How Do I Get More Promo Work?
The answer is simple, yet most people want the “magic diet pill” short cut. Unfortunately, there is no short cut to building your reputation, network, and stockpiling agencies. I can however tell you tips to expand in all three of those areas.
If you are new to the game, your head is most likely spinning with how many agencies are out there. You might be even more lost on how to find them. This is the easiest part, yet, the most time consuming. You need to start by signing up with every single agency you can find. If this is your job you should still be working 40 hours a week. If you have 30 hours of events booked, you should be job searching the other 10.
How to find agencies?
You need to have a plan of attack so you do not waste precious time. Start somewhere like Google or EventSpeak.com. Anytime you find an agency, sign up in their database. Keep a spreadsheet of every agency you create a profile. This will be handy when you move and need to update your address. Then immediately go to Facebook and like their page. This way you get their email blasts, as well as their postings for jobs. It does not hurt to see if they have a Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram as well. Once you have liked a few agencies on Facebook, now it’s time to start asking to join Facebook industry groups. Promotional Models is one nationwide group, but they do require you are connected within the industry already. Once you are accepted into these groups use the magnifying glass in the corner, desktop version only, to search your particular area. Never join a group and put your personal agenda on there. Nothing will make you look more unprofessional then asking for work in a public forum. Everyone is there doing the same thing, you need to put in your own leg work.
I will give you my three top choices:
All are owned by excellent people, ran ethically, have experience in the field, and care about their staff.
How do you build your network?
Start by the people around you. Do not ask yourself how they can help you, but rather how you can benefit each other. Asking someone to share all their contacts with you without anything to offer in exchange is like asking someone to hand over all their cash. It is rude and selfish. The correct way to exchange contacts, notice I said exchange, is on breaks, before or after shift. If you are on company time, but not putting attention to the client at hand, why would someone want to refer you more work?
Another excellent way to network is preparing your travel. Go a day early or stay a day later. Use Google or other agency page to see which companies are in the city you are visiting and ask to visit the office. I have never had an agency say no to this. They will gladly set up 15 minutes up to 2 hours to show you around. This is the best way to make an impression. You are getting an interview without the rigid confines of the phone or Skype. You do not need to show up in a suit, but look business casual. Some will take you to lunch, give local hotspot advice, or just want to hang out. I was even once offered a tour on the spot. Do not waste a work trip by trying to make it a vacation.
Next reach out to the big players in a city. Ask if there is an event marketing meetup any time soon. If not ask if they could help you organize one while you are there. Nothing like breaking bread with someone for them to feel more comfortable referring you. With that being said, watch how you conduct yourself. While this is not working hours, you still need to act professional. Think of every networking event as an informal interview. People are deciding if they can trust putting their name on you. Having to carry you out of a bar does not scream trustworthy. Make sure you play nice in the sandbox. A fellow coworker today can be your manager tomorrow. People go from field to agency to tour and back again in the course of a year, so always conduct yourself professionally. Which leads to your reputation.
How do I build my reputation?
However you act on your own time is your business. But, how you act in every aspect of your life is part of your brand. Since this in independent contractor work you are never entitled to any job. You might be a fantastic worker, but if people do not like you or your personal ethics, you are not getting hired. Look at your overall brand. Does it scream Disney or Jersey Shore? While you think your personal choices should not matter, they do.
From a professional standpoint, make sure you show up on site ready to work 15 minutes before event start time. You need to be in uniform without any personal style choice changes. Bring as little on site as possible. No luggage; yes I’ve seen it happen. Once you arrive, do not stand around twiddling your thumbs. Immediately ask the manager what you can do to help. Do not complain about pay, temperature, uniform, or any other part of the event you agreed to before you arrived. Keep a smile on your face. If you have obsessive compulsive check your phone disorder, keep it put away out of your reach. Do not chew gum, have mints on hand instead. At the end of the shift offer to stay a few minutes to help the manager wrap up; they will not forget that. After everything is wrapped up and if you did all of the above, and only then, can you ask for your manager’s contact info to use them as a referral.
I managed staff for over 7 years, and I will without hesitation give a referral to an outstanding staff member. The best staff stand out within an hour of the event. I believe all managers can attest to the same thing. If you show up late, do not know where to park, get lost in your own city, show up out of uniform, or any other event that requires hand holding, it is hard to back pedal and recover from that point.
Good luck to everyone out there! Happy promoting.