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Congratulations - You (Almost) Have the Job

The client has seen your work. The creative team recommends you. You’re on a first-name basis with the art buyer. Isn’t that enough to get the job? Absolutely…sometimes. But other times it won’t be so simple.

In case you haven’t been down this road before, I’ve devised an exam of sorts to test your mental preparedness. Let’s see how you do:

The Top Ten Most Important Roles of a Photo Agent

Question: What does a photography agent actually do for their artists?

When The Lab first approached me to write a blog post titled “A Day in the Life of a Photography Agent” I thought it was a great idea.  Well, it was great…until I actually sat down and chronicled my daily routine. My day to day is boring; it’s mostly filled with emails, estimates and therapy sessions with my photographers. 

How to Approach Your Competitor's Clients

Question: What are some surefire ways to overcome obstacles when trying to form new relationships with people who have long-established relationships with other artists?

Think about it this way: hopefully you have at least one loyal, long-term client who loves and adores you ... maybe several! So what do you offer these clients to keep them coming back to you?

Drawing the Line Between Promoting to and Pestering Clients

Question: When should I stop pursuing a client?

Unless a client has said expressly that he or she doesn’t think your work is a good fit, I don’t see any harm in sharing a new piece in hopes of working with them in the future. I’ve booked jobs from a sample or promo card years after it was sent, so you never know when something will resonate with a client – and sometimes you have to be diligent and very patient.

Some clients may like a piece and file it for the right project where that style is a better fit. The trick is knowing when to keep on pursuing…and when to give it up.

How to Keep Your Client Relationship Alive

Question: Do the same photographer and illustrator marketing principles (email, mail, personal visits) work to maintain relationships, or are there better ways to keep a relationship going?

With marketing, goal No. 1 is to get noticed. In a sea of emails, phone calls and direct mail pieces, your hope should be that clients pause when they see your promo and say, “Hmmm, that’s really interesting.” That “hmmm” moment gets you on their radar and past the noise of the other promos bombarding them every day.

Let’s review a few photographer and illustrator marketing basics everyone should know about self-promotion:

Don’t Let Clients Pigeonhole You into Repetitive Work

Question: What can I do to get a client to call me for jobs that are not quite the same as the one I just completed?

Trying to get considered for work that might fall into a different category then your “expected” style is often quite hard to do. This is especially challenging when a client knows you for “X” and you’re looking to branch into “Y.”

Is Befriending Clients Bad for Your Business?

Question: Is the development of a friendship bad for client relationships?

When considering this question, I can’t help but think of some rather negative phrases: "Don’t mix business with pleasure." "Keep up appearances." "Never work with friends."

To some degree, it’s not totally bad advice, but it might not always apply to the reality of doing business in today’s world. One should be able to find a healthy balance between friendship and work, and create some guidelines to make it work:

Following Up (Carefully) After Bidding a Job

Question: After I bid a job, how should I keep in touch?

The first rule of thumb is to ask your client when he or she is planning to make a final decision regarding your estimate. Be aware, though: Those dates don’t always hold fast, and many times decisions get delayed because of last-minute copy changes, decision-makers being out of town and unable to sign off on the final numbers, and other factors.

I believe a phone call and an email is the best way to ensure you get a reply. A simple statement – “just checking in with you to see if you were any closer to making a decision on the Acme Adhesive shoot. I’m sure you’re very busy, but any information you can provide would be most appreciated” – can have a profound and direct effect.

Understanding What Clients Look For

To become a “valued business partner” you have to show that you’ll be a valuable business partner. Every sales and marketing touch, from mailers and portfolios to in-person meetings and phone calls, should be designed to showcase the value you bring to the table – value that goes above and beyond the imagery you produce.

3 Ways to Grow as Both a Creative and a Professional

Question: How do I grow my business with limited time and still be creative? Business is great, but I feel like I’m not personally growing and I’m stuck in a “commercial” rut.

Perhaps the problem is a lack of creativity … in thinking about creativity.

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