Today, Bob Poole is going to tell you about Bob Poole is a very great photographer today, if you tell about some of Bob Poole’s life then let’s start…
Photographers working for newspapers and magazines back in the 70’s were like tourists at a buffet-they just showed up and were fed a steady stream of assignments. So as a young photojournalist, I rarely lacked for an assignment or a paycheck. Editors consistently shoveled our work and there wasn’t much idea selling involved or needed. After years of work up and down and move into a studio. So, at the ripe old age of 22, with all the confidence born of youth, and the ignorance of all things business and marketing related, I started my own business.
As a studio owner, I had to manage the overhead of my own studio and find my own clients. I was a kid by today’s standards and really had very little understanding of marketing. How hard could it be? I asked myself. After all, I was a very good photographer, and once people saw my work I was bound to be a success.
I was wrong. A little over a year later I had exhausted all my funds. While the business was growing every quarter, it wasn’t growing fast enough for me to make a living and pay the bills, secured from a local bank with the help of a co-signer. With no access to money I might invest in the business, it didn’t take long to realize I needed to learn how to sell myself and my business or I was going to be out of business!
Friends & Family were pressuring me to get a real job, and as much as I tried not to, I was starting to listen to them. I was already beating myself up for a whole host of reasons-not enough money, not enough experience; maybe I wasn’t even that good a photographer. call it fate, or call it luck, but I took a Civil Service Exam to become a fireman and placed first on the list. I hadn’t told anyone else, but the next opening for a firefighter was mine. Or it would have been if a hiring freeze didn’t go into place shortly after my test result came back. I never did get that call to be a firefighter, but I did get another call- a wakeup call to revisit how to sell.
Without customers and with an exhausted business loan, I knew I couldn’t sit still and wait for people to and while it got me some name recognition and the occasional new customer, I knew that it took too long to produce results.
I needed to find something that would get people talking and at the same time wouldn’t cost much. Even Better, I decided I needed to stir up word of mouth for my business. I decided to do some kind of community project that would showcase my photography. But, things were so tight financially; I knew I had to get someone else to pay for it.
I looked at all the local newspaper and billboard advertisements and realized the local banks seemed to spend the most money on advertising. I took a good look at the ads from the largest bank and paid attention to what they were advertising. I decided that I could create a promotion for them that would be better than their current advertising. Yeah, I had big cojones.
The next week, I made an appointment with the president and outlined a promotion that I called “Faces of the Tri-State Area.” I told him how I would go into local businesses, steel mills, potteries, schools, and churches-everywhere the bank’s customers lived, worked and played -and that portraits of the people I found there. I’d then enlarged, mat and frame them, and we’d hang the whole display in the bank’s main lobby.
I also offered to write and design some print a radio ads for the bank to bring people in to see the gallery I told the bank VP that focus on the new promotions would be “Customers are Our Most Important Asset.”
He loved the idea a asked how much. I named a figure that, besides the photography, included building the gallery display and writing the advertising copy. It was a large number for me at the time, but they went with it and the show was a hit! Having my name & business credited for the photography and the show brought in many new customers, but that wasn’t the best part of the project. I also got to make fantastic contacts at the local businesses where I did the photography, which led to more commercial business.
The Chairman of the board of the local competing bank stopped me on the street about a month later to compliment me on the promotion and ask how it came about, I told him my story, including my realization that I had to learn to market or starve. later on, he and his son become very influential in guiding more business my way-including that of his own bank. And, we’ve maintained that relationship for almost 40 years now.
I gained more than business from the experience. Learning I enjoyed the creativity of marketing and sales helped me transition into full-time marketing and sales consulting. I found I enjoyed the creativity of marketing and more & more companies sought me out to help build their own businesses.
My tips for fighting the Resistance?
What looks like a brick wall may actually be a blank slate for you to create something on. Look at obstacles as clues to the solution.
Share your story with anyone who will listen. They may hold a piece of the puzzle or be part of the solution.
whatever the problem, there’s always a solution, keep looking for it.
Persistence in finding solutions means going down avenues you haven’t tried not just repeating thing you have tried and failed with.
You’re the one person who’s most invested in your dream- if you quit believing in it why should anyone else?