A 1/2 to 1% response would be fairly reasonable for cold-calling I
reckon, but it depends largely on what you’re trying to sell!
During the period May 1996 to May 1998 we ran 3 separate direct
mailouts to targeted businesses - watchmakers and jewellers - of
full-colour A4 sheets of high-quality 'before and after" pictures of
enamel repairs and restorations. The mailouts went to around 1200
capitol city businesses each time. We culled the current year’s
Yellow Pages phone directory rather than use a purchased database,
and only chose those businesses with “bolded” or premium entries.
We printed the flyers ourselves using the brilliant Epson Stylus
colour printer, on coated photo-quality paper and including ink they
ran out at about AUS $ 0.30 per A4 sheet. Postage within Oz was then
AUS $0.43 per envelope from memory.
Of course the exercise was labour-intensive, but relatively
inexpensive, and more to the point, completely under our control and
able to be tailored immediately to particular potential clients.
The initial response (first month after the mailout) was about 1%
and about half of that number became customers. So, initially about
6 customers from 1200-odd mailouts. However, in the intervening
years a couple of dozen people who kept the flyer on file have been
in touch and I’ve done work (in a couple of cases quite a lot of
work) for them. My most recent result from this initiative was about
3 weeks ago - the watchmaker had kept the 1997 flyer pinned above
his bench all this time until he had a job he thought suitable. The
antique pocketwatch dial I repaired for him was finished and shipped
I think though that to sell your work on a wholesale basis, far and
away the best method is to make a short list of suitable galleries,
seek a formal appointment as high up the food chain as you can get,
and turn up on time, with both you and your range properly presented
in appropriate packaging. And have all the relevant paperwork
including order forms with you, to ready to go.