If 70% of sales comes from networking and building relationships, shouldn’t you be doing more of that?
This weeks blog topic: ‘Networking to boost your photography business’, (It’s not as scary as you might think). The most important thing to remember about networking is that you have to make a genuine effort to meet people and get to know them. Simply showing up isn’t enough.
We’ve rounded up some of the best tips to maximize your networking efforts.
Great places to find networking opportunities.
- MeetUps are informal and a great way to meet like minded professionals. Search for an industry-related get-together.
- Attend local chapters of formal business groups. Sit on the board. You’ll learn a lot.
- Volunteer your time by offering your services to a networking group that’s the right fit for you. A great way to gain instant exposure for your work, (if you target the right audience).
- Join professional photographer groups – photo walks are a great place to meet other local artists without commitment or cost.
- Events where marketing and communication folks hang out is the place to be. These are the people working for organizations always on the lookout for new shots to use in their marketing materials. Contact us! We’ll be happy to recommend some marcomm networks in the Ottawa area.
What to bring to your next networking event (besides your enthusiasm).
Be sure you have a good supply of business cards and goals. What do you want to accomplish? Set goals for yourself, such as meeting five new people. If there is a list available for attendees, such as on Facebook events or meetups, you should review it prior to the event so you know who will be attending and who you want to connect with. Heck, why not reach out to them in advance and let them know how much you look forward to meeting them.
Networking is an investment.
You’re in a room with people you don’t know. Walking up to a stranger and introducing yourself when you’re at a networking event is down right, heart pumping scary, right? Even though it won’t seem like it, everyone in that room feels the exact same way as you. TRUTH: Expect to invest 6 to 12 months networking before you get to know people and start feeling comfortable.
The right stuff.
The ultimate goal is for you to generate revenue from networking, but you need to lead up to that. First, be friendly and conversational. Don’t focus too much on what you do; be sure to ask people you meet to tell you about their business, and ask intelligent questions. Secondly, take notes on who you met and any other details you can remember. That’s the stuff that builds business relationships.
3 things you can do right away.
Networking is going to be a much slower process if you don’t actively follow up with contacts after meeting them. Here’s three things you can do after the networking event you just attended:
- Call them the next day to invite them for coffee to continue the conversation you started at the event.
- Send them a handwritten note on the back of one of your best photos. Let them know you enjoyed meeting them and how much you look forward to working with them in the future.
- Email a note inviting them out to lunch or another meeting to review your portfolio in the near future.
- Stay connected. Invite them to connect with your business on social media while your meeting is still fresh. Your feed will show up in their social networks and you’ll continue to stay top of mind.
What other networking tips do you have? Share them on the comments.
About the Author
Deanna White is owner and publicist for storylinePR, exclusive PR firm & marketing agent to Ottawa’s most talented fine art photographers. Learn more and connect at www.storylinepr.ca