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Download Shameless Self-Promotion!

Margo is excited to announce that her book, Shameless Self-Promotion, is now available free right here on her website! Margo offers a new take on compassionate selling. With an array of selling experience under her belt in industries including printing, staffing, publishing, and the arts, Margo is an advocate for using sales to contribute to others’ quality of life.

Download here.

Shameless Self-Promotion

Margo is excited to announce her newest adventure: authoring Shameless Self-Promotion, her upcoming book that offers a new take on compassionate selling. With an array of selling experience under her belt in industries including printing, staffing, publishing, and the arts, Margo is an advocate for using sales to contribute to others’ quality of life.

Much of my adult life has been spent in sales. Like my father before me, it was something for which I always seemed to have a natural predisposition. I shocked my friends and family when I put that career path on hold to pursue a four-year degree in commercial art, but I’ve always been a salesperson at heart, both before and after my integration into the art world.

What is shameless self-promotion?

I understand the stigmas associated with the sales profession, and that’s why the idea behind Shameless Self-Promotion (SSP) is that sales, marketing, and public relations are not about manipulation. When I say shameless, I mean shame-free.

SSP is a sales machine that operates on the principles of generosity, compassion, and genuine desire to positively impact the lives of others. I believe this is the true lifeblood of sales. I am interested in sharing the gifts that have been bestowed upon me as a means of improving the lives of others, and my aim is to empower readers to do the same.

Planting seeds

The SSP method is driven by generosity and not scarcity, by connection and collaboration and not competition. The basis of the SSP  strategy is that we are “planting seeds.” In enrolling people to work with us, we are asking them to help us help them. In buying our product, using our service, or otherwise contributing to our project, they are benefiting from what we do.

This is a system that generates business while minimizing rejection, wasted effort, and pain.

Stay tuned for more sneak peeks at what you’ll find in Margo’s new book, and keep checking back for more information about its future release!

The importance of trust in sales

In sales, we need to build relationships. This means connecting people with mutual interests and complementary needs.

In my upcoming book, Shameless Self-Promotion, I talk about my mother.  She wasn’t schooled in business, which often inhibited her success – but she could sell! She used to say that selling was just a matter of going “blah, blah, blah,” and that indeed is what she did.

Let me explain: her jokes and stores were the sales pitch, and it worked. Regular customers based their visits to the store on whether they could see her yellow Mustang parked in the front. When my mother was most successful, it was because she sold a product that appealed to her peers – people with whom she’d already build that essential foundation of trust. They knew her, they liked her, they bought from her.

My mother’s best customers were people like herself – but that was also her limitation. The SSP system expands beyond the reach of one’s peer group alone – going beyond the aforementioned “mutual interests.”

Community is integral

Being a part of the community with which your target market aligns is essential to building the network of trusted connections that will make your business thrive. Seeing and being seen reinforces your status as more than just a salesperson – you are a member of that community, you have an interest in its success, and you are also an agent for that success.

The art of truly listening

If you listen for what your prospect needs, opportunities to be of service will appear. Naturally, when you have integrated yourself into the community you aim to service, you find the other half of the equation: complementary needs. As I’ve said, SSP is based on generosity, not scarcity; by connection and collaboration, and not competition. Following these principles and truly listening to the needs of your prospects will find you success in sales.

Margo is excited to announce her newest adventure: authoring Shameless Self-Promotion, her upcoming book that offers a new take on compassionate selling. With an array of selling experience under her belt in industries including printing, staffing, publishing, and the arts, Margo is an advocate for using sales to contribute to others’ quality of life. Read her first post about SSP here.

Stay tuned for more sneak peeks at what you’ll find in Margo’s new book, and keep checking back for more information about its future release!

Margo Jumps Again!

Not content with one skydiving adventure, Margo has gone back for more!

Sure she was scared, but as the skydiving coach pointed out, “Fear is a lack of faith.  Fear and faith can’t live in the same house.”

Check it out: Margo’s Adventures

Margo Elected President of IASG

Yesterday, Margo was again elected president of the International Artists Support Group and chairman of the Washington Color School Project Advisory Board.  Margo founded the IASG and served as its president previously in 1993.

Read more about the IASG.

7 Easy Steps to Successfully Promote your Art Event to the Media

When planning a gallery exhibit or art event, you want to not only fill the event, but maximize your artist’s exposure and sales by “getting press.”

Here are 7 tips to communicating with reporters and editors:

  1. Start building your press list as soon as you know your event date. Local monthly publications may require as much as 60 day’s lead-time.
  2. Decide which publications to target, based on what your target market (your buyers or potential attendees) is reading.
  3. Review each targeted publication to see which type of event story they general write. If there is a clear preference, make sure that’s what you pitch. There are two types of stories a reporter may write about your event. The first is a “pre-story.” That would run BEFORE the event and help to publicize the information to your target market. The second is an event story in which they would attend and review the event. Although this won’t fill the event, it could help full future events and boost sales.
  4. Maximize any type of story by making sure to include instructions for potential buyers who missed/can’t attend the event, such as a website where they can see more of the artist’s work (and purchase it and sign up to find out about future events).
  5. Know who you are supposed to be in touch with at the publication. It’s not very effective to send a “To whom it may concern” email or letter to a newsroom. Most publications will list their art editor or reviewer on their website or masthead, along with contact information. If not, simply call and ask.
  6. Target the editor or reporter in the most efficient way possible. First, email a press advisory. This is shorter than a press release and much more likely to be read by a reporter unfamiliar with you. Simply include a brief introduction explaining why you are inviting coverage, i.e. what is so special about your special event. Then include the who, what, where, when and instructions for the reporter to contact you regarding the event. Although this is short, don’t forget to write please and thank you! You may include links to a preview of the event’s artistic works, but do not include attachments.
  7. Follow up phone calls!  Call the reporters from each newspaper or magazine.
  • Ask them if they received your press advisory. Be prepared to tell them the exact date and time at which you sent the email, the email address it came from and the subject line.
  • Be prepared for them to fumble around and say they didn’t see it, can’t find it, and ask you to resend the email. Already have this email prepared so that you can simply hit the send button while you’re on the phone and they can look at it with you for a moment to see if it sounds like something they’d be interested in covering. However, you don’t want to wait in silence. That would be wasting their time. This is when you to start the spiel and tell them why they should want to cover the event for their readers. You can also tell them why it is similar, yet so special and different, to another well-attended event they recently covered.
  • Always take responsibility for what happens. Tell the reporter, “I will relieve you of the responsibility of following up on this.”   Don’t leave anything to chance or burden the reporter with anything more than what he already has to do.
  • Ask the reporter when you should follow up. Mark it on your calendar and be sure to call them when you said you would call them. This builds trust.
  • Stay positive and keep up the attitude that you are looking to help the reporter and the publication’s readers. If the reporter doesn’t think this is the right fit, thank them, let them know they can be in touch if anything changes and then remind them of your past conversations when you are in touch for your next event. Be polite. Even if they say no, being gracious will build your relationship for future events.

The basis of my marketing strategy is that we are “planting seeds.”

We are “enrolling” people to work with us, buy our product or use our service.

To continue with the planting analogy, these seeds grow at different rates and to different heights. In the case of selling artwork, some clients purchase a $5 painting, some a $500 painting, some a $5,000 painting.

But first we must plant those seeds.

So we begin to create a database of potential clients. You can brainstorm and make a list of “possibilities.” You will ultimately need a good system of keeping records of names, addresses, phone numbers, fax numbers and email address and what took place in your conversation with them, i.e the history.

I used 4” x 6” cards for this purpose up until 2003 when I acquired ACT!- an excellent software program. I also keep a database in MS Word so that I can print out labels and lists for telemarketing.


Do not say to yourself, “Oh, they won’t be interested in my work…”

You never know whether they will or not and you don’t know WHO they know!

This is very important. Think of WHO people know….(Amway calls it their “downline.”)

So you have a brochure, business card or some other promotional piece to sell your product or service. How do you use it?

Currently, our marketing strategy can be six pronged:

  1. In Person
  2. By Mail
  3. By Phone
  4. By Fax
  5. By Email
  6. By the Web

These are the ways you can reach people.  They all have their advantages and disadvantages. You want to use them all. Your overall strategy offsets their disadvantages.

1. In Person:

Your appearance is important. You do not want prospects to discredit you because your appearance is not appropriate—or “not enrolling.”

How you carry yourself. Your attitude.

One slogan I learned is “Be ten times more excited than you usually are.”

Be enthusiastic about your product or service. Be polite, kill ‘em with kindness.

Also be vulnerable.

“Tell one on yourself.” Admit your imperfections, shortcomings. Don’t be arrogant and perfect. It’s not “enrolling.”  “We are united by our imperfections.”

2. By Mail:

You do not want to be considered “junk mail” and have your mail thrown away immediately.

I have all kinds of techniques to avoid this. Whatever you choose to do, make your mailing as personal as your resources permit. Use colored envelopes, not #10 envelopes, hand address, hand stamp, etc.

I mail many many postcards. At one point I was mailing 300 postcards monthly. They were very well designed, very distinctive in black and white standard size addressed with labels and hand stamped. (I insisted on stamps that were attractive, color coordinated with one of the colors in the postcard.)

3. By Phone:

Telemarketing: This is a major effort for those of you who suffer from “ten ton telephonitis.” People who have difficulty picking up the telephone need to press past their resistance and use this very important marketing tool.

The first thing you have to do is organize your list of

  1. Who you are going to call
  2. Their phone number
  3. Where you will record that you called them
  4. What they said
  5. What you did after the call.
  6. Your calendar

After you have done the organizing, you are ready to call. You have your calendar handy in case you need to make some notes of upcoming dates or if you promised to do something in the future like meet with them or follow up a call.

Speed is important: velocity, urgency

You need to have things set up so you can go from one call to the next quickly.

The idea behind this is that you do not want to internalize rejection.

You are forbidden from replacing the telephone on the holder between calls.

I use a head set which permits me to have both hands free to type in what needs to be recorded in the database. Very often I document the prospect’s exact words. This allows me to read those words back to them at a later date and shows that I was paying attention to them and that they are important to me.

Move along very quickly.

Be positive and upbeat

If you need to run around the block before you make your calls to get your energy level up and get out of your head, do so.

You do not want to sound like you just attended your best friend’s funeral.

4. By Fax:

We broadcast faxed for awhile. I collected as many fax numbers as I could and hand faxed our especially designed fax for that purpose at night or after hours. People can get very angry with you if you tie up their fax machine during business hours.

I designed the fax around holidays to be light and cute and friendly.

5. Email

I collect email addresses. Whenver people invite me to their events or forward messages to me I “reply to all.”  This is provided of course that their recipients are exposed. (as opposed to “undisclosed recipients.”)  I can later use those email addresses to market my product or service.


People will pay attention to friendly greetings directed to who they are!

This is another important point. You want to find out what their “hot buttons” are. How to get their attention? Is it golf? Their dog? Their grandchildren? Their hobby of some sort? Travel? Their home renovation?

6. The Web

The World Wide Web is the latest and hottest means of communication/marketing. (I drafted this article in 1997 so this is a tad dated)  Some people have access to it. Some people do not. This is why you need a many pronged marketing strategy…so you can reach as many people as possible; you need to be versatile.

When you design a web site your product or service is available on a global level.

You can track to see who is interested enough in your product or service to spend 60 seconds viewing it and better yet respond.

The Negotiations

You make the presentation of your product or service.


Your prospective client objects. The next step is overcoming objections.

You should brainstorm to come up with the typical objections. Then create a way of overcoming the objection.

For instance, the most common objections are time and money. You can offer ways to work these objections out with your client.

This is basic sales. You can find books, tapes, videos on this subject everywhere. Read, listen, and practice.

I used Tom Hopkins’ tapes. I memorized the 12 tape, 24 side series. I can’t tell you that I remember it all but I remember significant techniques and I can always brush up when I need to do that.

Closing techniques

After you have gone through all the objections and you will use one or more closing techniques. These can be researched also.

An example is “the puppy dog close.” This is when you send the puppy, painting, car home with the prospect to try it out. You are banking on the fact that they will fall in love with your product, be unable to return it and call in their credit card number to you to pay for it.

Another technique is the “alternate chose close.”

“Would you like this red one or is the green one better for you?”

Another is the “door knob close.” You are on the way out the door, with your hand on the doorknob and you say, “This is your last chance, to save you and me time and money…. or whatever…”

There is also “the erroneous conclusion close.”  You say the wrong thing and the prospect corrects you. From that point on, he has bought the product or service.

Then you ask for the order.

Do you want my painting?

Once I said in a winning job interview, “I am dying to work here.”

If the answer is “no” it may be “no” that day, ask if you can have the conversation again in a week, a month, 6 months, whatever you think is appropriate.

Keep the door open. Do not take rejection personally. Stay upbeat and say, “Ok, you do not want to or are not able to use my product or service now, let’s talk again in a month, a year, whatever….

Then if you have an order form you say, “Let’s complete the paper work.” Do not use intimidating language like “order form.”

And you calmly write up the order in spite of the fact you have 8 million butterflies hopping around in your stomach with excitement.

ASKING FOR MONEY is difficult for many people.

Practice. And tell yourself it is just words. I see it as a challenge and something I can master if I choose.

So to conclude, you just keep pumping out information about your product or service one way or the other. Tell everyone what you’re doing all the time. Be enthusiastic!


How to be a “Collector”

Although my husband and I are not millionaires, we have amassed a large collection of artworks over the last 16 years.

There are 5 ways I recommend collecting art:

  1. Work in a gallery
  2. Establish relationships with artists
  3. Visit studios
  4. Go to galleries to see exhibitions of upcoming artists
  5. Go to the source of local artists: town, country or website

Our collecting is borne out of a solid education and passion for art and travel; it is not necessarily connected to having money.

After my sophomore year in college, the summer of 1960, I worked in a small art gallery in New London, CT called The Pequot Art Gallery. At the completion of the summer, the owners of the gallery allowed me to choose one piece of artwork to keep as a remembrance of the summer. I selected a collage by Joseph P. Gualtieri.

We have a small watercolor by Greg Grippo. Greg and I carpooled to art school from the shoreline in CT together for 3 years.

My husband worked at Yale University as a researcher and faculty member in the 1970s and 1980s.

During this time, Garry Trudeau (b. 1948) donated four sets of drawings and animator’s cells from the 1977 NBC television show A Doonesbury Special to an art sale in support of the Yale University Art School.  He purchased one of the four sets.

In 1978 my husband made a trip to South Africa with a friend from graduate school, originally from Durban, South Africa. While they were there, his friend Jill Adelson of the Durban Art Gallery introduced them to the work of Tito Zungu (1939-2000).  Zungu was a Zulu artist who worked as a farmer in his native homeland and as a cook in Durban.  He made his initial reputation as an artist by decorating postal envelopes with ballpoint pen drawings.  He later did a series of larger works, like the one we own, which is rendered in pen on acetate and framed by the artist himself.

William McCarthy (b. 1951) gave my husband and me a print, “Beyond Your Wildest Dreams,” as a wedding present in 1989.  Will was a friend of ours in New Haven, where my husband and I met.

We also cherish a watercolor is by Leonora Howlett. She allowed us to keep her painting rather than return it to Sydney, Australia after one of our International Artists Support Group (IASG) exhibitions.

In January, 2001 we took a walking tour of the R Street galleries here in Washington, and we came across a three-person exhibit at Gallery K.  We were struck by a series of large and small pieces by Erik Sandberg, which Joe Shannon, who organized the exhibition, likened to 20th-century surrealism; we also noted affinities to earlier styles of European painting.

Sandberg had recently received his MFA from George Washington University.  It was the very beginning of his career when we purchased a piece of his, one of only two that we acquired in the traditional way, at an art gallery.

The Three T’s: Turning Tragedy into Triumph


Margo Arnold shares her story to motivate change in others.

Read here.

5 Keys to Long-Term Recovery

1. Faith in a higher power. You don’t have to believe in “God.” You can make your higher power a door knob or a squirrel or whatever you want it to be. The point is that you’re not alone.

2. Habit. When I was working at Sir Speedy I found a recovery meeting that worked for me and I just went every day. I blocked off that time. It just wasn’t on my radar to do anything else.

3. Commitment. Know your belief system. Then it’s not hard. Something that told me when I went to my first 12 step meeting, I can trust these people. One time I drove across the state in a snowstorm because I felt vulnerable and scared and knew they would give me the support that I needed, make me laugh and tease me.

4. Picking up the phone is integral to success in recovery. You’re just supposed to make phone calls. You call people and they may call you back when you’re about to drink or in an anxiety attack…There was a time when I was living upstairs (and had several guys renting rooms downstairs) and going from call to call to call for up to 2-3 hours at a time to deal with the anxiety that I was experiencing. The guys asked, “How come the phone never rings?”

5. Support. I’ve found, created, paid, etc… to find the support I needed. For those who aren’t supportive – give them a wide berth. Kill them with kindness. Consider them a Teacher of how NOT to live. Smile and say hi because that person is in pain. That doesn’t give them a license to be mean and nasty to you or you to be to them. I had a naysayer who told me that no one would attend my summer arts event. She said no one is in Washington, DC in June and July; they’re all at the vineyard. Well, I worked my butt off and it was the highest attended event of this type at this venue!

How to thrive, not just survive: turning tragedy into triumph

GET SUPPORT: I went through five painful years of reconstructive plastic surgery. My family wasn’t able to support me because it was too painful for them.  I found a psychiatrist to support me. I’ve found, created, paid, whatever to find the support I needed.

VALUE YOURSELF: My gut told me that I deserved to get well; no matter that I was dealing with reconstructive surgery and a lawsuit at the same time.  I just kept getting up every morning and putting one foot in front of the other. My support system wasn’t flawless. I lost my first psychiatrist after two years and the next guy he referred me to didn’t work out. I think being first-born put me in a leadership mode. I had something in my gut that just said, “I’m not gonna curl up in the fetal position and give up.”

I have a friend in the fetal position right now. She’s 70, with more money than G-d; she’s gained 100 pounds; and can’t get out of bed. It’s not about money; it’s about valuing yourself. As much as my parents weren’t there for me, I got some message that I was valuable.

SEEKING LOVE AND APPROVAL: I have a picture of me at 6 months with a frown on my face, my mother in blue jeans and a cigarette looking at me like she didn’t know what to do with her first-born papoose. Even at that point I realized I had to achieve in order to get love and approval.

I’ve been an overachiever – two undergrad degrees in art, but I never did feel the love and approval of my parents. When my father drunkenly embarrassed me one night in front of my friends, my sponsor told me I’d never get his approval. It was like a kick in the gut…but I kept on and didn’t pick up a drink or a drug… I used my tools: my sponsor, 12 step program and therapy. I moved on and got approval and love elsewhere.

Sometimes I didn’t feel strong. Sometimes I cried. It’s not only be strong, but be vulnerable. Breakdown allows for breakthrough. Don’t be afraid of your emotions. “Feelings are just feelings, feelings aren’t facts,” as we say in recovery.

GENEROSITY TO OTHERS: You can’t keep it unless you give it away. Go through your day looking for kindnesses to give – and you will receive them in turn. A simple act that takes five seconds for you could have a profound and positive impact on someone else. They may be down and that smile, wave or other kindness is just what they need to get through the day intact.

TAKE RISKS: I’m kind of a risk taker. I just walk in the door and put one foot in front of the other. If they kick me out, they kick me out. If I’m rejected, I’m not going to break. When you’ve been through what I’ve been through these things feel miniscule.

FACE YOUR FEARS: When I have a challenge, I think, “This is nothing compared to jumping out of an airplane!”

For others who feel like they don’t take the risks they should, I don’t want them to go through a horrible life tragedy to face their fears. But something like facing your fears in a tangible, physical way like jumping out of a plane or doing a zip line works too. It’s important for adults to have adventures and new experiences too.