms of marketing.
What ways have you used this to grow your business? What strategies have worked well for you? Leave a comment and share! Like this post? Please Pin it on Pinterest or share it on Facebook using the handy buttons below! Thanks!