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.”

Here are a few suggestions to help you make the most out of every opportunity.

Share Your Talents

First, you need to create awareness of your abilities. When you have the right moment with the client, make sure that you’re correctly providing insight about what you can do. If a client has hired you for employee portraits on seamless, there is no reason to not let them know that you have a lot of other capabilities: shooting people within locations, shooting people interacting with others, shooting people in corporate settings, etc.

It’s all in how you let them know. There’s a dance that needs to be done about you, your crew, experiences you’ve had, past projects, etc.

  • Post imagery on social media sites showing the many skills that you offer with your style, perspective and eye.
  • Send out a direct mail piece that’s specific to the people you want to speak to, illustrating your versatility. Personalize the direct mail piece to make it as effective as possible.
  • Create an email that speaks exactly to the client’s needs and why YOU are the best choice. Don’t be overconfident, but toot your horn some or you won’t get noticed.
  • Begin and enhance a dialogue with clients about the work you’re doing with other clients, and how you believe it could tie into this client’s needs.
  • Continue doing your research. When the client has had some form of “good news,” make sure you send them a correspondence acknowledging the news and, if you can, showing how you can partner with them on future successes.
  • Consistently review your competition and keep pushing yourself to be a leader of the pack, not just a follower. You can’t keep improving if you don’t have a critical eye regarding your work relative to your competition.

It’s really about working on relationships. I don’t mean to sound like you shouldn’t be honest and truthful regarding these critical relationships. What I’m suggesting is that while you’re creating meaningful relationships, make sure that you give those individuals a reason to know more about you and your abilities, strengths and such. If you have a skill set that will help the client, of course they would want to consider you.

Additionally, during the current economic situation, many clients actually prefer to work with people that they already know and feel comfortable working with. You should use this to your advantage. If you have provided the client with a great working experience, a great job, well-produced work, no hassles and a good rate, he or she will want to consider you again and again.

Bring it Home

So you need to continue the conversation in the right way – supplying insight but not looking too hungry and not being too pushy. Like I said, it’s a dance: consistent contact that doesn’t become an annoyance.

Other good ideas:

  • Keep detailed notes regarding the number and types of contacts in your circle.
  • Show interest in the work that the client is doing.
  • Show that you are paying attention and have done your homework regarding their work.
  • Show a correlation as to why YOU should be a part of their consideration.

All of this will help to put you in the front of their mind regarding new work – whether it was exactly like your last project or not.

About Katherine

Katherine Hennessy is a representative and consultant with a proven track record based upon a strong creative background, practical and street-smarts education, and high ethics, paired with agency experience, relationships throughout the photographic industry, and pure gut instinct. kate & company

Related Articles:

1. The Risk of Shooting New Work

2. Understanding What Clients Look For

3. 7 Tips to Keep You On A Client’s Mind

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