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Art is Business

by Peggy Martinez on 2/25/2011 9:12:38 AM

This post is by guest author, Peggy Martinez. This article has been edited and published with the author's permission. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.  This author's views are entirely her own and may not always reflect the views of BoldBrush, Inc.

After 28 years of working in banking industry and holding many titles and positions, I resigned to become a full-time working artist. I have to say it's been quite the ride; bumpy, fulfilling and scary at times.


My responsibilities at the bank not only included developing new relationships, but in my last position, I was responsible for training anywhere from 20-40 employees monthly to develop new business and sell products and services.


I'm just amazed that everything I did and taught, I also do now as a working artist.


Today, I did three "presentations" not any different from what I did at my last employer:  presenting products or services to a company with 38 or 38,000 employees, during which, I generally had conversations with only one or two people, at the most.


So, you may ask what is a "presentation"? This is where the opportunity arises for you to present your products and/or services to gain or deepen a relationship. It may sound frightening, but after a few tries, you'll get the hang of it. I always pretend that I'm talking to a long-lost friend.


I've gathered a few tips that work for me that I would like to share. Keep in mind that if you present yourself as a business person, people will think of the encounter as a business meeting.

* Call or email to ask for a meeting, agree on the date, time, location and telephone number (in case something happens, such as a car accident, illness or simply lost).

Preparing for the meeting
* Get a briefcase or a very nice business-like large handbag. Sounds corny right?  But what came to mind when I said "briefcase"? Business! Art is a business.


In your briefcase have the following:

  • Business cards, never leave home without them.
  • Portfolio, updated and clean. I have small samples of paintings, this helps visualize subject and colors for larger paintings. 
  • A tape measure so that you don't have to return to measure the walls.
  • Extra copies of your Artist Bio and Resume, brochure or rack card.
  • A calendar or cell phone with a calendar.
  • A notepad (doesn't matter what size), as a conversation evolves, you may need to make notes of specifics for future meetings, projects or commissions.
  • A small notecards, as a gift or thank you for giving you their time. This always breaks the ice.
  • In your notepad, make sure you have a list of talking points. These are the subjects you want to cover, such as exhibiting or purchasing, cost, installation, timeframe, etc.
  • If you have a blank contract, bring it along with your price list.

Let's talk appearance
You are neither going to the local park nor the bar. Dress appropriately, keeping jewelry to a minimum (unless you're selling jewelry - then wear your best pieces). Wipe down your shoes or boots. Also, keep the cologne or perfume to a minimum.  I've had meetings with people allergic to the smell of perfumes. Carry a mint - never gum, you may forget to get rid of it.

During the meeting
Be on time.  If possible, arrive a minimum of 15 minutes early. When meeting your contact, make eye contact and give them a firm handshake. If you are talking to a business owner, ask them about their business. If you're at a client's home, praise their home. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that people love to talk about their business or home.  Don't be surprised if they give you a tour.

Take notes and review frequently to make sure you're covering everything you had in mind. Stay on course with your points because sometimes you may have to bring the presentee back on topic.

Make sure you ask questions and "listen", don't interrupt or run the entire meeting. If applicable, schedule a second meeting.

And most importantly, thank them for their time!

Post meeting
Very simply,  show your appreciation by sending an email thanking them.  You could perhaps add a few points that you may need to follow up on and confirm the next meeting date.

I hope these tips help your marketing efforts and I wish you many sales.


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Related Posts:

Creating vs. Marketing Part 2 (Attitude)

Artist Statement: Know your Audience

Business Management For Artists

Artists' Business Plans

Reducing the Jitters

Topics: art marketing | FineArtViews | sell art 

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