Tell Your Story, Sell More Art
The Price is Right
Confessions of a Professional Art Gallery Closer
How to Create Raving Fans by Telling the Story of Your Art
Burnout & Its (Sometimes Surprising) Consequences
How to Get Into A Gallery, and Succeed With A Gallery
The Power of Persistence
Build a Budget for Success: How I Tripled My Income in 2 Weeks
Learning to Sell Art: Investing in Yourself
Top Traits of Successful Artists
What Makes Art Remarkable?
Working for Free
The Evolution (and Re-Evolution) of An Art Business
Ann Rea: Artist, Entrepreneur, Instant Success
How Do You Know When It’s Time To Become An Artist?
8 Ways to Improve Your Online Portfolio
Artists, Do You Need an Agent?
The Power of Consultative Selling
How to Make Your Customers Fall in Love with You
Artist Housing Projects
The Pinterest Guide to Selling Art Online
Artists Who Sell: How to Write a Killer Sales Page (and why)
The 5 Biggest Mistakes that Artists Make on Their Blogs and How You Can Avoid Them
Business Plans for Artists: Here, I Did It for You!
How to Write An Artist's Statement That Doesn't Suck
How to Make Your Art Stand Out Online?
10 Strategies to Improve Your Art Sales
Social Sharing on Artist Websites & Online Galleries
Why Artists Should Avoid Gallery Representation
5 Art Pricing Lessons I Learned the Hard Way
How to Research Your Online Art Market
The Crowdfunding Guide for Artists: Part 1
12 Things all Starving Artists Believe
Personal Branding for Artists
How Paula Manning Lewis Has Sold More Than 30,000 Pieces of Art
How to Build An Art Business While Working a Day Job
The Benefits of Buying Art Online
Beginning Your Journey as an Artist
Art for Art's Sake
Back in the 70's, pre-internet (heck – PRE-computers, even!), I was selling art in some "big name" art galleries in San Francisco. I was a "natural" salesperson from an early age. It led me to a career in sales of high-end collectables and rarities; art, jewelry, antiques, but especially art. As I honed my skills, I became a professional "closer" in art sales. My entire job was to take the reins and lead the horses to water AND get them to drink.
The salespeople… er… I mean, the "art consultants", would jump through some very specific "qualifying" drills and then I would enter the closing room… I mean, the "viewing room." If the salesperson had set things up properly, I would close in about 10 to 15 minutes for an average sale of $2000. There were usually 10 consultants on most evenings and I would close several sales each night. My specialty was upselling. If someone really loved a limited edition print from a new edition we had just released, they surely would want two: one to keep forever and one to sell on the secondary market someday, right? Of course!
This was a well-oiled machine. I coached salespeople and wrote scripts for the telephone banks in the mornings and worked "closing rooms" at night. It was not unusual for these galleries to have a $500,000 month - in 1970's dollars! It was not unusual for me to be the closer on $200K and more in personal sales as well. There was ONE golden rule: create urgency.
One day, in the midst of closing a sale, I had a sudden change of heart; a revelation. I felt my early salesperson's heart; the one that wanted people to buy my Girl Scout cookies to help my troop. That little girl wanted people to buy a bunch of different kinds so they would get more choices. How do you choose between Do-Si-Dos™ and Thin Mints™? "Get ‘em both", I would say with that big "missing-tooth" smile. But I digress.
The bottom-line in my childhood selling was all about pleasing my customers. I wasn't making a penny from those sales, but felt more rewarded and happier than my art sales ever made me feel.
I began to feel that same powerful and deeply rooted desire to please my buyers in art sales. And from those feelings came a core lesson I still teach in my seminars today:
You must believe (always remember!) you have a deep and lasting impact on buyers of your art. Know that they will never have a better opportunity than today, now, (this very minute) to make that positive decision towards a lifetime of enjoyment.
Understand that when they leave sight of your creation, you are no longer able to help them win the internal battle between the increasing desire to own versus the decreasing hesitation to spend.
Your ability to tip the scales with encouragement is gone when they walk away. They slowly lose the passion, vision, and attachment they were developing; the connection to that part of their heart snaps. The fire dies.
They begin to forget how good the art made them feel. In hours, and most certainly in days, there is little anyone can do to rekindle the fire. They lose.
You don't lose. The piece will sell someday to someone, but most likely, not to them.
As you have already experienced and know in your heart, your collectors are forever thankful each time they lay eyes on your art and the life-enriching spirit that is seamlessly wound into your art and bonded with their hearts.
My best advice after 50 years of sales: Love yourself, your talent, your art and your client's long-term needs. Help them, guide them, and encourage them to become owners, today; not for the money - but because it is the right thing to do.
This article is courtesy of Carolyn EdlundCarolyn 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: http://www.artsyshark.com/build-your-art-business/