With most “networking” taking place on the internet nowadays it is easy to reach out to people around the world, but what about the businesses local to you? Have you reached out to them yet?
You might be surprised how many businesses there are locally in the same market as you e.g. weddings, babies etc.
I was one of those people who thought alot about getting in touch with local businesses, but my lack of confidence held me back. In my head I was thinking, “they won’t want to work with me, there is a better photographer out there”. Recently something inside me changed, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and I reached out to several local businesses and met face to face with some and will be meeting with others in the next month. I can already feel changes happening in my business and how I feel about my business. It has re-ignited my passion for my business.
You might be thinking, “that’s nice, but what does this have to do with me?” Trust me it has everything to do with you and your business!
How Networking Can Help Your Business
Lets looks at a few different ways networking with local businesses can help you.
Networking gets your name out there
I know that might sound blatantly obvious, but think about how often we hear about our market being saturated with photographers, but realistically how many of those photographers are busy genuinely getting to know the local businesses? Not many!!
If you build genuine relationships with local businesses, they are going to be more willing to recommend you to their customers or have you leave marketing material with them.
Establishes you in your area
Would you rather choose a photographer that works with local businesses helping to support the local economy or a photographer that keeps to themselves?
You become part of the community rather than an onlooker. Plus there could be fun local networking/charity events you will be invited to.
They can be guest bloggers for your site
They are experts in what they do. You could begin with doing a feature on them and then have them write you a blog post. Your clients will enjoy learning about the businesses they may already frequent.
There are many more benefits to networking, but we need to get you started first!
Where To Start
You need to find them first! There are so many places you can look:
- Facebook searches for business and local business groups
- ask friends and family
- online directories
- local magazines/newspapers
Make a list of the businesses you find. Then research the business to make sure they are a good fit for you and follow them on all social media. Next pick up the phone and call them, finally follow it up with an email.
The phone call
The intention of the first call is to introduce you and arrange to meet up with them. This gives them time to research you and make sure you are a good fit for them, remember you’ve already taken the time to do this so if they come back to you with “I don’t think our businesses are a good fit” you are already prepared with an answer as to why they are actually a good fit (e.g. same target clients etc.)
Although the intention is to introduce yourself on the first call you should still be prepared incase they ask why or how you want to work with them. If you think you might “freeze” on the phone then have notes in front of you, it’s ok they won’t know!
Meet over a coffee, if they don’t have time to meet for a coffee, ask if you can drop into their place of business for 5 minutes.
the coffee meeting
It’s time for the coffee meeting, now what!?
Firstly as you initiated the meeting, coffee is YOUR treat!
Don’t rush into ‘the proposal’ start by getting to know them and let them get to know you. The meeting will flow naturally into discussing how you can work together, be open to their ideas and suggestions as they will probably have some.
Make sure you are prepared (you should be, as you prepared for the phone call), don’t be afraid to have your notes with you, you don’t want to miss something important out.
Things you should bring with you:
- business card
- any marketing material you might have, they can take away with them and read
Make sure you follow-up the meeting with a thank you, this shows that you appreciate the time they took out from their business to meet up with you.
We would love to hear your success stories on networking with local businesses, why not share them with us over on our Facebook page
Sales in Plain English Instructor for The Photographers Element
Photographer at Erin Freeman Photography
To find out when the next class is running, click here! Registration opens 2 weeks prior.
Originally from Canada, she upped sticks and moved to England 13 years ago, where she started a new adventure with her British husband. Her love of photography was ignited over 20 years ago when she travelled to Moscow, Russia aged 14, she hasn’t looked back since.
She started her business nearly 3 years ago, she soon realized that to offer her clients the best possible service, it needed to be personal, so she started looking into more ways to create this service, when the opportunity came to meet with Elizabeth Halford to take the Sales in Plain English class, she jumped at it.
When Erin isn’t working, she enjoys hanging out with her son at the British seaside and camping (or glamping as her son calls it). She also loves a bit of crocheting and sewing in the winter months.