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Not long ago, a weary chap sent me an email. He wanted me to review his direct mail letter he was going to send out to 150 people.

So I did the natural thing, asked who the 150 people were, asked him what his offer was, asked him what he wanted the 150 people to do when they read his letter. (In direct mail world that’s called CTA or Call To Action). I got the answers, read his letter and advised him I didn’t think he’d get much of a response.

He surprised me. Said he’d already sent the letters out and only had received 2 responses. And he really, really wanted to know where he’d gone wrong.

I do not care if its direct mail, if you’re selling oil paintings, Darrell’s fabulous DVDs, Alexander Brushes, or guppies. In direct marketing you must develop a relationship with your prospect. Just like you would develop a relationship with someone you’re dating.

Let’s examine this a bit closer……… When you’re dating you get to know everthing about that person, and they you. So its also two-way communications. Then you make an offer, a small one…. Dinner, Movie, Dancing, Hiking…. And over a course of time, you do more things together…….you offer to take him or her somewhere, have an event until you’re ready to pop the marriage question……(or the let’s live together question). I’m not talking about those folks who date a couple times and move on, never getting serious. But even they have to develop some sort of relationship, in spite of what Hollywood wants us to believe.

I have an offer for a free lesson to help prospects get to know me, to trust me, to understand fully what I’m all about. I continue the relationship through the series of 19 daily lessons that sent each morning via email. They’re invited to my newsletter and to the yahoo group. I’m giving them lots of opportunity to build a relationship with me. I’m certainly offering.

With paintings, you can put together an independent art show, put together a home made brochures of all the paintings at your showing and invite those who show up, to be on your monthly newsletter.

Get serious about your art, treat your sales effort with great care as though you’re dating each and everyone on your mailing list. Yes, its OK to rent a mail list, simply define the customer profile and let the system sort out the right demographics for you and walla you have a list. Then go forth and date all of them on that list.

When your customer can think of you as an old friend, you have arrived and you’re going to sell more and more paintings. Remember, most artists are not collectors….. So you may need to recalibrate your thinking of whom you should be attracting to your showing.

Enjoy your dates……