IT’S NOT WHAT YOU KNOW, IT’S WHO YOU KNOW
Remember the old saying “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” when it comes to getting big opportunities.
This applies to every business, especially acting, writing, art and music.
The person who gets the gig is not always the best or most talented; it’s usually the one that is personally connected to the decision makers in an industry.
Why? Because people like to buy from people they trust. And, we tend to trust people we have met in person or who have been vouched for by someone we trust.
One of the biggest “whales” we ever landed was one of the largest hard drive companies in the world. To date, they are the largest client we have ever worked with. They commissioned Drew for a few big projects over the past few years. We connected with them through a friend who works there, whom we spend a lot of time with at parties! After a few face to face meetings with the marketing department, we were commissioned to create murals and fine art surfboards and other projects for them.
HOW TO MEET THE DECISION MAKERS:
HOW does someone like me (and you), a solopreneur, working in our humble little business, get to meet the big, powerful decision makers?
There are a few easy strategies, and I call it Power Networking, but it’s not as hard as it sounds! It’s actually fun, if you allow it to be.
The idea is to get you out of your safe little studio and into the world of meeting the right people who can make things happen for your career.
There are three very simple ways to get in front of the right people in a relaxed and easy and enjoyable manner.
And why is “relaxed and enjoyable” important? Because the more fun you’re having, the better you will connect with others.
THREE WAYS TO MEET DECISION MAKERS
Some people are afraid to get out and meet people, because they are introverted or not sure how to talk to others. If this is you, please know that most people feel the same way!
It takes practice to learn how to talk to other people and feel comfortable doing it. That’s why I stress the importance of having fun and enjoying yourself and keeping busy while you network. The more fun you’re having, the more relaxed you are and the easier it becomes.
I think the easiest method for an introverted person is this:
1 – VOLUNTEER TO WORK AN EVENT:
Recently Drew attended a science conference in Phoenix. It’s our intention to market Drew’s new work based on physics and science at events such as this one, but we didn’t have any connections in this industry.
So, I wrote the event planners and asked if I could be a volunteer at the event. At first they said they had all the volunteers they needed, but, I persisted. Finally, they said yes!
At the conference I helped at registration checking people in, mingled with the VIP’s and contributed in every possible way. I was a huge help to the people running the event, and also, I was able to connect with them in such a way that we are now good friends. The best part? At the end of the event, the CEO of the event asked if we would want to do an art exhibit at the next one!
Working behind the scenes at an industry event or trade show is an excellent networking opportunity, because while there you:
- Get to personally meet the movers and shakers of the industry.
- You are now on a first name basis with the decision makers (and you get their cell #!)
- You have the opportunity to rub elbows with influential people
- You learn a lot about the secret happenings in the industry that you cannot learn by sitting home and reading about it.
ASK YOURSELF: What industry would my work fit in with best? Then Google it and look for trade shows and events that are coming up, and volunteer to work it for free. Set the intention to network and get to know as many people as you can at the event, all while being a contribution.
AFTER THE EVENT: Follow up with the people you connected with, send emails so they have your contract info, and plant seeds in their mind of what you do best and how you can offer services to them.
2 – ATTEND EVENTS, PARTIES AND TRADE SHOWS WHERE DECISION MAKERS WILL BE
There are opportunities everywhere to mingle with the people whom you want to meet. You just have to look.
One of the artists I consult ran into an old acquaintance at a party in New York. The gal mentioned that she was now working at an art consultant business and suggested that his art might fit with one of their projects. He followed up a week later and met with her team. The result: He got a $20,000 order for art prints for a hotel project!
The reason the artist got the deal: First, he put himself out there to meet people. Then, he followed up with a lead quickly after the event. And last, he set up a meeting, made a presentation and GOT THE DEAL! All of this, just from going to a party.
- “Who do I know that is involved in the industry in which I want to sell?”
- “Who can make an introduction for me?”
- “Who can I spend time with at an event so I can be introduced to the right people?”
For example, if you wish to sell your work in the action sports industry, you would find a way to attend the various trade shows of that industry, such as the Surf Expo or Outdoor Retailer.
You could offer your services to one of the companies that will have a booth there. Or, you could walk the show and be sure to attend the many networking parties and events happening during the show.
Once there, you would make it a point to meet as many people as you can, making contacts and giving out business cards.
Some of the best business deals I’ve ever gotten have come from being at an event or trade show and meeting the right person.
When you are in a relaxed atmosphere and having a good time, you are more attractive to others and more likely to win someone’s heart as a longtime friend or acquaintance.
3 – SELL YOUR SERVICES TO DO A LIVE PAINTING AT AN EVENT
This technique is similar to number one above, except, you are being paid to paint live or perform at an event.
This works for artists who are comfortable painting or performing live at events. For my husband Drew, who is an introvert, he is so much more at ease in a social setting when he’s painting and people are watching. It enables him to better talk about his work. And, of course, he likes being paid for it.
Live painters are often hired for corporate events and parties, trade show booths and brand promotions. This is a great option, because, well, you are getting paid to network! (For details on how to get live painting gigs, check out my e-book on the topic).
People prefer to do business (or buy art from) people they know.
“Working” at an event helps you get to know many people in an industry, on a first name basis.
A BRAINSTORMING EXERCISE: To help you determine the best way for you to reach the people that will want to work with you, grab a piece of paper and write down the questions below:
- Who are my desired clients or collectors?
- What do they love or do?
- Where do they do it?
- What industry events or shows will I find these clients?
- Who are the top 3 people that can introduce me to the decision makers?
Spend time brainstorming – when you take the time to THINK, answers come to you!
Find a way to attend the next industry show or event. Then, figure out a way to get your work involved.
Have fun, meet people, and remember to follow up with those you meet, right after it’s over. Some will eventually become your friends, and some your clients, I promise!
SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK WITH ME
Please let me know in the comments below if you’ve networked in this way, and what your results were.
Or, if you feel hesitant to follow these suggestions, tell me why. I’d love to hear from you!
Your comments on my blog provide the encouragement that I need to continue sharing my strategies. Please share your feedback with me.
Here’s to our great success –