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“Do your homework,” said your 8th grade science teacher.
“Be prepared,” said your scout leader.
We learn these lessons early in life, and according to sales experts like Seth Ladetsky of Turner Broadcasting, it’s these same lessons that are the key to being an effective salesperson.
Like it or not, independent photographers also need to be their own sales staff. And although it’s not a natural role for most, photographers can improve their sales results simply by doing research on potential clients.
Ladetsky sells online advertising to some of the largest beverage, auto, and apparel companies in the world on some of the most popular sports and entertainment media properties on the Internet.
His advice for sales is simple – understand your client’s business, what’s important to them, and what will solve their problems.
“If you’re always thinking about yourself, and never understanding who you’re talking to, they’re never going to respond to you,” said Ladetsky.
Although Ladetsky is an expert in online online advertising sales, this advice works for all industries – including photography. We recently released a free report, “The Photographer’s Guide to Selling Like A Pro,” that takes a look at the successful sales strategies used in other industries, and lists useful take-away tips translated for photographer-use.
During the interview with Ladetsky, he makes a really great point about being prepared, and doing your homework. (An audio clip from the interview appears below.)
How does this apply to the photo biz?
Here’s one example: If you’re looking to work with a magazine, make sure you truly understand their magazine before contacting them. What type of photography do they like to use? What type of subject matter is appropriate? Who are their readers, and what’s important to them? What photographers have they used in the past?
Personally, I am contacted (via phone and email) all the time by people who want to do business with PhotoShelter – and they always fall into two different categories: people who are prepared and understand my business and what’s important to me, and people who contacted me without knowing anything other than my name.
When I am contacted by a person who has obviously studied my company, I give them my time and full attention. On the other hand, when it becomes obvious that a person didn’t do their homework, and I’m just another name on their long list of cold-call targets, I try to get off the phone as quickly as possible.
Download and read “The Photographer’s Guide to Selling Like A Pro“, and learn from Ladetsky and sales professionals in the travel, finance, home shopping, and automobile industries.
You may be surprised what you can learn about the photography world from these seasoned non-photographers.