Episode 13: Need a Photography Client? Do This Now!
with Sarah Petty
What if I could help you find a client who can afford your photography without ever stepping foot in your town? Today is your lucky day. The truth is, no matter where you live, there are people with disposable income. You just haven’t learned how to look for them. I’m going to teach you a tool I created called Follow the Mower, so you’ll know exactly where to go to find portrait photography clients who can afford you.
If you want to find people who have money to spend, get in your car and drive around neighborhoods with strong prospects. In these neighborhoods, look for the mowing crew.
Find People Who Have Money To Spend
I remember thinking, “Look at all these trucks, everyone is paying money and they have nothing to show for it.” What neighborhoods are these people living in? They are the people you can market to because they have disposable income.
Lawn mowing is really nothing. It’s chopping the same grass over and over. You get one client and it’s worth your time. The neighbors come over and say, “I probably should have a mower in my yard too.” And then they refer, and so on. The same thing will happen to you.
Use Marketing To Find The Right Photography Clients
You’ll start to find that you’ll have clusters of portrait photography clients in certain neighborhoods. Then, you can send what we call a dog whistle marketing piece. Dog whistle marketing is a promotional piece that is created professionally. You’re not going to attract the best clients with a cheap ugly postcard. If you’re doing that, stop it right now.
If you can’t find the mower, find the mowing company, and get there before them. When they start early in the morning, you can follow them and see where they go. There are people out there happily paying for services. The mowing companies are showing you where they are.
Who is Buying Not Essential Products?
If you can’t find the mower, find the proverbial mower. There are tons of products and services in your market people are buying that are not essential. I have a client who owns a golf cart company, and their sales were triple last month during COVID because people have extra money to spend. We needed to add a little tile in my studio. I told my husband, “Hey, call the local tile store, I bet during COVID they’re slow because people aren’t leaving home.” The exact opposite was happening. Everyone is staying home, doing house projects. Some people are suffering and custom artwork isn’t a place for them to invest right now, but there are people buying new cars, expensive jewelry, and sending their kids to private schools. Where are those people? Portrait photography clients are out there, you just have to find them.
During COVID I was coaching my students to pivot during that crazy time. Debra Weisheit connected with two businesses. One was a high-end hotel, and one was a high-end pet boutique. They started to send her clients. Melissa Mancini partnered with two real estate friends who sell $500,000 and up homes. They reached out to their clients and gave them photography gift cards. This was perfect because when you buy a new home, you need artwork. Both of these students found people who have disposable income, and they’re in your town too.
I get it, it’s easy to tell yourself that you don’t have clients because they aren’t out there, or that you’re not charging what you’re worth because you wouldn’t hire yourself. These are lies you are telling yourself. There are people all over who are making and spending money. People are buying all kinds of items from boats to new carpet, house cleaning, and fleeting mowing services. So if you are filled with that head trash, the next time you pull up next to a crew of mowers pull over and take note of who’s paying them. Remind yourself, that instead of hiring a person to mow and groom their yard, those people could have a gorgeous piece of artwork in their home that lasts a lifetime. I believe to my core that investing in our art is a much better place to spend money.
I'm Sarah Petty
I’m a photographer living in the middle of a cornfield (central Illinois), momma of three teenage kiddos (plus a cat & dog) and an educator for all things photography business. Favorites: Earl Grey Tea (not coffee!), anything orange and clothes that are made for tall girls