A great artwork in the right context sells itself, but it is you who establishes that context and it sure doesn’t hurt to be a good salesperson. In this article I want to share some tips to help you become one.
Who to chat to at an exhibition?
If you have time you should be chatting to everyone that will listen. However on some days you may have so many visitors that it is hard to know which ones to focus your energy on. If someone is really studying a piece of your art, they may be having a moment with it – go and talk to them.
I noticed that you are drawn to this artwork. What about it appealed to you?
Ask why they like the artwork; in explaining their attraction they will reinforce its appeal whilst revealing how they relate to it. This can be valuable to understand how you should frame the conversation when you…
Tell them a story
Art buyers LOVE to show their collections off to friends, and it always adds value when they have a fascinating story to go along with it. Think of some jazzy narratives to slap onto your paintings and give your collectors something to say.
Did you know this type of blue used to be the most expensive pigment in the renaissance?
Tell them whatever you like… just be authentic and interesting!
There are a lot of first time buyers who have only ever seen art in the context of a museum or national art gallery, where the work isn’t for sale. It is your job to encourage them to own a piece of this experience, and be able to enjoy it from the comfort of their own home. It also helps if you have your own art collection, because then you can share the fun of that with them (I wrote a blog on just this - click here to read).
I really believe that each one of my paintings has an owner out there. Seeing as you had such a connection with this piece, it would make sense for it to be yours!
If someone needs time to think about their purchase you should always encourage them to take it, but gently remind them that the painting is an original. Once it is gone, it’s gone. Collectors don’t want to miss out.
Offer instalment payment plans
If money is an issue, offer to accept payment in instalments. There are two ways of doing this (one is riskier than the other):
1. They put down a deposit, you give them the artwork, and then they pay it off over a number of months.
2. They pay monthly and once they cover the cost of the artwork they take it home.
If someone loves your art, but isn’t sure if it would suit their wall, why don’t you offer to bring it round to their house? Whilst you are at it bring a couple of other extra works that could fit the space as well. If you trust them, you could leave the artwork and let them live with it for a few days. If they have gone this far down the path it largely increases the chance that they will fall in love with it.
If they want your art, but it isn’t the right size or they want a specific colour, then you should offer to make a bespoke piece just for them. They love your work so be flexible and help accommodate their needs!
I hope these ideas will help you on the road to becoming a profitable artist. If you have some techniques of your own, please share them in the comments below!