The Needs of the Few Outweigh the Needs of the Many


I'll let you in on a little secret.


It takes a scary small number of the right people to make a substantial number of art sales.


When I was in the gallery business, I remember sold out shows that were sold out to only a dozen or so people.  12 people could make or break an entire show.  


I was one of our gallery's 2 main salespeople.  However, I'm also a computer programmer.  So one day, I wrote a database query to calculate my total sales for the year.  I noticed the same customer names appeared many times.  So I re-phrased the query to total the sales by customer.  I was shocked.  Don't hold me to the exact numbers, but something like 80% of my personal sales were from less than 20 people...not 20% but 20 people.  


I started lavishing a whole lot more attention on those 20 people.  My goal with new customers became to determine if they were "worthy" to be in the "top 20".  And my sales went up.


Who are your 20 people? [1]


If you know who they are, write them a personal note, pick up the phone, or have a private little get together with them.  If you don't know who they are, well, you should, and you've got some work to do.


Sharing Art Enriches Life.  Rock on.





Clint Watson

FASO Founder, Software Craftsman and Art Fanatic




[1]  The magic number is not necessarily exactly 20.  Indeed, the number got higher as time passed.  The point is to be hyper-aware that you have a AAA tier and...then a few "lower" tiers.  You need to know who that AAA tier is and pay close attention to those people.  And every single new customer has to be evaluated to see if they need to be added to the AAA tier.  I knew a man who owned 40 paintings by the same artist - that's AAA tier for sure!


[2]  The image is from Star Trek, when Spock tells Kirk, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few".  In the next Star Trek movie, Kirk and McCoy bring Spock back to life putting their own lives on the line to save him.  They tell him that sometimes, the needs of the one actually outweigh the needs of the many.



Editor's Note:  You can view Clint's original post here.


5 Responses to The Needs of the Few Outweigh the Needs of the Many

Curtis Tierney
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You hit the nail on the head with this one!

Linda Teeter
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I truly like your style!! I am one of your not so lucky making no online sales...I am also president of a NFP art coalition in joplin missouri and tell anout you all the time! Thanks for all you do for artists!

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Thank you for the reminder really needed to remember that as I close the year.

Sandra Rooney
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Dear Fellow Artists,
My desire to paint and grow as an artist has never been compromised by a desire to sell my works, please those who judges my works or to acquire fame. I measure some success by the many people who buy my prints. I have no words to express how I feel about my original paintings and sculptures except to say that I treasure everyone as a gift of love given to me by God through my small talent to create. I know it's corny and even silly to some who read this. If there are other artists out there that feel this way, I'd like to hear them express it. If fortune an fame happens, well that's nice but not my goal. I am continually motivated by an internal need to keep working, learning and growing as a student and teacher.
Art for Abba,
Sandy S.R.

Rebecca Fraser
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Just recently I had a dinner party and one of the quest fell in love with my work. She asked where else could she see my work. I told her about my website. She emailed days latter to tell me that she has been studying and will let me know what she has decided to purchase. Two weeks later she emailed and requested that I deliver two of my sculptures each costing $6,000. Happy day to say the least and thank goodness for my website where she could study in private.

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