Do your research – and be prepared for others to research you

January 23, 2021
by Susan J Mumford

The fish on the bone was perfect. Scott’s, a famous seafood restaurant in Mount Street, Mayfair, was bustling.  Will I leave the restaurant with a new client? I wondered. It was already a done deal, I  just didn’t know it yet. 

I had met  Eric several weeks earlier, and he’d subsequently invited me  to lunch. When calling to make the invitation, he mentioned that he and  his wife were keen to bring in an art advisor to look after their  collection. On the day whilst sipping Chablis I pondered,  will they select me?

Mid-way through the meal, Eric made a fascinating  remark, I understand that fine dining is a  particular love of yours. How did he come up with  that?! I sat there in amazement and then,  click. I realised that he had studied my  LinkedIn profile. By the end of lunch,  we’d confirmed next steps for the business arrangement. Within a month I was curating their collection and my team was busy installing  it. 



Here’s what had happened: Eric and I met at a social occasion and had a pleasant chat. We swapped emails and connected on LinkedIn. He and his wife  looked at my website and LinkedIn profile and decided that I was the  right person for them. He invited me to lunch to discuss and formalise. 

In short, I’d arrived to be handed a consulting job on a silver fish platter. Thank goodness I’d  recently updated the LinkedIn profile. Had that not included adding expertise as an art advisor (as at the time, I was in the process of  building up the portfolio), I possibly wouldn’t have secured the lunch invitation to Scott’s, let alone the job.

The moral to the story equally applies to all art professionals. Someone you already know or meet for the first time might  be looking for a specific type of service (bespoke commission or  consultancy) or work of art. Have you clearly described your up-to-date  offering in your LinkedIn profile as well as other social media platforms? Have you received recommendations from existing clients or gallerists? Do you have visible activity and engagement? 



It’s well worth the time investment to keep your profile up to date on all social media platforms. Who knows, you too might end up dining at Scott’s (or your local equivalent) with a new client.

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Susan J Mumford

SUSAN J MUMFORD is a serial entrepreneur in the art market. She ran a gallery in Soho, London, from 2006-11, which was followed by the creation of the Association of Women Art Dealers (AWAD) in 2009, an international network with multiple chapters. In 2012 she launched Be Smart About Art, an online-accessible professional development platform. Then in 2018, she embarked upon her latest enterprise, ArtAML, which unites technology and art market know-how to help dealers keep dealing and buyers keep buying in the face of anti-money laundering legislation that hit the art market in 2020.

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