You might think I'm crazy here, and many would say it's true. Your competition can be a great source of finding additional business. Many years ago when I joined our local professional photographers association, I got to meet my competition. In the beginning we socialized at our monthly meetings and then as the months turned into years many of us became very good friends. I was glad to know them. If I was over booked I knew who to send my over flow too based on the clients needs or budget. I still do the same today. Guess what, they still do the same for me. Here are 6 rules to follow to make your completion a good source for new business. Hit the "Read more..." link below for the rest of the story.
1. Never talk negative about them in any way. Remember: What goes around comes around.
2. If a client books one of your competitors, ask who it was and let the client know that you know their work and they should be very happy with the results. Our clients book us for our style, artistry and sometimes our prices just won't work for the budgets. Don't get your feeling hurt if they don't book you. Use the news to show what a true professional you really are. Congratulate them on their photographer selection. Again, what goes around, comes around. Many times I have gotten referrals from potential clients that didn't book us, say because of her budget, but will happily send a friend with a larger budget because we were acted in such a professional manner.
3. If the competition ever gets in a bind and needs help, be happy to oblige if you can when asked. About ten years ago, I went into the hospital for surgery - I had weddings booked over the two weekends I was down. My competition (and friends) jumped right in and not only offered to help, they actually worked the events. What goes around, comes around again.
4. When ever the competition needs a favor, like borrowing a lens, second camera, frame, album pages, etc., always help out if you can.
5. Did I say never, never, never talk negatively about the competition? This applies even if you don't care for them. What you can say is, "Johnson Studios just takes a different approach than us." You are being neither approving nor disapproving with this neutral remark. At least it wasn't negative - and never should be.
6. If the job doesn't fit the services you provide, recommend the best person for the job in your area. I don't do much commercial work, so when I get that kind of call, we send it on to 1 or 2 qualified photogs who can routinely handle it. It's always appreciated.
Hey everybody, that's it for today. Have a great one and I see you tomorrow with a really unusual post, "Inspiration and Relaxation Friday." See you then. -David