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Marketing Monday: Courtship The Unlinear Way

Ok… now is the time to really, take a close look at this whole courtship thing and see how it works ….but first let’s revisit everything, briefly. Remember, the steps your buyers will be taking, first there is the sighting and the dance …

Ok… now is the time to really, take a close look at this whole courtship thing and see how it works ….but first let’s revisit everything, briefly. Remember, the steps your buyers will be taking, first there is the sighting and the dance to get acquainted and check each other out and this will take however long it takes ’cause not everybody moves at the same pace. If that goes even slightly well  then you move on to that date, asking her to trust you enough to get in your car and go somewhere. If she trusts you she’ll get into the car and once again… these things take time. After all you are looking for movement to the final level which is the whole commitment, death do us part schtick, well not quite that much …but maybe ya never know.

A little twist of non-linearity

There is another little twist to this courtship thing and both of you do it, you just may not know it. If your goal is to reach the pinnacle of “death do us part” especially with someone who also believes in it. Then you’ll have some kind of a plan, idea, concept whatever stashed in the the wrinkles of your brain because while just any warm body might give you a bump in hormones that exhilaration will be gone sooner than…well you know its’ not a recipe for long term commitment. Asking for her hand in marriage after the first dance or whatever, will probably not work so well.

That’s why you know almost instinctively you gotta reveal some of your stuff, let her see what a wonderful person you are, before she even agrees to step into that car.

Knowing your part

So the point here for you dear artist is don’t jump on that person strolling into your booth right away or have a tantrum because she left empty handed…things take time ( you’ll hear a lot of that). That’s why it is not good to start with the first sight but instead take a look at that next level by having a vision in your mind both about you and who you want to attract. Why? Well while that person who left empty handed really only left empty handed she still had a notion in her mind about you. It is at this point that you need to know first if she is worth courting and second what your part in the process will be.

201_ask_show071208-copy1That’s why I’m starting here at the “next level” rather than the across the room sighting. See that instant in time when the trust kicks in and she decides to get in your car is important, ’cause if all you see is the rush of immediacy you’ll be stuck there forever and likely lose a lot of good sales in the process.

On needs and wants

So in order to get to that long term committed level you have to have a plan, a vision of who you are really looking for, who she is and what she holds dear. It only makes sense that you know first who would want your stuff and second what about your stuff they are drawn to, and why your stuff is important to them. Now is not the time to have an artistic identity crisis.

Think about what she considers important, what she might be needing, or even wanting and make sure your stuff equals her needs/wants. Does that mean being a slut… no not really, it just means that knowing what your stuff does for her helps you weed out the ones who really don’t care that much about your stuff to step into the car with you. And that saves you a lot of sweat and anxiety…trust me.

You can’t push the river

Remember, she got to the car door because you were giving her a look inside of you and your stuff, you were showing her that you had what she needed and wanted and she could take her time. She also agreed to go with you because you were prepared, you understood who she was and what she was looking for so you could start showing it to her at her own pace. You can’t overwhelm her because then she’ll get all resistant and annoyed…but you can acknowledge her pace and trickle in the stuff she needs to actually get into the car. Oh, and just in case you thought this was all about being altruistic and not taking yourself in to account…well that’s not really the idea. See, if you just keep giving and giving in order to get her to the car door, you’ll likely soon be getting all resentful and probably burned out…then what do you have?

Paying attention at this point is important because you have to know what balance looks like and when you are out of balance with yourself. So, pay attention to your resentment threshold ’cause that is when you can easily start the downhill slide.

139_ask_show071208-copyShow me the money!

Ok what’s this look like? Well, first of all the important thing is to keep in mind that you want to stay in front of them, you want to be enough in their mind that when they think of buying something like your stuff they automatically think of your stuff first. To do this, you will need to be in contact with your folks at the very least once a month but preferably weekly,and this can happen in many different ways. And you don’t have to go all overboard and start weekly only to burn out after the fourth week.  The key is pacing and consistency.

The key to it all

If you are going to build trust with those folks who are “thinkin’ or lookin’” you have to some way to contact them otherwise you may as well invent a time machine and go back to “them good old days”. The best and most efficient way to do so is to have and build a list…no bbbbuts this is your business, your livelihood we’re talkin’ ’bout here. That is unless you really never intended to support yourself with your art, in which case it doesn’t matter.


Those folks lingering around your stuff aren’t just passin’ time they are checking you out and deciding if they want to be apart of you and your stuff. Don’t worry if you pay attention to your intuition you’ll know when to make your move. The worse that can happen is they can say “no thanks” in which case you can just slip them a card with all your info on it for when they are looking for you. The best that can happen is they can say “I’d love to get your noozeletter”.

Two tools

Once again I’ll mention a blog as a major tool to help you stay in front of your folks. The other way is to put out an e-mail newsletter geared strictly to those who chose to check you out further. The important thing about both of these tools is:

You don’t have to be a Pulitzer writer to write a blog you just have to be you, because that’s what they are looking for. A noozletter can just be some brief announcements of up coming shows, or a review of show you were just in, or a highlight of current work….that’s all nothing more.

So why the focus on the internets thing? Well…

  • It’s free when compared to the cost of mailing post cards
  • You will have a higher open rate
  • You are always accessible so they can keep up with you at their pace something that wasn’t available back in the day.

The best benefit of all

You are probably wonderin’ by now what the real benefit of all this is. Well, it is the best of all and something you were never able to do before…really become customer focused by showing them you sincerely want to share your stuff with them and that you appreciate their support. That is how you will get them to that final “’til death do us part” stage



By TheArtistsCenter

Bill Weaver is an award winning photographer, visual artist and designer. Bill has worked as an artist, designer, teacher and photographer beginning at a very young age. His mother was a prolific painter and his father was an architect/engineer and inventor. Bill began photography at the ripe age of 8 when he successfully talked his father into letting him use one of his WWII “liberated” cameras from then on he has seldom put a camera down. He was recently informed by his 89 yr old father that the circa 1930 enlarger he used through college was still available! He also started drawing and painting at an early age using everything from watercolor to charcoal. He combined his visual awareness in graduate school where he first learned his love of design.

Bill Created The after 15 years as a working clay artist and photographer led him to question the standard ways artists market their work. In 2004 along with 3 other artists, Brenna Busse, Erika Mock,and Frank Barr, he explored ways to educate the public about the value of hand made work and fine art. Brenna and Erika are contributing writers to The ARTISTScenter.
He also can be found on his photography blog and his photography site

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