Paul Pruitt has personally taught tens of thousands of sales people around the world over the past 24 years about marketing, sales, branding, and more. He was a national trainer and speaker and traveled throughout the United States training salespeople in workshops, seminars, and from the stage.
During these years as a Real Estate agency owner, photography was Paul’s hobby. His escape from his busy life. He took classes and even kept a small studio as a place to go and unwind.
Meanwhile, he was an absentee owner, and he took his eye off of his business. The people he believed he could trust the most destroyed the business that he had built, and he woke up one day completely destitute.
It isn’t an easy story to hear. It is something that we all fear. Yet Paul could not be stopped. Living out of his car, he started to rebuild his life again. He knew what it took. He knew how to sell, market, and brand.
And he still had his camera gear.
With that, he rebuilt his life AND his business.
Paul shares his wisdom and lessons he has learned along the way in this episode. One of my favorite quotes was this:
“Every small business market is over saturated. Stop blaming them. You succeed only by differentiating from the competitors.”
Paul and his wife Melissa now run a successful photography company, focusing on head shots and branding, as well as mentoring photographers on both improving their photography skills and getting more results in sales in their membership Photographer Entrepreneurs Association.
You need a niche, but not too early. What if you try a niche and you discover you don’t like it? It is like visiting the buffet at a restaurant: the first time you go through, you explore and try a little bit of everything. When you go back? Hone in on what you really like. Don’t focus on it right out of the gate.
We discussed the importance of networking in person, and how important that can be. There is a human being attached to a social account. Most of us are dealing in local markets, and that person could interact in real life with us! Find the influencers and create a purposeful alignment.
He shared a number of tips about using press releases and looking for the business leaders winning awards and how to use that for the benefit of your business. We also discussed non-profits and working with benefactors and donors.
Make your exposure investment is purposeful and deliberate.
Is your marketing plan to just hope & pray? That is reactive, and you cannot control resources that people have. Go to where people have the capabilities at the level that you want.
You don’t have to be your avatar to understand them.
You do need to constantly be doing market assessments – if you’re slow, are you Old Coke on the shelf? Even if you don’t jump on the trend, it’s important to be aware.
When it comes to Marketing, Branding, and In Person Sales – look at adjacent industries. These things aren’t unique to photographers, and staying within the industry causes it to become an echo chamber of the same ideas over & over again, rather than refreshed by new ideas that apply across all sales!