Saturday, August 14, 2010

It's not who you know, it's who knows you!

The other day I was on a shoot and talking with someone about our business and how we've been getting work. At the end of our conversation, my friend said "it's all about who you know". After he said that, I started to think about how many times I've heard that saying and how most people believe that it is all about "who you know". But in reality, it has nothing to do with who you know, it has everything to do with who knows you and more importantly, who likes you.

Think about all of the people you know, creative directors, art directors, buyers, designers, company owners and other potential clients. Now, think about how many of them really know who you are, and now think about how many of those really like you. I'm willing to bet your numbers started out big and slowly shrank.

After doing this for 15 years, I know a lot of people, and I have come to the conclusion that, unless they know me and like me, they most likely aren't going to hire me. That's not to say I have never been hired by a client that I hadn't already established a rapport with, that has definitely happened. I've had clients hire me just from seeing my website and the first time we talked with each other was when they contacted me to see if I was available to shoot a job, but that is a rare occurance these days. With so many photographers out there, most clients want to know who they are working with. Clients want to feel as if they know you, not just your work. Nowadays, by the time a client contacts me to discuss a job or a CD, AD or AB agrees to a meeting with me, they have already looked at my website, possibly checked out one or more of my behind the scenes videos, read my blog and may even be following me on twitter. They want to have a feel of who they are working with and feel confident, not only in your work, but that they can put up with your artistic ass for multiple days if need be.
So the next time you hear someone say, "It's all about who you know", you'll know that's not nearly as true as "It's all about who knows you"! So start establishing relationships, write your blog, get meetings, keep your twitter and Facebook accounts up to date. Let potential clients get a feel for your personality. You'll not only get more work, but you'll get more work from clients that you really enjoy working with.