Building Businesses Relationships with Local Vendors
As a professional photographer, staying in business depends on your ability to reach more of your ideal clients. While there are plenty of things you can do to drum up some business on your own, there’s another easy way to connect with your market: build business relationships with local vendors who serve your market. By recruiting the direct help of other business owners and entering into a mutually beneficial relationship, you can define your brand image and attract new customers.
Who to Connect With
Advertising your photography through the recommendation of another trusted local business, whether that recommendation is implied or explicit, is a great way to get your name out there. Attending local networking events that are designed to promote these kinds of collaborations is helpful but not always an option. In this case, identifying some good prospective partners and taking the initiative to reach out is the best way to meet business owners that share your business values and work with your target market.
If you’re a wedding photographer, some businesses that you might connect with include:
- Makeup artists
- Wedding planners
- Travel agents
- Limo companies
- Wedding venues
If you’re a portrait photographer, some opportunities include:
- Locally owned clothing boutiques
- Coffee shops
- Tourism-related businesses
- Specialty stores
- Daycare centers and preschools
- Private schools
How to Do It
Ultimately, your goal in building business relationships is for them to be mutually beneficial. Naturally, when you contact another local business owner, their first thought will be, “What’s in it for me?” Therefore, your first priority when reaching out to prospective partners is to frame the conversation in how partnering with you benefits them.
Rather than launching straight into a discussion of how your goal is to reach the same market and you’d like them to refer their clients to you, determine how you can help them with something. If you’re not sure where to begin, simply initiate a conversation by letting them know that you’d like to explore collaborative opportunities.
Getting in Touch with Prospective Partners
Ideally, your prospective business partners are located right in your town, since as a photographer, that’s where the majority of your clients are. While email and social media may seem like the most convenient ways to reach out, the downside is that messages can feel impersonal or easily get lost in the shuffle or deleted as spam. Personal face-to-face meetings are generally the best way to initiate a business relationship. Getting in touch over the phone is also a good way for making a quick introduction and getting the ball rolling.
Building partnerships with other local businesses isn’t just a great way to attract a ton of new customers, but it can also establish you as an active member of your community – a quality that is becoming increasingly important to those shopping for local vendors.