As promised I am running over some basics in regards to selling your product. This seems like a good time to do it since I’m actually preparing for my first event which is this upcoming weekend. My experience selling art is primarily through art fair events where I am the actual seller and these tips are geared for this market, as opposed to galleries where the gallery deals with the patron.
No Hard Selling Please
While hard selling works (think used car salesman) in the end I want anyone buying my work to be thrilled with the experience and definitely don’t want them to have felt pressured into purchasing. Repeat sales are a huge part on my income. I like to develop collectors since I tend to do the same events year after year. Anyone experiencing buyers remorse after feeling pushed into a purchase will not buy from that artist.
The Importance Of Quality
I know you’ve heard me go on and on, on this topic but it’s pretty important. Once again if a product lasts people will be more likely to buy again. For me that means no fading of framing materials or prints and especially NOT the original work from using inferior products. It does cost more but anyone who knows art will appreciate and value this and using all conservation grade products has sold more than one or two pieces for me. Art is often seen as an investment. It needs to last.
Keep it neat and professional. This means avoid overcrowding, (yeah I struggle with this one from time to time) never have art setting on the ground, keep it as open and spacious (ie not trap or cave like) so people feel like it “safe” to come in and browse. In a like manner try not to sit in the front. Buyers are wily prey and many will avoid entering on this principle alone.
The “S” Rule
Again regular readers know what this is Shiny Stuff Sells. Lighting is an absolute must for indoor events and when outdoors only use a white tents or canopies. You may think a colored tent stands out in a crowd but it will cast funny colors on your product and/or absorb light once again making your tent a “cave.”
Demonstrating Your Art
Patrons, art event staff and judges all love an artist working their medium. Now I realize depending on your genre’ this may not work but for those who it does, if at all possible demonstrate.
Giving Out Business Cards
So I am kinda against the flow of the general populace on this but I keep my business cards in the back or on my person so a patron needs to ask for one. My reasoning? Well … first if they aren’t willing to ask they probably don’t really intend to use. And most importantly it offers me a chance to interact with the lookie-lou and see if there is something I can help them with (ie to get them to buy now instead of later)
Handling the “Be Backs”
So anyone who has worked any kind of event here’s this statement dozens of times a day. Most people never do and never have any intention of doing so. I’ve come to the conclusion that people really want to tell you they appreciate your work but just not quite enough to spend money on it. Saying this allows them to assuage any guilt they feel for not buying anything. Which of course is unnecessary and has been know to excite the newbie artist. So if you’re a lookie-lou and really don’t plan to come back, then just say you really like the work and move on.
Now for the artist a good plan of action is to have some sort of incentive to bring them back to your booth. Like a flier or postcard saying they get something FREE (everyone’s favorite word) with a purchase made at this event. Now the free thing doesn’t have to be a big thing. Perhaps a free notecard or 10% discount. I also have offered a free shipping deal if they order from my website within the next month. This generally only works a handful of times. Again most people really have no real intention of buying. But then you just never know. NOTE This free promotional piece should not be advertised in front of other patrons or everybody will want to partake of the deal.
So there you have it. If you like more information on what I discussed here as well as more info on the subject in general please visit my squidoo page Selling Art: Tips From An Art Fair Veteran