For the last few years we have been really pushing for our photographers to go out on appointments to show their portfolios. It is so important for them to hear the feedback for themselves and make their own relationships. We have always believed that a face to face meeting with a photographer goes a long way towards fostering a long term relationship.
Besides shooting new work, making personal connections is the single most important thing that they should be doing. We remind them that if they can mirror the marketing that we are doing for them, the effects are exponential.
Of course not everyone in the group enjoys this aspect of marketing or even has the time for it. Those photographers tend to find other ways to make their connections. Regardless, we never stop encouraging.
Before a recent trip to LA, I was asked by Richard Schultz to help make appointments for him. Our relationships in LA are strong and his reputation precedes him so they were fairly easy to schedule. We were excited because he had a full schedule.
Since Richard and I were both in LA at the same time, I offered to attend his appointment at Chiat Day. Jigisha Bouverat is an old friend and I thought it would be beneficial for me to be there. Besides, I of course wanted to see her myself to say hello.
The appointment was great. Jigisha and I chatted and got caught up before she reviewed the work. Other art buyers came over as well to say hello and look through the portfolio. They asked Richard questions and everyone was very interested in the stories behind the images.
Exactly how I would have scripted the meeting. I left feeling like it was a success.
Later that night, Richard let me know that while he too thought the meeting was a success, he thought it would have been better had I not been there. His point wasn’t that I was a distraction but that on his own he would have had a greater chance of making his own connections.
I was silent at first because I had never considered this before. I had always been of the mindset that it was important for either Lauranne or myself to be there to help guide the meeting or facilitate the connection. I had never considered that on their own they would have more of a chance to shine. Or, that without one of us they would have to own the meeting and make it their own success.
I was very appreciative of Richard’s observation and point of view. And, more importantly I appreciated that he felt safe in our relationship to let me know what he was thinking.
I am not sure everyone in our group would agree or share his preference but I was glad that he spoke up. I learned something new because he did.
I see huge value in his approach and will make sure to encourage more independence among the group in the future. Thank you Richard.
Helicopter Reps: I agree with Richard. You have to trust the photographer to shine on their own, and not seem to be like a minder. Some photographers are not the most talkative, some are charismatic, some are brilliant yet eccentric, yet they each have to be able to fend their own way through a meeting. Most important part of the relationship is that they know you are there to back them up. Cut those rep apron strings and let them fly.