Last week I explained why it’s wise to maintain our global contacts if we want to have a career in the arts. Here are some tips for doing exactly that!
When you DO have news, make sure to share it. I coach my clients to prepare a brief news release whenever they have news: the news might be that they have begun painting much larger by moving to a series of four-foot by six-foot canvases; that they have landed a commission; that they have new representation; that their studio has moved; that they will be attending a major conference or networking event; and so on.
These do not amount to earthshaking news stories but they are in fact the real news of your life and well worth sharing with those people with whom you have a relationship. After all, they are on your side and won’t feel inconvenienced by a bit of news!
Emails may not prove sufficient in maintaining long-distance relationships but they are a big help in preserving those connections. They do not cause the other person to have to think on his or her feet, the way a phone call does; they do not force a person to carve out a chunk of time, the way a personal visit does. Because they are not burdensome, they are appreciated, especially when the message is brief and undemanding. It is a secret of both sales and relating that making lots of regular contact, even only via email, goes a long way to cementing connections.
When you think that a call is in order, arrange it first. Say that on a visit to London you made a great connection with a gallery owner who subsequently agreed to show your work. Your paintings have been selling nicely in that gallery but not spectacularly. You know that you ought to pay more attention to that relationship, as you fear that the gallery owner may drop you in favor of some newer or hotter artist, and you doubt that email contact is really enough. What to do? Drop him an email and let him know that you would like to chat for fifteen minutes via phone or Skype.
Once you’ve nailed down the time, send a brief email setting out your agenda. This might sound like, “Great! So we’ll talk at 10 a.m. my time, 6 p.m. your time on Thursday and I’ll call you at the number you gave me. Let me give you a heads-up: here are the three things I wanted to chat about. First, I wanted to tell you about the new work I’ve been doing, which is quite a departure for me. Second, I wanted to check in with you to see if there is anything you need from me or anything on your mind. Third—well, I’d just like to touch base! Talk to you at six!”
Because our conversations with marketplace players make us anxious, we tend to avoid them. Even sending out an email to the folks on our list can seem fraught with difficulty and danger as we worry about everything from inadvertent typos to annoying people with our “unimportant” or “self-serving” news. We are obliged to overcome these anxieties and build the excellent habit of reaching out to our long-distance connections in a regular, routine way. We really don’t want them to forget us!—silence is not the best policy.
Make sure to take a look at my brand new book MAKING YOUR CREATIVE MARK, available now!