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The Price is Right



I'll admit I am a little geeky when it comes to selling – understanding why people buy, giving talks on the subject, creating sales strategies with my clients and so forth. So although I subscribe to a few art blogs, I love to follow blogs that talk about hardcore sales too.

One of my current favorites is The Sales Hunter, which recently published this article about confidence warranting a higher price. And I agree that it's true – if you are confident and comfortable with your prices, your customers will be also.

It reminds me of many conversations I've had with artists who are, in fact, extremely unconfident about their prices and sometime even anxiety-ridden about them. They may have no idea what to charge for their work (which is a problem in itself) and are quick to discount, mainly out of fear.

But what happens when you are constantly running some type of sale on your website or Facebook, or at a retail show, or wherever you sell? Potential customers perceive that you aren't confident with your prices . . . and they won't be either. Do you want to market to a bunch of bargain shoppers? Trust me, they are not your target audience. They will either just wait for the next discount from you, or move on to someone else who is cutting their prices.

Discounting out of fear that you won't sell might bring in a little extra revenue, but it isn't going to make you feel any better. It will make you feel worse.

Rather than resort to running sales, consider adding extra value to your work and communicating that to your potential customers.

If you're still on the fence about running a sale or lowering your prices, try these tactics first while confidently holding your ground on the price of your work:

  • Make sure your presentation is impeccable. When your artwork is poorly photographed, it says you don't value it. Take a look at your photos and be honest with yourself about this. When your artwork is displayed in person, does your booth have an upscale look? Is your work treated and shown as if it has great value? Honor your own artwork by giving it the treatment and presentation it deserves.
  • Use packaging to convey value. What is the perceived value of your handmade jewelry if it's shown on a paper card vs. showing it in a stunning box, perfect for giving? Does the reproduction you are selling have a Certificate of Authenticity that comes with it?
  • Instill a comfort level for shoppers by clearly and fully describing your work, with enough information for them to make a decision. How is it installed? Is your work hand-washable? Do you take returns? Hesitation to buy isn't always about price. They more information you share, the more confident your buyers will be.

Carolyn EdlundThis article is courtesy of
Carolyn Edlund, founder of Artsy Shark, is a business writer, speaker and consultant for artists. She is the Executive Director of the Arts Business Institute, presenting at art business workshops throughout the United States. Carolyn works with artists every day in strategy sessions designed to help them structure their businesses, set and reach their goals. Find out more about scheduling your own business consultation with Carolyn here: window