Marketing to Your Niche the Donnie Brasco Way

Guest blogger: Kathy McComb Swift

You want to sell your paintings or photographs of gardenias to the local garden club members, but they won’t give you the time of day. Have you stopped to consider it might not be your art but your approach?

Kathy McComb Swift, Cow Charm Bracelet

Kathy McComb Swift, Cow Charm. Sterling silver.

Look at it from their angle: they don’t really know you.

The garden club doesn’t know your background or where you came from. They just know you’re (another) someone trying to sell them something.

You might be part of a long line of people trying to sell them on a product or idea. Perhaps they just heard from the local fertilizer specialist about the hottest new invention and local high school that wants them to come teach a class on how to grow your own gardenias.

Why should they give you the time of day? Why should they listen to you?

Your Homework

Rent the movie Donnie Brasco. That’s right. I said watch a gangster flick.

Study how Johnny Depp’s character infiltrates the mob as an undercover agent. You can’t just walk into the mob and be a part of their group immediately!

Is trying to get in good with the local garden club any different?

Kathy McComb Swift earrings

Kathy McComb Swift, Earrings. Sterling silver, acrylic and handmade paper.

Selling your art to your niche market requires the same technique Donnie Brasco used: get them to trust you. Do you really think they will embrace you without first knowing you?

Watch how Johnny Depp gains Al Pacino’s trust. He befriends him, puts him at ease, and then Pacino introduces him to the mob as “a friend of ours.”

Once Donnie Brasco became a “friend of ours,” he was able to learn about the mob, study them, and find out what makes them tick. This is an important part of niche marketing! (How many times do you have to hear “make it about the customer”??)

Whom do you know at that garden club?
What can you do to make your approach about them instead of about you?
What can you do to become one of them?
Can you do it without being pushy?
Can you do it without someone questioning your motivations? (Do you sincerely care about gardenias like they do?)

Do you have the patience and tenacity to infiltrate your mob?

Kathy SwiftKathy McComb Swift is a jewelry artist, veterinarian, and online art gallery owner.  She creates two lines of niche-oriented jewelry showcased at Cow Art and More and KMS Designs

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5 comments to Marketing to Your Niche the Donnie Brasco Way

  • Often, to join the mob (like other clubs) there is an initiation ritual…You do something that proves how much you like gardenias…Like planting a bunch of gardenias…or robbing a bank…Clubs like proof…( a little less conversation a little more action…) Thanks for this hilarious post…I am going to try to find Donnie Brasco online…& plant some flowers…rob a bank maybe later…

  • What fabulous timing! This movie came up in conversation just yesterday, though I couldn’t think of its name.

    I’m currently creating a digital product, and during my breaks I’m brainstorming ways to “become part of the group” that I plan to target. I know that this insider’s status will help me greatly.

    Great post, I love the illustration!

  • lol, saw that movie last night. Funny light-hearted analogy and very good approach. Love this: “What can you do to make your approach about them instead of about you?” Great question, and one we can loose sight of when we are new at cold calling and all afraid or shy to begin with. I was painfully shy for so many years, and if someone did not want to purchase my work it was rejection and it was all about me. It took all the courage I could muster to even talk to someone and then if I my work was not received with open arms it was a huge set back. When I let go of my fear and got over the shyness, which was a crippling self centered way to go through life I started to do just what you are talking about, I learned more about the people I wanted to sell to and had fun in the process, making very good friends along the way.

  • Sari

    Donnie Brasco is in 16 parts on Youtube for free. I watched it today. Excellent fun, thanks for the heads up…

  • […] that seems to what happens.  I have had the pleasure of getting to know several niche sellers and read blogs on niche sellers and they say the same thing.  They created an item for which they know there is a market but the […]