Working the room, networking as a photographer

Jun 27, 2023 | Marketing

“Show Notes”

In this episode Sam is digging into “working the room” and how to successfully

build your business network.

Some of the things we discuss in this weeks show

– Why go to a business network meeting.

– Don’t be “salesy”.

– Building a network in a new town – both Sam and Marcus talk from personal


-It’s not just about letting people know about you!

– Know, like and trust.

-Applying the 80/20 rule.

-Listening is a skill

-How to use touchpoints to make sure you are remembered.

-Using Linkedin to help build your network.

-The importance of following up.

-How to create a winning elevator pitch.

-Extra benefits from networking.

-Applying a sales funnel approach to networking

“Show transcription”

Marcus, Hi there Sam, How’s it going?

Sam: Very good. Marcus, how about you?

Marcus: I’m really well. Yeah. It’s been another great week. Thank you. All good with me.And let me say hello to our listeners and welcome to Shoot to the Top. And in this episode, we’re going to be talking about networking, which Sam’s, got a great little some piece lined up for you today.Sam, maybe you could tell us little bit more about it.

Sam: Yeah.So today’s episode is working the room business networking. So we’re going to talk about why as a photographer, business networking is really important. What you should be thinking about networking, what’s it for,and maybe help with what groups to look for. But first, Marcus, I’d like to send it back over to you. Can you give us the news of the day, please?

Marcus: Indeed I can. So this is a story that I’ve been following for a little while, and it’s regarding equipment.Camera equipment.You can now get a flash trigger for your phone camera.That’s Right.You can now use your phone to trigger flash. Isn’t that incredible? Yeah, it’s come up by a company called Profoto. Really? It’s been gaining popularity. I’ve seen lots of stories about

people using it, and it’s really made me think, wow. Okay. That was one thing that a phone can ever do of it.That’s going to be the dividing line. You can ever use a phone in a studio or for commercial photography because you can’t use Flash.Those days are over, my friend. You can now use your phone triggered to a flat, triggered to your flash, and you can just create the kind of photography that you can undo with your camera before.

Sam: Wow. Now Mark has got an image of my head off, like, an iPhone with a sort of old traditional flash balanced on top, on a hot shoe.

Marcus: Well, who knows? That could be the way it’s going to go. I think it’s an app that goes in your phone.It must be Bluetooth.

Sam: A bit more smart than that. It was just an

Marcus: but yeah, I mean, it’s just one more step closer to getting rid of all our cameras. DSLRs, mirrorless film cameras and doing it all on our phone.Oh, my gosh. I’m quite looking forward to that.

Sam: Excellent. So working the room? Business networking. So I guess the question for a lot of people listening is are you doing it? And then the first question about business networking is or should be why are you going? Yeah. Why are you going to business networking. And there’s a few reasons people go, and a good reason to avoid is to sell stuff. People who go business

networking to sell stuff are not very popular. I Don’t Know If You Found That, Marcus, you go to a business networking event, and the worst thing at a business networking event is the person who is just trying to sell to the room.They are the least popular person in the room, are they not?

Marcus: Oh, man.Or man, they certainly are.Networking is something, I must admit to being quite prolific networker, especially in the last few years, when I started off doing the branding photography and a new marketplace,and during COVID as well, on Zoom. But, yes, I’m quite prolific with the networking and people tell me that I’m quite good at it, and I’ll tell you for why. And I think the reason I’m good at it is because I’m a serial data.I think networking is just like dating. I take what I’ve learned from that and do it in networking.

Sam: Excellent. So why do you go network? You just with that one, Marcus. So why do you go networking, Marcus? What do you think? What are you getting out of it for your business?

Marcus: When I left my job as a senior lecturer and had moved to Bristol, where I am now, I did not know anybody here. I started off doing my branding photography about three years ago, just before COVID hit, and I suddenly thought, hold on, I don’t know any businesses, any people here, what am I going to do to address that situation?Well, obviously, COVID hit and everybody was online and it was just a perfect platform for me to really get to meet lots of people, to find out about their businesses and for them to find out about mine.

Sam: Yeah, that’s really interesting, because I had exactly the same I moved to East Yorkshire, I was teaching for awhile, and then I set up my business. I was in exactly the same position. I don’t know a single person in this area who has a business. So, yeah, the networking was vital for that.But obviously it moves on, doesn’t it? As you say, building that network is really important, not selling.It’s about people might come for your services eventually, but it’s about getting to know other people, then referring people to you, using other people’s services, too. People I use who are vital to my business, I met through business networking.People always go, don’t they? As well?How’s this working for my marketing? But don’t forget, your business needs services. Yeah, your business always needs other things, doesn’t it? Other people, other skills. And so it’s a great way, not only of getting your business out there, but actually of sort of sussing out who is the best accountant for my business.Well, actually, I get to chat to these people and get to know them a bit, and I can get to know,like and trust, as the classic

networking phrase goes.

Marcus: Yeah, I think you’re exactly right, Sam. And let’s go back to what you said originally about networking is not selling, it’s about meeting people it’s about different things.I think, for our listeners, that maybe some tips that we can pass on.Obviously we met through networking and we do a lot of it, so let’s see what let’s dig deep and see what we can pass on.The first tip that

I’m going to say is, and it’s based around Pareto’s principle, I think that’s the right way I’m saying it this 80 20 rule, really, when you’re having a conversation with somebody face to face or online, 80% of the conversation should be about them and only 20% should be about you.

Sam: That’s really interesting, Marcus, because my first point was going to be you need to go to networking and listen, which is basically exactly the same thing, isn’t it? Really? Yeah. Don’t go in to tell everybody about how, you know, you might have the most amazing product and you’re so excited to tell everybody about it, but actually everybody else wants to do the same.What’s everybody’s favorite topic? Themselves. Yeah. We talked to Lisa, a couple of episodes about when people go to a website, they’re thinking about themselves.Same thing.Everybody loves to talk about themselves. So how do you make the other people in the network around you feel

great?Like you start to be interested in you is not by telling them about how great you are. It’s by listening and hearing how great they are and letting them speak about themselves.

Marcus: Exactly, Exactly, Sam. It’s all about and really, as photographers well,as soon as people photographers, those should be skills that are quite innate to us.That’s part of taking a great portrait is listening to people and getting to know them.

Sam: No, in some ways, that’s going to come across, isn’t it, in networking events?In some ways, I don’t think you need to sell to people. In some ways, what you’re actually doing, where you’re talking to them and meeting them, is you’re kind of letting them see what it’s like interacting with you, because it’s quite an intimate thing interacting with a photographer, isn’t it? It’s often just you and the other person and they’re getting your shot.And so they can get a feel of how that’s like just by talking to within the networking event. And they can feel if that’s, you know, if you’re sort of up in their face and very abrasively or very calm and relaxed, and they get to know that, don’t they?

Marcus: Exactly right, Sam. Exactly right.Now, the next tip I want to talk about is touch points.How many times should you talk to somebody or meet up with people for you might expect business?I’ve heard so many figures banded out about this.It used to be eight, and then all of a sudden it was like a dozen, and now it seems to be about 20 or 30 times.You’ve got to have touch points with somebody before you can get business from them or do business with them.Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean talking to them.It can be lots of different ways, but it’s an interesting statistic.

Sam: Yeah, definitely. And I think the follow up to the networking is really important. So there are a lot of people who then go to the networking event and they talk to people and they have a lovely time and maybe they get some business cards if it’s in person and they leave. And then they go the next week to the next event and nothing happens in between.And as far as I’m concerned, you’re wasting your time and your money.Especially, as you said, Marcus, with the touch points.The first thing I do, or not first, I’ll Be honest, but fairly quickly after the networking events I get on LinkedIn and I connect with everybody who is at the event. Absolutely everybody.And if I’m already connected, I’ll say hello. So if I bump into you in a networking event, Marcus, you will probably get a LinkedIn message the next day if I’m feeling organized, but certainly within a few days, that says, hi, Marcus, it was great to see you at the event. You’ve got another touch point.Not only that, but you’ve sent them a LinkedIn invite.If you’ve not met them before, they’re then connect Connected to you on LinkedIn and they’re starting to get some of your messages from LinkedIn.Then you can think about your email list.Do not, though, just add everybody you met at networking to email list.That’s really not allowed and really going to annoy people.But further down the line, you can move on to that.Maybe if you’ve had a one to one with them and things, but that follow up without it,the networking kind of doesn’t work and is a waste of time as far as I’m concerned.

Marcus: Exactly.You wouldn’t go on a date and if you like somebody, you wouldn’t just leave it and see if they’re going to contact you again.You got to be proactive. And even though that seems obvious, Sam, very rarely do I get people contacting me who I’ve met.It’s always me who makes the first move. So be it. The third thing I’m going to talk a little tip that I’m going to pass on is work on your elevator pitch. But what I mean by this is a summing up of your business with about five to ten words, something you can do really quickly. For example, my elevator pitch, and I’m always evolving it is I create inspirational Photography for inspirational People. So it’s not telling me, oh, look,it’s about how I make people feel.I want to Say, I’m a really good photographer and I’ve got really good equipment. It’s about working on people’s feelings.

Sam: Yeah, definitely. And then sort of a few lengths is good as well, because different events have different things.

Marcus: Yes

Sam: So a short one like that and maybe a 42 done and a minute one that you’ve pretty much got up your you can just pull out at any time and you’ve pretty much got it off Pat. You’re right. Getting out. What you do is really important, because if I turn up and just go, Hello, I’m a web designer, then the four other web designers in the room are also going to say the same when they’re all a bit of a bland nothingness while I talk about helping photographers and helping with Paisy Go website. So there’s no upfront fees.And then it’s very different.I’m suddenly different from the other people in the Room. Question I want to ask you, though, Marcus,about in person networking as a photographer.So a lot of networking groups have a photographer.What do you Think of the idea of using that as a Place to do things like Head shots? Because I’ve seen this A lot in groups. And interest in your thoughts. A photographer, not that first visit, but they’re a regular at a group, they’re going every week or fairly regularly, and they go, Right, okay. For the next one, I’ll be here with all my photography Equipment for afterwards.And then you give A pretty good price for if you Want a head shot,you’re here anyway, get your head shot afterwards.Why do you think of that as a sort of idea for photographers?

Marcus: I think that’s a brilliant idea, Salmon. It is something that I’ve done a little mini branding session, mini head shot session,whatever what you want to call it.But yeah, I certainly don’t do it for free.But you can do it for a fair price.The great thing about photography, as far as marketing Goes, is the Photograph is your marketing tool.So the more people you photograph, the more your photograph is going to be out in the marketplace and the more people are going to see your work and know about you.

Sam: Yeah, definitely. And then if you Find doing those sort of little shoots after the networking Event has the Led On to often more work from some of those people.

Marcus: Invariably It does. Invariably it does.You’ll spend your time with these people and they’re getting to know you. I mean, with Networking, I think there’s three types or three levels of networking that I Do. At this top End is like,well, I’m addressing lots of people. And I would look at that.It’s been through my LinkedIn, through Instagram, through the website, and it’s addressing lots of different people.I then narrow that down to my networking groups,the ones that are more face to face, and those are maybe about dealing with about 40 people. And then thirdly, and finally, I have my networking group of maybe half a dozen people who I know really trust and who really know me really well and what I do, and those are people going out, really representing me, almost like my sales agents, as it were.

Sam: Yeah, no, definitely.You can see that there are definitely different levels and it could just be that it’s one group,but there are those different people within the group and you’ve got that core of five or six people who know each other really well. But we are starting to run out of time.Marcus, I do want to squeeze in my fact of the day, if that’s all right.In fact, first, do you want to give us a very quick summary about what we talked about with networking?

Marcus: If you are not networking, you’re not working brilliantly.

Sam: So we invited excellent fact of the day.So 46% of users reported lack of messages the reason why they leave a website.And that’s actually quite linked to what we’re talking today in terms of getting that elevator pitch in the networking and actually quite linked to what we’re talking about in our last episode about Niching. Because if your business is niche, it’s way easier to have a really clear message on your website and a really clear message on your elevator pitch when you’re networking.So, yeah, having that clear message is so important.And if it’s not there on your website,in your networking, you’re not going to reach people and people aren’t going to know what you want and what you’re looking for.

Marcus: Yeah, that’s right.And of course, if you want to attract different markets, you can have different websites.

Sam: Definitely with different messages on them, and many people do.Right, I think it’s time to wrap it up.Marcus, it’s been really good speaking to you and I will see you next week.

Marcus: See you next week, Sam.Have a good one.

Sam: Cheers. Bye.