Artist Websites  Artist Websites |  Featured Artists |  Art Marketing  Art Marketing |  Art Contest |  BrushBuzz |  InformedCollector |  FASO Loves You - Share Your Art, Share Life

Blog


« Jacob Aguiar | Main | I Don't Get It »


Follow this Blog



Subscribe to our Newsletter



Quick Links

Artist Websites and Good Design
How to Sell Art
How to Get Your Art Noticed by Galleries
SEO For Artists - The Ultimate Tip

 

Blog Roll

Mikki Senkarik's Blog

















acrylic painting
advice for artists
analytics
art and culture
art and psychology
art and society
art appreciation
art blogging advice
Art Business
art collectors
art criticism
art education
art fairs
art festivals
art forum
art gallery tips
art history
art law
art marketing
art museums
art reception
art show
art studio
art supplies
art websites
artist resume advice
artist statement
Artwork videos
BoldBrush Winners
Brian Sherwin
Carolyn Henderson
Carrie Turner
Clint Watson
commissioned art
copyright
Cory Huff
creativity
Curator's Pick
Daily Art Show
Dave Geada
Dave Nevue
email newsletters
Eric Rhoads
exhibits
exposure tips
Facebook
FASO
FASO Featured Artists
Fine Art Shows
FineArtViews
framing art
Gayle Faucette Wisbon
giclee prints
Google
Guest Posts
Holiday
InformedCollector
inspiration
Instagram
Instruction
Internet Scams
Jack White
Jane Hunt
Jason Horejs
Jen Piche
John Weiss
Juried Shows
Kathleen Dunphy
Keith Bond
Kelley Sanford
Kim VanDerHoek
landscape painting
Lori Woodward
Luann Udell
Mark Edward Adams
mixed media
Moshe Mikanovsky
New FASO Artist Members
News
oil painting
online art competitions
online art groups
open studio
originality
painting
pastel
photography
Pinterest
plein air painting
portraits
press releases
pricing artwork
printmaking
realism
sculpture
sell art
selling art online
selling fine art online
SEO for Artist Websites
social media
social networking
solo show
SSL
Steve Atkinson
still life art
support local art
Think Tank
Twitter
watercolor
websites for artists
workshops
Zac Elletson




 Jan 2018
Dec 2017
Nov 2017
Oct 2017
Sep 2017
Aug 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
Apr 2017
Mar 2017
Feb 2017
Jan 2017
Dec 2016
Nov 2016
Oct 2016
Sep 2016
Aug 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
Apr 2016
Mar 2016
Feb 2016
Jan 2016
Dec 2015
Nov 2015
Oct 2015
Sep 2015
Aug 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
Apr 2015
Mar 2015
Feb 2015
Jan 2015
Dec 2014
Nov 2014
Oct 2014
Sep 2014
Aug 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
Apr 2014
Mar 2014
Feb 2014
Jan 2014
Dec 2013
Nov 2013
Oct 2013
Sep 2013
Aug 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
Apr 2013
Mar 2013
Feb 2013
Jan 2013
Dec 2012
Nov 2012
Oct 2012
Sep 2012
Aug 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
Apr 2012
Mar 2012
Feb 2012
Jan 2012
Dec 2011
Nov 2011
Oct 2011
Sep 2011
Aug 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
Apr 2011
Mar 2011
Feb 2011
Jan 2011
Dec 2010
Nov 2010
Oct 2010
Sep 2010
Aug 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
Apr 2010
Mar 2010
Feb 2010
Jan 2010
Dec 2009
Nov 2009
Oct 2009
Sep 2009
Aug 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
Apr 2009
Mar 2009
Feb 2009
Jan 2009
Dec 2008
Nov 2008
Oct 2008
Sep 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
Apr 2008
Mar 2008
Feb 2008
Jan 2008
Dec 2007
Nov 2007
Oct 2007
Sep 2007
Aug 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
Apr 2007
Mar 2007
Feb 2007
Jan 2007
Dec 2006
Nov 2006
Oct 2006
Sep 2006
Aug 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
Apr 2006
Mar 2006
Feb 2006
Jan 2006
Dec 2005
Nov 2005
Sep 2005
Aug 2005

 

The Biggest Question of Them All

by Luann Udell on 4/7/2016 10:16:24 AM

This post is by Luann Udell, regular contributing author for FineArtViews.  Luann also writes a column ("Craft Matters") for The Crafts Report magazine (a monthly business resource for the crafts professional) where she explores the funnier side of her life in craft.  She's a double-juried member of the prestigious League of New Hampshire Craftsmen (fiber & art jewelry).  Her work has appeared in books, magazines and newspapers across the country and she is a published writer.  She's blogged since 2002 about the business side--and the spiritual inside--of art.  She says, "I share my experiences so you won't have to make ALL the same mistakes I did...."

 

The scariest question to ask a potential customer is also one of the most powerful.

 

I was talking with several people who worked for decades in fine art galleries. We talked about the process, describing the entire process as a dance—an excellent metaphor!  

 

We “start the music” when someone first encounters our work—our body of work, our display and presentation of our work. We “ask the customer to dance” by briefly (BRIEFLY, people!) introducing our work. We wait for them to say yes, when, after looking at your work, they give you permission to talk to them more about it. Last, there’s the actual dancing part, the give and take of sharing your story, engaging their response, and responding to their story in ways that form a powerful connection between you, them, and your work.

 

I don’t know what to call the last part, when we’re supposed to “ask for the sale.” That’s the most important—yet hardest part--of the sales process for many of us (including myself!)

 

That’s also where the dance metaphor stumbles a bit. However, it may help to understand that the dance isn’t actually over yet.

 

Usually, I don’t have to ask for the sale. People either love a piece and buy it. Or they hesitate.

 

That hesitation is a powerful moment. Something is holding them back.  

 

I’ve learned that trying to guess what it, is usually doesn’t work.  I tend to instinctively think it’s about the price, even after I’ve explained my process (**time consuming**).

 

I’m surprised how often that’s not true. How do I know?

 

I ask them.

 

So simple. Yet it took me a few years to actually have the courage for this simple little question: What’s holding you back?

 

I ask quietly, gently. Often, the things that ‘hold people back’ are things they are hesitant to say out loud. It could be personal. It could be something they feel is ‘silly’ or ‘unsophisticated’ (though it’s still powerful.) It could be something they’ve never had to say out loud before. Whatever it is, many people—most people!—will usually keep it to themselves, rather than volunteer it.

 

And they won’t make that purchase unless you can address their concerns.

 

Over the years, I’ve heard surprising reasons why people are hesitating about purchasing my work. And what’s really surprising is, how easy it is to address those concerns.

 

Some are worried that the work won’t “go” with their color scheme.

 

Some are worried the jewelry won’t look good on them. (We human beings often have so many issues about our bodies, we often say no to something we absolutely love because we’re afraid we’ll ‘look stupid’ in it.)

 

Some people are nervous, because they aren’t usually attracted to things like I make.

 

Some people worry about my fiber work ‘getting dusty’ and being ‘too hard to keep clean’.

 

Of course, sometimes price is indeed an issue.

 

The important thing here is, if you don’t really know why the person is hesitating, it is almost impossible to propose a solution or resolution.  And almost every obstacle has its resolution.

 

To the person who worried the large wall piece would clash with their heirloom woven rug, I first I asked her about the room-sized rug’s pattern and color. Then I showed them how my color schemes actually go well with many other colors, including theirs. And then, the clincher: I let them take it home. (I asked them if it were okay if I wrote up the purchase as a credit card charge. If, after a week, they decided it wasn’t the right piece, they could return it for a full refund. If they decided to keep it, I would put the charge through, saving them a return trip to complete the transaction.) They agreed, and the sale was made.  (On their way out of my booth, they whispered, “I don’t think I’m going to be bringing this back!” We both laughed. But I still waited for the agreed-upon date before I ran the charge.)

 

For the person who worried how my jewelry would look on them, I have two strategies:

 

First, I turn to the other shoppers in my booth, and ask their opinion. I have to say, I’ve never had anyone say anything negative! (After all, if the other shoppers are avidly looking at my work, I’m pretty sure they like it.) The dynamic here is powerful. The group comes together, and encourages the shopper’s choice.

 

If the person has an enthusiastic friend, I ask their opinion. (Silent, cranky friends can be trickier—tread carefully! Make sure they’re on board before asking them.)

 

Second, I tell them my favorite story about a dear friend. She loves my work, but is self-conscious about her weight and her short neck. (I’ve told her we all have the same number of bones in our necks, but no one believes me.) She fell in love with a new earring design, very long dangly earrings, and immediately put them on. “But Ruth, I exclaimed, “you hate long earrings!” To which she responded, “Shut up, I’m taking these!” It always gets a laugh, and almost always, a sale.

 

To the person who is anxious about why they like something they’ve never seen before, we talk about what brought them into my booth, or my studio. If it’s a memory or a yearning, we talk about that. If it’s unknown to them, I talk about some of the themes behind my work—the push-pull of what it is to be human, of wanting to belong and wanting to be an individual, of a modern material (polymer clay) evoking prehistoric artifacts. It gives them permission to simply allow a work of art to speak to them, something many people have never experienced before.

 

To the person who worries about “dusty fabric”, I share my struggle to keep everybody happy: I started framing my fiber pieces under glass, in shadowbox frames, and how then people complained they wouldn’t be able to touch it. It gets a laugh, and then a discussion over whether they’d be happier with a framed piece, or if they prefer a ‘touchable’ piece.

 

Price is the easiest to manage. I offer to show them similar, less expensive options. If they stick with their first choice, I describe my unique layaway plan.  (Prewritten checks or credit card slips, to be deposited/run through on a mutually agreed-upon schedule. Which often results in them saying, “Oh, I’ll just take it, and take care of the credit payments myself!”)

 

Trust. Connection. Information. Choices. Integrity. Gentle humor (at my expense, never theirs!) Convenience. All of these are responses that can overcome almost every objective.

 

But before any of this can come together, you have to ask:

 

What’s holding you back?

 


 

Services:
FASO: The Leading Provider of Professional Artist Websites.
FineArtViews: Straight talk about art marketing, inspiration - daily to your inbox.

InformedCollector: Free daily briefs about today's finest artists in your inbox.

BoldBrush Contest: Monthly Online Painting Contest with over $25,000 in awards. 

Daily Art Show: Daily Show of Art that reaches thousands of potential collectors.

 



Related Posts:

Questions You Don't Have to Answer: Are You as Good As...?

Lessons From the Gym: Poor Old Michael Finnegan

Lessons From the Open Studio: Send me a postcard!

Lessons From the Move: California Dreamin'

Lessons From the Gym: The Dangers of Playing It Safe

Just for Today: Try Something Different


Topics: advice for artists | art collectors | art fairs | FineArtViews | Luann Udell | sell art | support local art 

What Would You Like to Do Next?
Post your comment Join Email List Follow via RSS Share Share

 8 Comments

Loading comments...





Rosemarie Adcock
via faso.com
Luann, thanks again for a great article. Lots to chew on. I confess I always assume either a person wants or doesn't want a painting and haven't explored those thoughtful moments when they're staring at something and thinking. I suppose if I stare at a painting and think, it's about technique, but collectors typically are thinking of where they might put something or how they'd pay for a painting. Of course one never knows until asking. I'll give that a shot. Thanks. :-)

Theresa Grillo Laird
via faso.com
Thank you for this post! Just in time for my art fair next month!

John P. Weiss
via faso.com
Luann- My assumption is that for a lot of people it comes down to money. Until they experience the joy of owning original art, many have a hard time justifying it. Which is why I love your creative and inventive approach. Providing options for payment, and of course showing them more affordable pieces, is a great way to help them decide. Great tips!

Luann
via faso.com
Rosemarie, don't rush it! Make sure you've already engaged with them about the piece--discussion about what they love about it, what it reminds them of, why you chose to paint it, etc.

There's a moment when you know they want it, and yet, they're hesitating. Give them a moment, go ask. Ask simply for the information, to understand what their internal debate is. Then you address the issue they're wrangling with.

If you ask too soon, before they've made the connection with the work, and with you, that's when it sounds forced, and therefore, faked.

John,I think most of us assume it's about the price. But you might be surprised how often it's about something else, especially if they don't express interest in the less expensive work.

I try not to make those assumptions anymore, because SOME people get annoyed when I assume they can't afford it. My assumption about their finances, and their annoyance about that, can unravel the connection we've established.

In any case, simply asking them lets the real conversation begin.

Aisling Kiernan
via faso.com
Terrific article. You have made me really think differently and more positively about something that I usually fear and avoid!!! There were several wonderful suggestions that I have never thought of before.

Lynne
via faso.com
Luann, This is such an excellent article on how to handle what many artists have no idea how to handle. Thank you!

Sonja Caywood
via faso.com
Such great advice! Thanks!

Indigene Theresa Gaskin
via faso.com
Your articles are always so full of great advice, engaging with the right amount of humor! I always learn so much for them. I never thought it could be anything but the price that deters sales. Thanks for opening my eyes. Now you've given me some great ideas and approaches! Thank you for your time, insight and experiences, they are so appreciated.











 

FASO Resources and Articles

Art Scammers and Art Scam Searchable Database

 

FineArtViews, FineArtStudioOnline, FASO, BrushBuzz, InformedCollector, BoldBrush
are Trademarks of BoldBrush Technology, LLC Licensed to BoldBrush, Inc. 

Canvoo is a registered trademark of BoldBrush Technology, LLC Licensed to BoldBrush, Inc

Copyright - BoldBrush Technology, LLC  - All Rights Reserved