ChrisAdval wrote in post #15913442
unfortunately, my social skills and in-person skills are very weak, yea I could work on them but I prefer making my work speak for itself which yes I've seen in this business the quality of work is worthless compared to those with great sales and social skills getting the deal faster and better than the guy who lacks those skills and has stronger quality in their work. It's just not something I can sacrifice from quality work and focusing more on business/sales/social skills but I am working on it slowly is the best I can do at least until I build a solid client base locally that would keep coming back specifically for my style and level of quality I provide.
The only option is visual advertisements such as print advertisements and online... at least right now, until I can afford to pay sales people to do all the in person sales/social communication.
...if you want a successful business then interacting with people needs to become something you get good at. There really is no other option. Photography is a people business. Even if you just shoot landscapes you won't be able to sell them if you can't sell yourself.
Story time: I'm an introvert. Introverts come in all shapes and colours. Being introverted doesn't mean you are "shy." It means that social interactions can be draining: that you enjoy spending time on your own. When you spend time with people introverts often need to take time to "recharge their batteries."
Of course: I happen to be one of the rare breed of people who are not only an introvert but also very shy as well. I am deathly shy. I get invited to parties and invent wild excuses not to come. And if I actually do turn up to a party odds are on as soon as the food has been served I will find a way to leave.
Being shy and being an introvert is something I've had to manage my entire life. And the thing you need to realize is that you are not alone in having to deal with the issues you've got.
But in order to deal with them you firstly need to acknowledge that your social skills will be a major issue in growing your business: and that you need to develop strategies to cope with the issues you have.
The statistics people are giving you are pretty much true: the odds of your marketing campaign getting you any work aren't great. And to be honest I doubt you will even get 1 in 500 contacting you. Lets say a company only creates marketing images every couple of years: if you approach them after their last cycle they won't be interested. Or if a company primarily gets their images from an agency they will probably never contact you.
Lets just say the odds of your marketing campaign getting any customers at all are slim.
Here's my advice. You need to make a decision. Are you serious about this? Are you honestly, really serious about being a photographer for money?
If the answer is yes: then you need to identify exactly what your social skills issues are and then come up with a plan to deal with them. Start with a SWOT analysis on yourself. Write down your strengths. Write down your weaknesses. What opportunities are their out their for your business? What threats are there that might harm your business? Do this when you have a clear mind. Be as honest as you can be. No one will ever see this list but you. Once you've listed it put it away for a couple of days before you look at the list again. Look at the list objectively. How can you use your strengths to your best advantage? What do you do to deal with your weaknesses?
I did this for my business a couple of years ago and its how I came up with my business name. I'm a big guy. I'm embarrassingly big. I have huge issues with my weight. (pardon the pun.) My biggest (irrational) fear was that people would love my work: but they would hate me. It took about a month for the name Big Mark Photography to pop into my head. A couple of my close friends were skeptical: "if you want to use your name in your business why not something like Top Mark Photography? Much more positive!" But Big Mark was perfect for me. It took the fear of "expectation" completely away. A client booking Big Mark would know exactly what they were getting. Its become an extremely effective marketing tool and an effective brand. Its much easier to say than my real name. And I'll never get over people calling me Big Mark. I'm a walking talking billboard for my business. And it all came out of something that was holding me back. I turned my biggest weakness into one of my businesses biggest strength.
Take some time out and plan your business out. Be specific. Looking at your website it looks like you've developed some sort of business plan: but it doesn't look focused. You do a lot of different things. But out of all those things: which will make you the most money? How on earth does your stock library work? You have all these cool photos on rotate in the background: but I can't look at them because there are words in the way. And clicking them doesn't make them bigger. And I don't know where to find them when I get to your portfolios. Your website is frustrating. You've got plenty of ideas. In fact: I'm sure you spend a lot of time thinking about your business. You've got some really nice work on your site. But if you are relying on potential clients actually being able to find your work after being given a postcard: its just not gonna happen.
I'll be blunt: simply forget about your postcard drop. It won't work and it won't get you business. This plan you've come up with is an excuse to not deal with the issues you've got. Its a plan that accomplishes two goals: 1) it makes you "think" you are doing something proactive for your business, and 2) it keeps you from addressing your bigger issues. We've all told you its not going to work. You've admitted that you know its not going to work: yet you plan to go ahead with the plan anyway.
It could take you a week to deliver 500 postcards. Try this instead: make a list of local businesses that might use your services. Start with a list of about twenty. Research each of these businesses. Get a feel for what sort of images they use and how and where they use them. Come up with a plan on how you want to approach these businesses. Over the phone it could be a simple "Hey, my name is Chris, I'm a local photographer. I was wondering if you had a spare twenty minutes anytime next week, I'll bring coffee! I'd love to show you my portfolio and I've got some ideas on how we can work together." The hardest thing about making this phone call will be the time you spend thinking about all the bad things that will happen when you make the call. You will spend hours worrying about making the call. The actual call if you follow the script will take less than a minute. Do it often enough and you will start to wonder what you were worried about.
Keep it simple. Make your first goal to simply make the phone call. If you are uncomfortable with making phone calls then start with a phone call a day. Then make it two calls, then three, then four. Reward yourself for hitting your goals.
You will get rejections: get used to it. But the odds are much better doing this than leaving postcards under doors.
And there are other methods and techniques out there that have even better odds than what I've suggested. But you are going to have to explore those yourself. The key is that you don't want to waste your time by doing something you know won't work because of social anxieties that you choose not to deal with because its too hard for you to do. Don't think about sales staff: look at other successful photography businesses and count how many of them have a sales team. And even if you bought in a sales person your brand is so confused they wouldn't know what to sell. Become your own best advocate. Develop a belief in your product, your services, and yourself. And don't forget: you aren't the only one who has issues. Many photographers deal with all sorts of different things. But they can be handled. You just need to commit to start handling them.
Wow. I wrote a bit more than I expected to. It may not all be relevant to you Chris, but I can tell you now it was very therapeutic. Best of luck.