In a sea of competitors, one photographer really stood out to me for an unlikely reason. While many were clamoring to spark up a conversation with the bride-to-be he wasn’t doing any of that. He wasn’t in your face, didn’t sneak business cards in your bag, and he wasn’t making you second guess that photographer you thought you liked.
Nope, he wasn’t doing anything…a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g.
It was painful to watch him stand there, a handsome young man, hoping for something to happen. His body language screamed introvert crying out for someone to acknowledge his presence and yet he was invisible.
This post is not a How to Stand Out in a Competitive Market (ooh, I like that idea for another post), but a more personal one for introverted creatives who need a little help.
This is going to take effort, but it’ll so be worth it.
1) Eye Contact and Smile
There were vendors who looked like they couldn’t care less to have your business. What did they do? They avoided eye contact. I get it, they’re tired and probably bored so they spend time on their cell phones. That translates into “I’m shutting you out, don’t talk to me.” Don’t be that vendor!
Mr. Handsome Shy Photographer was looking at all the brides-to-be pass by him and maybe he even made eye contact and smiled. What could he have done next? Start a conversation. My favorite icebreakers for photographers are “Hi! Have you found your photographer, yet?” “What a beautiful family, I’d love to take your family portraits!” “When are you due? Have you taken your maternity pictures, yet?”
A friendly tone can make or break this interaction. Often, people will choose a vendor because they like the person they’ll be working with and not just because of the beautiful products. You love your craft, be just as excited when offering it to others.
3) Engage in conversation
You are your brand. Remember that you’re not just trying to sell a product, you really want them to continue following your business. Build relationships so that after their session you are still on their mind which will lead to referrals.
How do you make it about them? Ask details about their wedding, maternity due date, graduation date, etc. Talk to them as if you’re chatting with a friend. Then, instead of yes or no questions, lead with open-ended ones like “What are you looking for in a wedding/senior/family photographer? What kind of images do you love to see?” These questions are less ‘look at me and my awesome work’ and more ‘what can I do for you?’
4) Have support
Having a friend to talk to during an event can relieve anxiety. You can bounce off ideas on what to say and they can give you the boost you need to help you approach people. Introverts NEED time alone to recharge so even just having someone there to take over in case you need to get away for five minutes is a huge help.
Can’t find someone to accompany you? Let your followers know where you’ll be and tell them to come out and say hello.
5) Social media
Pick one or two platforms that you use often and post frequently. Post your products, what you’re working on, what you’ve accomplished, and personal posts. People want to know the person behind the brand. Always a favorite are shout-outs. Be supportive of other entrepreneurs and mention them in your posts. For example, showing a photo of a bride’s bouquet will showcase not only your photography, but also help the florist when you tag them. Encourage vendors you’ve worked with to share your images on their social media for more exposure.
As an introvert, you have an advantage in observing people’s behavior. Learn from other vendor’s techniques and listen to what clients are looking for. Can you fill that need? Mention it! “Hi, I noticed you’re looking for__________ my name is ___________ and I’m a ________ photographer…”
Was this post helpful for you? Support a fellow introvert and share this post, share a snippet in your blog with a link back, or comment with your thoughts!