Nine Truths About Editors and Photo Buyers That’ll Help You Land Your Next Assignment
By Ilise Benun, Marketing Mentor

1. THEY NEED YOU. Do you imagine that by promoting yourself, you are intruding on or interrupting your prospect? Are you thinking, “They won’t want what I have,” or “They’ve probably already got someone else.”

Well, stop.  Even if this is true, you’ll ruin your presentation if you go into it with that mindset.  As Stock Photography Guru, Rohn Engh, likes to say, “At this very moment, they are waiting for you.”  If you approach each editor with the idea that they might, in fact, need you more than you think they do, you’ll make a better presentation.

2. THEY WANT TO LOOK GOOD. Things are kind of scary out there. No matter the industry, from construction to graphic design, things aren’t the way they used to be — not for you and not for them. So what they want from you, over and above what they’re asking for, is that you make them look good; that’s your real job.

Send them only your best work and be sure what you’re sending fits their needs.  If you can’t imagine them being proud to present your photographs or your article to their boss, then you might want to be more selective and only send them what you know they’d be proud to show.

3. THEY ARE, WELL, LAZY. That means you have to do some of their work: help them find you, help them contact you and then, of course, help them work with you. The fewer obstacles they have to surpass, the more likely they are to follow through, and the more likely you are to get the work.  Put your name and contact information on every single piece of communication you send them.

4. THEY HAVE GOT A LOT GOING ON. Don’t lose sight of their big picture. In the office, there are interruptions galore. They can’t get anything accomplished, their desks are disaster areas, their voice mailboxes are jammed, their email is stacking up. And, to be honest, things are out of control. You are just one of the many things they are trying to focus on. Now try to ask: why aren’t they calling me back?

5. THEY ACT ON IMPULSE. We all do this: we see something interesting, we get excited, we call for information and when it comes, we put it in a pile.

Determine as quickly as possible if you’re dealing with an impulse inquiry and waste as little time as possible with them. But don’t write them off entirely; just put them on your quarterly mailing list and let them come back to you. Real needs and desires will stand the test of time.

6. THEY NEED TO PIGEONHOLE YOU. Although you hate it, let them do it; in fact, help them. Give them a box to put you in, and a label to put on your box. (I’m speaking figuratively here.) If you want to be known as a photographer first and foremost then don’t tell them from the start that you’re a photographer/copywriter/graphic designer, etc.  There’s plenty of time to tell them more later about your full range of services.

7. THEY NEED TIME. It’s not always a put off. Believe them when they say they have to think about it, or that they have to sell the idea to someone else. We all need time to think, time to get ready, to adjust, to clear our plate. Give them the time they ask for, and then keep in touch (via a combination of email messages with examples of new work and phone calls to check in – every month or two is ideal), reminding them that they were interested. And remember that some things will never come to fruition. That’s life.

8. THEY ARE PEOPLE. Your relationships are not with companies; like it or not, they’re with human beings. And relationships are more important now than ever because, with everyone moving around, you better believe they’re taking the Rolodex (or Wizard) along.

9. THEY ARE JUST LIKE YOU AND ME. Don’t forget: you are a prospect to someone out there too. Which defenses do you use? How do you want to be treated when someone is marketing to you? How often do you want someone calling? How much freedom and time would you like to have to think about a product, to ask questions and to make your decision? How do you want to feel about the process when it is over?

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]

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