A Marketing Mix reader from Spain, photographer María J. Fuertes, sent me an interesting question via email.
Part of her freelance photography business involves approaching local businesses, both to solicit business for her work and to gain advertisers for a local magazine she’s setting up. (And three entrepreneurial cheers for María’s ambitious plans!)
But if cold calling can feel…um, daunting, "cold visiting" seems exponentially scarier! As she says,
I really don’t know how to do this, whenever I visualise myself entering a shop and starting to talk with the assistant or owner I already feel I won’t know how to continue.
The other same day I was just asking a shop if they would be willing to participate in a photoshoot with their garments (for free!) so that they could get a bit of publicity and in exchange I could use their clothes for the magazine and by the end of the conversation I was already wanting to disappear! (I think at the end I managed to mumble something about their beautiful clothes…) All because the guy seemed quite serious but nothing else, he said it was ok that we only had to talk and see how to organise it.
I feel your pain, sister. I spent one collegiate summer selling ad blotter space to campus-area vendors and did not exactly set the world on fire. Since then, I’ve learned that preparing yourself mentally is a big part of it, as well as learning not to take rejection personally. You’re there to help, and in order to do that, you need to find the people who are a good fit.
Does anyone else out there have some great cold visiting tips for María? How do you approach someone in person for the first time? Is it like cold calling?