STOP Trying to "Attract" Your Clients
We see it everywhere. All the marketing messages that tell us to buy someone’s course so that you can attract the perfect client. The promise that you will bring in all the people who will fill your schedule. That we should stop “chasing” people who aren’t our ideal client. We are told that we need to marketing in a way that sends out a message saying, “I am your perfect photographer” “Don’t hire them, choose me” We spend hours putting out the perfect website, the perfect social media feed, the best branding images of ourselves all in an effort to encourage people to call us and hire us.
But what if I told you that message we are being sold is NOT going to get you more business or more income?
In fact, it is totally ridiculous.
The idea that we are to sit back, behind our computer, and by some magical stroke of the universe our phone will start to ring, our DM’s will start pinging, and our email will be flooded with inquiries, just isn’t realistic.
The fact of the matter is that great businesses aren’t made by sitting behind a laptop posting pretty pictures and stories about how great we are at what we do. Great businesses are made by getting out meeting people, telling them about what you do, and connecting in a way that others respect and will want what we are selling. Great businesses are made because someone was smart enough to see that what they wanted to sell was something that others needed AND they weren’t afraid to go out and tell people about it.
Have you ever heard the term door to door salesman? It isn’t something that we hear as much about today but let me tell you, when I was growing up, our doorbell rang several times a week by someone who was trying to sell us something. From cable TV, to kitchen knives, cleaning products, vacuum cleaners, and yes, even photography packages. There wasn’t social media or the internet. The main way people promoted their businesses was through either the yellow pages (the bigger the ad, the bigger the response), local TV commercials, telemarketing phone calls, referrals from friends and family, direct mailings, or going door to door to tell people about their products.
In our house the door to door salesman was the thorn in my mother’s side. She hated them. I can’t tell you how many of these people Mom closed the door on but it was A LOT. She had no mercy for the salesman (yes, almost all of them were men) who interrupted her family dinner time. She did not appreciate the plight of these workers just trying to make a living. She felt intruded upon in her own home. Much like how we feel with the onslaught of robocalls we get today. Our phones have gone from a safe place to communicate with friends and family to a device that we don’t even answer when it rings because most of the time it is someone we don’t even want to talk to.
But here is the thing, many people were very busy going door to door because they knew how to approach someone who was a reluctant audience and turn them into a friend and possible client. They knew that the number of doors they knocked on, the greater chance they would have of making a great sale. They didn’t get bothered by the people who didn’t want to talk to them because they were driven by the idea that somewhere on any given block was someone who not only wanted, but NEEDED what they were selling. They weren’t worrying about attracting the right client because they felt it was their responsibility to go out and find the right client..
Marketing your business is NOT a passive activity. We can’t sit and wait for the phone to ring or the inquiries to fill our inboxes. We have to get out, tell people about what we do and how we can enrich their lives. If you don’t talk about your business, you will not have a business.
The key to telling people about your business is putting yourself in situations that allow you to meet people and interact with them in a way that allows them to get to know you and see the value of your business. Many, no make it most, of the time, that means you need to TELL people about what you do and share why you are so good at it.
I live in a very competitive area. The livelihood of most of the people I know here in the Suburban Washington DC area is based all around sales. (Outside of government contracting) And you know what, the people who are the most successful, the ones who are taking vacations around the world, driving very nice cars, sending their kids to college debt free, contributing handsomely to charities, and live in homes that most only dream of are the ones that have the biggest social circles. They are the people who have learned that the secret to their success is believing in what they sell and surrounding themselves with people who are interested in or have positions in large companies that need these products. What appears to be a simple pool party is really acquaintances becoming friends. The talk is not of the Johnny Depp / Amber Heard Trial but of stocks and bonds, the latest tech solutions, and brainstorming who knows who and making introductions for people who need them. The “social” time at these events is not wasted time but carefully strategized time that helps the participants get closer to their next big sale.
So if marketing isn’t a passive activity, let me ask you. . .
When was the last time you invited someone out for coffee and asked them if they knew of anyone who might be interested in what you offer?
When was the last time you joined a community group to get to know people who share common interests as you? Book Club, Sports Teams, Wine Club,
When was the last time you attended an event at your local Chamber of Commerce?
What about attended a networking event (even as a guest) like BNI or 1 Million Cups?
Volunteered to chair a committee for a local charity that caters to your ideal clients interests?
What is the connection of doing those things and bringing in more business?
At those events you meet like minded people who share the same values as you do, are community minded, AND want nice things for themselves and the people around them. THOSE are the people you want to tell about your business.
So I want to challenge you to do one thing this week that will allow you to meet people who want and need to hire you. The BEST part about this is that almost everyone we meet will need a photographer at some point. We have one of the best jobs in the world. So actively go out and meet more people, share what you do, tell them how you can help them, ask them to send interested people your way. It won’t open the floodgates immediately but you might be surprised at how doing this on a consistent basis can help you create a more fulfilling social life AND profitable business.
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