The ArtOrder

ArtOrder Portfolio Building Class #7 - Sealing the Deal

You have created a powerful and targeted portfolio. You have your elevator pitch, and talking points well rehearsed. What now? It's time to seal the deal.

Monday, February 25, 2013 by Jon Schindehette in Blog, Creativity

You have created a powerful and targeted portfolio. You have your elevator pitch, and talking points well rehearsed. What now? It's time to seal the deal.

First let's make sure everyone is up to speed. If you are coming to this series late, make sure you start from the beginning. This is NOT your standard portfolio class. Skipping steps is bad...

Class Introduction

Class #1 What is a Portfolio?

Class #2 Self Assessment

Class #3 Setting A Strategy

Class #4 Making A Plan

Class #4a The Insanity Loop

Class #5 - Storyboarding and Presentation

Class #5a - Presentation

Class #6 - Talking Points and Questions

We're coming to the end of the series, and I hope that you found something inside the inquiry for yourself. For myself, I have learned a lot about myself (again), and been re-invigorated with the creative process. Thanks for all the great emails and questions that have happened behind the scenes.

Okay, time to wrap it up. I spent many years in sales when I was younger. I was pretty good in sales, but only when I was involved with products or services that I believed in. I actually hated "sales". I preferred being part of something I believed in and simply taking the time to find folks that were looking for the opportunity I was offering. And that is the access for you...

When we are "selling" ourselves, we have to believe in what we have to offer. We need to identify the folks that are looking for what we have to offer, and get our offer in front of them. If you have accomplished the rest of the class, then you have identified who you are, what you have to offer, and who it is that needs what you have to offer. You've even learned about ways to get your work in front of them. Chances are good, if you have really taken on all the aspects of this process, and have answered all the needs of the Art Director in question, then you are just moments away from getting an offer!

What if it doesn't come though?

And this is where my sales background really comes into it's own. As part of my training, I learned that too often, we have one huge fatal flaw when we are "selling" something, or presenting ourselves - we are afraid to ask for what we want. Let's get perfectly clear here, saying "I would like to work for you." is NOT asking for what you want. Rather, think of questions like:

"Is there a project that we can work on together?"

"When would be a good time for me to call to discuss potential projects to work on?"

"I would like to be considered for project X, when can we have a discussion about this opportunity?"

Often, when I talk to folks about this issue, they balk at this concept. They think asking such direct questions is confrontational. This is NOT confrontational! This is simply asking for what you want. It is simple for an art director to simply say, "you are not ready", "your skills are not up to my standards", "you aren't showing me that you can meet my needs", and any of a million truths about why they choose not to work with you a. Always remember, a "no" is a "no" for now. Not for ever. That turns out to be one of the most common reasons that folks don't ask closing questions...they don't want to be told "no". They don't want to be "rejected".

You are not being rejected. You are simply being told "no, for now". It is important not to take yourself out of the game now. Stay on the court!

If you get told, "no, for now" then be ready to dig back in there. Don't get depressed, don't get hurt, don't get small! Rather than tucking your tail and slinking off to lick your wounds, get back in the game and ask questions...

"Is there a specific reason that keeps you from offering me a project at this time?"

"Are there specific ways that I can better show you that I understand your needs?"

"If you don't have a project now, can I contact you in a month to talk about potential projects?"

And a lot of AD's are going to hate me out there for this... don't let the AD off easily. If they aren't giving you clear and understandable direction for ways to improve your presentation (remember, you aren't here for a 15 minute art are here to get a job, so keep it about your portfolio presentation, not "how to make an image look better"), then ask for clear direction. Make sure you understand what is required to secure a project the next time you meet with them.

...and so we come to a close. I hope that you found something useful in this class. Please let me know who things go for you when you utilize this information. If you learn something from it...share it!

In the meantime, I'm wondering what class to have next. Got any great ideas?

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