While doing an interview for a magazine article a few years ago, I spent some time talking with Dawn Shields about her business and how it’s grown since 2002, when she started. There was a common theme very strong with all three photographers being featured in the article, but best described by Dawn. Dawn talked about how she’s a relationship builder.
Most of us think about the importance of the relationships we build as those with clients, but in Dawn’s case she’s stayed focused (no pun intended) on wedding industry vendors, other photographers and of course her clients. When asked where does she get most of her referrals from? The answer was other photographers! Essentially her competitors, but in this case, competitors who are working together to build their businesses and reputations.
Dawn believes so strongly in building vendor relationships that four to five years ago she and her husband started a monthly luncheon for anyone in the wedding business. They organize the venue and everyone has to kick in $10 to pay for their lunch. At that price – it could well be the cheapest networking experience on the planet! And what an incredible opportunity for a group of business people with the same target audience and goals in working together.
At one location each month, everyone has the opportunity to meet and work with other photographers, florists, venue managers and wedding planners, just to name a few. Imagine the strength of your network if as a wedding photographer, for example, you had lunch once a month with the florists in town, the limo company and a travel agent. The list goes on and on and it's not exclusive to just wedding photographers.
Since you’ve taken the time to read this blog today, when you’re done think about the opportunities you might be missing in your own backyard to build relationships. Everyone in business today has the same challenges with marketing and building their business. You might be surprised to find how many allies are right around the corner, ready to work together for a common goal – growing each others business!
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