Cold-calling potential clients can be very intimidating, but it’s necessary if you’re pitching yourself as a photographer.
When I pitch a potential client who may not be familiar with me or my work, I have five rules I always keep in mind to help build my confidence:
I always remember that if I’m not making these calls and personally updating them with my work, there is no way for them to keep me in mind. Sending emails can be effective and easy to track: you can get an exact idea of how many are read and unread through Agency Access’ accessEmail service. But without an introduction phone call and follow-up call, there’s a great chance that the potential client will not even open the email – or if they do open it, they still may not make the first move to connect with you.
When I’m on the phone or leaving a message for a potential client, I’m always sure to let them know that I plan to send them a follow-up email containing samples of my work. Then, after every cold call I make, I follow up with an email including a promo piece and a link to my website. This validates the phone call and gives it a true purpose, so it doesn’t seem like I’m calling just to talk about myself. I also mention in the call or voicemail that I will follow up with another phone call so that they know they will be hearing from me again – and are then more inclined to open the email and respond.
I always make sure to only pitch clients who are relevant to my style of work. That being said, I shoot for a variety of markets including fashion catalogs, healthcare campaigns and car companies, to name a few, and have to be very careful that I do not pitch a potential fashion client by noting I shoot for Mercedes-Benz. I always do research about the company I’m calling prior to making the call and am sure to tell them about my relevant work.
When making cold calls, it’s only natural for nerves to sometimes take over. To ensure I don’t freeze up and forget what I’m going to say when making a call, I have a script written out to help guide me through my call. I have two scripts made: one for if I need to leave a voicemail and the other with questions I might be able to ask the potential client.
When trying to sell something, including your services as a photographer, it’s easy to get carried away talking about the wonderful product. But since you’re selling yourself, you must be careful not to come across as narcissistic or self-absorbed. Pitch yourself by talking about your experience and shooting style; sell yourself as humble and easy to work with.
Making cold calls is one of the best ways to reach potential clients. Keep in mind that these art buyers and creative directors you’re calling receive tons of calls and emails every day. They may come across as annoyed to be getting the call, but it’s incredibly important to stay enthusiastic, excited and energetic on every call you make and voicemail you leave. If you sound scared or nervous, the person on the other end of the line can sense it – and will be less likely to take you seriously because it comes across as a lack of confidence in your services as a photographer.
Remember, their specific job is to find new talent. Even though it may not feel that way by the way they initially respond to your call, be sure to remember rule No. 1 – out of sight, out of mind – and stay positive. Every call you make is a step closer to your goal!
Cover Shots © Jim Jordan
Growing up as a skater and surfer in sunny, Southern California, Jim Jordan spent his high school days scouting models and finding the next great faces of the coming generation. With a passion for beauty and styling, Jim quickly became a highly respected hair and makeup artist, traveling the world and working with the biggest actors, actresses and supermodels of the time, such as Cindy Crawford, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Farrah Fawcett, etc. He worked with the world’s best photographers, such as Herb Ritts, Peter Lindbergh, Steve Meisel, Patrick Demarchelier, to name a few, and after many years of behind the scenes experience as a hair and makeup artist, Jim picked up a camera and immediately developed his own unique style as a photographer. Jim now shoots celebrities such as Leonardo Dicaprio, Drew Berrymore, Charlize Theron, Marisa Miller, to name a few, and shoots for clients such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, Elle, Marie Claire, etc. Jim also directs and shoots seamless campaigns for clients such as Mercedes Benz, J Crew, American Express, Warner Brothers, and many more. Jim now lives in LA and NYC, and shoots in the most picture perfect places around world. Jim Jordan Photography
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