Be Smart About Art

Getting introductions from existing clients

written by: Susan Mumford Nov. 26, 2017 1) RECOMMENDED-> Susan's weekly blog post 1023 views

Getting introductions from existing clients

It’s said that it’s easiest to sell to your existing clients. This makes sense, as they already know, like and trust you, and are confident of the wonderful experience that you provide. 

How then do you get referrals from existing clients?

A person’s close community often includes those with shared interests who have similar economic means. Accordingly, it’s likely that your best clients are ideally positioned to introduce you to their friends and colleagues, who could become new clients, too.

But how do you ask for referrals?

Many micro and small business owners feel awkward doing anything of the sort, so while they wish to get introductions, leave it to luck and hope that clients to come up with the idea themselves.

Although there may be the occasional introduction, for example when a client brings someone they know to an event you’re holding, it makes a significant difference to give them the idea.

When recently talking with an artist who had an exhibition in the Lower East Side in Manhattan, with just over a week to go, which included one remaining Saturday opening, I recommended the following:

Make a point of being at the gallery during set hours on the Saturday afternoon, and let your audience know. Communication of this would be made via an email marketing campaign (using a professional email marketing platform, which is free of charge), social media and word of mouth. Better yet, to help yourself get introduced to your contacts’ contacts, include these three simple words in messaging:

“Bring a friend.”

What a nice idea! For people enjoying a Saturday afternoon out and about, popping by a gallery exhibition where they could talk with the artist would be an excellent prospect. No doubt it’s impressive in social context too, to show a friend that they’re on personal terms with an artist exhibiting in a Manhattan gallery. (The image above shows me at Cockpit Arts Open Studios in London alongside jewellery designer Sara Hartley. Open studios are another occasion ideal for encouraging clients and followers to bring others.) 

Another way to get introduced to client’s contacts is when you’ve been commissioned (or have project managed a commission), and arrange an unveiling ceremony – like an old-fashioned ‘varnishing,’ at the home or company where it’s going to live. You can build up excitement, and talk with them about inviting friends or colleagues around at a set time to do the unveiling. This changes the occasion from being a practical and uneventful installation to being an occasion to remember. The client gets to show off their new acquisition, the artist is able to talk with guests (and people LOVE meeting the artist, as well as curator), and mixing and mingling – i.e., networking, naturally occurs.

There are plenty of other ways of getting yourself introduced. What’s essential is 1) putting time into thinking of ways to get introduced with integrity and 2) doing it.

What do you have to lose? And what do you have to gain? 


How have YOU received referrals from existing clients? Add your ideas and experiences below as a 'comment.' 


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