Power Corner

If you want energy, spend some time studying with Michael Redford! His powerful presence and witty sense of humor will stimulate your out-of-the-box thinking and give you a new zest for life. In the early '80s, Michael began developing his marketing techniques (now revered as state of the art). Soon, utilizing the marketing systems and sales strategies discussed in-depth during his seminars, he had turned a small studio into a portrait "super studio" grossing over $1,200,000per year. Michael has blazed the marketing trail and has taken many arrows over the years. He now has the tried-and-true map to portrait studio success and to maintaining his quality of life. For more information on his seminars and educational materials, visit www. redfordseminars. com.

Michael Redford

Mitche: What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing the industry?

Michael: I don't see many challenges. I've gotten to the point of nirvana; I can do anything I want to do. Quite frankly, after you've put your mind to work over twenty years and you've boot-strapped everything, you can face so many challenges. You just look at what's next. You know, "What do I want to do next?"

What are your core marketing concepts?

Marketing is the engine of a business. When I want business, I market. When business goes down, I market. When my numbers aren't where they should be, it's because I didn't do my marketing. Over the years I've found out what fuel works best, and what's the best octane.

Important attributes of a Power Marketer?

Learning how to network. Learning how to get in touch with people that can help your business grow. Learning which people they are. Learning your target market. What is your target market? Who they are? And finding who you want to deal with—then learning how to talk with people and talking to the ones who can put you in touch with the end result that you're looking for.

What are the most important things to you? How does your marketing come into play?

Quality of life is everything to me. And how does marketing relate to that? The better I market, the better quality of life I have. You have to learn how to do business, but once that's all done, what makes it all function is the marketing. It all starts with marketing. The phone doesn't ring unless you've asked for business. The definition of marketing, in my opinion, is asking for more business. And after you've learned that, then the question becomes how to ask for the best quality of business.

How do you balance everything?

I just work until I'm tired of working, and then I do something else. It's all about quality of life. First of all, do I get eight to ten hours of sleep? Yes, because that's part of the quality of life. The reason I chose photography is that I don't have to get up at 6:00 or 7:00 a.m. I don't do that. I wake up at 8:00 or 9:00 a.m., and I gently get up and go about working. And when I'm done working for the day and I've accomplished all that I have to respond to, I go and do my social stuff.

What would you recommend to someone who is looking to take their marketing to the next level?

Define whom you really want to work with. Do you want to work with a couponer, or do you want to work with upscale people who have expendable income, are easier to work with, and for whom money is secondary in the game? I've found that after it's all said and done I'm going to take the same amount of pictures and I'm going to do the same amount of hours, so I might as well do it with people who can afford more—and there's much more profit involved there. You've got to go for the profit level that gets you the quality of life that we've talked about. And, dealing with coupons is going to eat you up. I mean, that's what the department stores are for. They're for the couponers. You're for the higher-end clients who want to have a little bit more expendable income and who appreciate what we do.

What is your hook?

It's the image that I've created. The hook nowadays is that the name has been created, it's just living up to it daily. I've been very successful in integrating the systems necessary to live up to the image.

Would you call it a designer brand?

It absolutely is. It's just all about quality service and a creative look. It's all based on very good photography, by the way. Everything I have is truly first of all based on good photography and then from that point on it's good customer service. Then it's good marketing to keep them coming. The marketing is first, but you have to have a good, quality brand. You can market until you're blue in the face, but if you can't take good pictures, that ain't going to work. It's all got to be congruent.

What has been the most successful marketing philosophy, concept, or campaign that you've ever had in the years that you've been in the industry?

A country club promotion where we go to the country club and offer them good, high-end executive portraits of their leaders. We initially photograph the board and the president and then invite the other members to call Redford Photography. We often have family portraits created at this location or at our studio. We put their names on the bottom of an 8x10-inch print. We put that print into an

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