The Art of the Follow-Up

by Carolyn Edlund

Recently I received several interesting emails from an artist in New York City.  His name is Roc Cayard. What Roc “gets” about his career and how to further it, is that he must initiate contact and follow up. He mentioned in one message how many artists fail to have a “work ethic”, and I’m afraid I must agree.  However, this extends to the general population as well.

Roc Cayard

The follow-up is essential in the sales process.  If you have an art career, you are selling yourself and your work, and you are in business. If success is what you’re after, accept that fact and start making things happen in your life by initiating contact with those people who can help you in your career and follow up with them on a regular basis.

This involves calling people back – promptly. Returning emails. Get your materials together and have them ready to send out at a moment’s notice, because often the window of opportunity is small. How many opportunities have you missed because you weren’t ready and you weren’t prompt in following up? It is a fact in business that the longer the “sales process” takes, the slimmer the chances are of making the sale. This applies to artists, too.

Let’s say the opportunity you are seeking isn’t going to happen right away – what then?  Here’s one example.  An artist contacted me a while ago, because he had expertise and information which could be helpful to emerging artists and was requesting to be interviewed. At the time I was swamped and asked him to get back to me in a month. One month later – to the day – I received an email from him, mentioning that he was following up, and he again requested the interview. I had a less hectic schedule and was ready to entertain his request. My answer was “yes, I will grant an interview, and help publicize you and your work while giving useful information to my readers.”

Think about what is happening with your art career, and check that you are indeed making contacts, following up on them, and organizing yourself on future follow ups so that you don’t miss out. Use networking to make those contacts, and make following up with them a priority.

Read my networking article , and you will see that I mentioned authors Harvey Mackay, Bob Burg and John David Mann in the text. All of them noticed (without being contacted) and subsequently followed up to thank me for the mention.  Harvey even sent me an advance copy of his latest book. These are nationally-known authors, and yet they still take the time to follow up with everyone, because they “get” how networking and building relationships work.

How successful do you want to be?  Think of the results you could have by staying in touch and following up with those who can help your career. Roc Cayard did. And here is his website.  Please visit and mention that I sent you!

Comments

  1. This is an excellent bit of advice, and one that I have to give myself every day. I’m really good at following up on the opportunities that matter, but I’m not so good at the little extra follow-ups that create good business relationships. To get around that, I create lists of e-mails that I need to reply to, and give myself a deadline for when it needs to get done. That being said, there have been times when I’ve let my deadline slip by, and who knows what opportunities I might have missed because of that!

    • Sometimes it can be uncomfortable to contact people in business situations, especially when we fear rejection. That passes when it becomes a regular activity, as you have done. Making sales is a numbers game – you must have enough prospective business in the loop to lose 80% of the opportunities and still make enough income to support yourself.

  2. Follow up or die. It’s true.

Speak Your Mind

*