Some Advice Based Upon the Teachings of Dale Carnegie
If a photographer is to survive, he or she must cultivate the science of human relationships — the ability of all kinds of people involved in the creative collaboration, photographers, art directors, art buyers, accounts payable people, even account executives, and others, to live together fairly and respectfully, in this industry at peace.
(extrapolated for commercial photographers)
And Carnegie Taught:
People buy from people they like.
Here are some tips that will help you be liked in the process of building relationships with the people who can give you what you want.
Make the Meeting About the Other Person
Be Fully Present
Laugh a Little
Dare to be Different
Be a Little Mischievous
Ask creative questions that are challenging, caring, interesting, informative, open-ended. Creative questions often begin with What if…? How may we…? In what ways…? Who are…? Why…? These kinds of questions are filled with a variety of answers that will help you get to know the other person. Each question leads to dialog. Do not ask questions that may be answered yes or no. Practice keeping control of the interview. Do not give your power away. Hold back from handing your portfolio to your prospect for as long as possible. Get them talking about themselves. Repeat what you heard your prospect say to confirm that you understand and to let them know you are listening. What I heard you say is… It is okay to take notes.
Make a list of ten creative questions that you may ask to learn more about your prospect and to get them sharing about themselves. Here is a starter list:
Some advertising related questions (make up your own):
What if we were to collaborate on an assignment? What would you want me to know about you? What would you want to know about me?
What if you could change one thing about the agency business, what would it be?
What if you knew who the right photographer was to do a job even before you created the final concept? In what ways would you want to work with that photographer?
Pretend that advertising has been banned by congress. What kind of work would you do? How would you go about doing it?
What if the next print ad you did demanded the highest level of innovation? In what ways would you want to collaborate with a photographer?
What if we were living in a utopian world where each person could choose the kind of work they want to do? What kind of work would you do if money was not an object?
If you could make one improvement about how photographers try to get your attention, what would it be?
Let your prospects know that you know something about them and that you have chosen them as prospects. Let them know you are interested in them.
I want to work with art directors who are not only interested in great ideas but who can sell them through to their clients. I want to work with risk takers. Etc… (personalize this) I saw what you did when you were still at Dewey, Cheetham, and Howe. How in the world did get the agency and the client to buy off on the idea in the first place?