Competition. It is one of those aspects of business that for some of us make the hairs on the back of our neck stand up. It may not be one of your favorite things to think about when running your photography business. While others may thrive on competition and love the thought of “beating” their competitors in business.
In every marketplace there is competition. It is the one thing you cannot escape. Unless you have the ability to come up with a brand new product that no one has ever seen or heard of, competition is one of those aspects that you will have to face when running your business.
When it comes to competition, it is important to take a step back and not get flustered that there are other people in your marketplace trying to do the same thing you are, while trying to target the same prospects you are. It is ok to not have everyone in your marketplace. You wouldn’t be able to serve the entire market to the best of your ability if you had every single person. What is important is to focus on the small percentage that you need that will make your business profitable. Maybe that’s only 25 clients or 50 clients. That’s it. When you can grasp this concept you start to look at the market and competition with an entirely different perspective.
When you focus in on the clients that you serve and not pay attention to your competitors, something really wonderful happens. You start to run your business from a standpoint of abundance, not scarcity. You begin to realize that there really is so much opportunity for everyone, you included, to succeed in business. And when that occurs, you then don’t stress out or worry about what your competitors are doing, because you are so focused on you, your work, and how you can truly help your clients.
Ironically, when you shift your attitude about competition, your competitors can become one of your biggest sources for referrals. What you do well is most likely what they don’t do. Once you understand this, you will eliminate your competition.
Here are the Top 10 Secret Referral Sources you need to know. Some of them involve your competitors and some involve other sources. Embrace these 10 secrets and see what a difference it will make with growing your photography business!
1. Competing photographers:
These are photographers in your same industry. For example, if you are a wedding photographer and book a client on a certain day, you will be unable to take on any other clients on that same day. Perhaps there is another wedding photographer that you could refer potential clients to in this situation and they can do vice versa. By looking at photographers in your same industry as a referral source, this could potentially lead to new client contacts.
2. Photographers that appeal to different price point:
These are photographers that serve clients at a different price point as you. Not all photographers are the right fit for a client, depending on what their needs are. Find photographers that you respect and will refer out to and this could lead to a reciprocal relationship.
3. Photographers that are non-competitive:
These are photographers that are in a different industry as you. For example, we do not do newborn or maternity photography but know a fantastic photographer that specializes in this area. She does not do wedding photography, so she refers clients to us. It ends up being a win-win situation for everyone.
4. Complementary vendors:
These are vendors that are in your industry. For example, in wedding photography, there are DJs, wedding planners, and florists. These are referral sources that work with brides and grooms who may be looking for a wedding photographer.
5. Past clients:
When was the last time you did a soft touch of clients you have worked with in the past? These are individuals that valued your work and compensated you for it, and they are also one of your best referral sources.
6. People you do business with on a daily basis:
These are individuals you see on a daily basis, like your insurance agent, the person you buy coffee from, and your dry cleaner. They may not have you on top of their mind as a photographer and need your services, or know of someone that would.
7. Friends and family members:
Many of us assume that our friends and family members know us as professional photographers and we overlook this referral source that is very valuable.
8. Current Clients:
These are individuals that just made the choice to work with you. What better referral source!
9. Social Media:
Just because you have 500 Facebook friends doesn’t mean they think of you as a professional photographer. Establish who you are on social media by sharing your experiences.
10. Old school networking:
Get off the computer and out in the world to meet people face to face in networking and business groups. The relationships you create will be some of your most valuable referral sources.
About the Authors
Paul & Melissa Pruitt are the co-founders of the Photographer Entrepreneurs Association, an online association that provides branding, marketing, and sales resources, done for your services, and business photography education.Together they provide support and mentoring to photographers, and speak nationally on small business solutions. Paul & Melissa are the authors of the Amazon best-selling book PROFITographers: Creating a Successful Photography Business.They can be found helping their Facebook community of over 16,000 photographer entrepreneurs and also host a weekly show, Tog Talks, which highlights the journey of photographers in business. www.PhotographerEntrepreneur.com