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Expressing Gratitude

by Keith Bond on 7/25/2011 10:32:53 AM

This article is by Keith Bond, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews.  You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.

There are many ways to show appreciation for the galleries which sell your work. Some of you don’t have galleries, but certainly you have individuals who have helped grow your business. Do you take the time to let your galleries, clients, and others know that you appreciate their efforts?


Gratitude goes a long way in strengthening relationships, including business relations.


Perhaps when a gallery makes a significant sell, you could call the deli next door and have them take lunch over to the gallery staff to show appreciation. I know an artist who does this on a regular basis. The galleries appreciate that he recognizes and rewards their hard work. They continue to sell well for him.


Not all sales will be large enough to justify paying for lunch for the entire gallery. But you can certainly show gratitude in many other ways.


Thank you cards are always appropriate, for galleries and clients alike. In fact, even if you do send lunch to a gallery, a thank you note should accompany it. Many artists create handmade cards or other handmade gifts. Other artists send books of their work to their clients. Some artists give prints or small paintings as gifts.


On more than one occasion I have given a small plein air painting as a gift, to both private clients and a gallery owner. I don’t do it often, but when I have done it, it meant a lot to the recipient. And I did it as a genuine expression of gratitude. I recognized what they had done, so I gave them something special.


Not long ago I gave a little plein air painting to a gallery owner who had made many significant sales in a few short months. It was a painting that she loved that was consigned to her gallery. In the month after giving the painting to her, she sold 3 more of my paintings.


On occasion I have taken clients out to lunch or dinner. These meals didn’t involve selling art. They were purely an opportunity to thank them and to build friendships. Relations were strengthened and most have purchased again.


Remember, though, gratitude needs to be genuine. It shouldn’t be done with the expectation of something in return. Rather it should be a recognition of something already done. Gratitude is an attitude, not a tactic.


Gratitude often begets more gratitude. Galleries are more likely to work harder for those who they have a good relationship with and for those who recognize and appreciate their efforts. Collectors are more likely to purchase from people they like. People with gratitude are likeable.


In addition to my few examples here, there are countless other ways to show gratitude. How have you shown appreciation to galleries or individuals who have been instrumental to your business?


Best Wishes,

Keith Bond


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Related Posts:

The Best Habit

The "Thank You" Card

Topics: art appreciation | art collectors | art marketing | FineArtViews | Keith Bond 

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jack white

Excellent piece. This is advice every artists should grab hold of and use. No one makes it alone. We all need help.

One thing we try to do. We find ways to learn birthdays and wedding anniversaries without detection. Recently one of our gallery owner was celebrating their 30ith wedding anniversary. We sent them roses. The best part is they didn't know we knew.

Another of our galleries doesn't celebrate birthdays so we find other times to give them a special gift or a thank you.

I hope everyone follows you sound advice. Well said.


Joanne Benson
Hi Keith, Excellent advice here! I agree wholeheartedly that we should show gratitude and appreciation to our customers, galleries and supporters. I recently started sending thank you cards as a result of former blogs here on FASO. It is a little thing to do but it means alot to the recipient. I recently gave a small painting to a friend who ordered a big commission but commented on how much she liked another smaller piece. She was delighted to get the smaller piece. And I am happy knowing it has a good home!

Bettye Rivers
Keith, you are so full of goodness and neat ideas! I love to read your articles. I always come away with ideas that I intend to use, though that does not always happen. Showing gratitude is something that all of us were probably taught when growing up and we just seem to have dropped it somewhere along the way. It's good to be reminded of the simple courtesies like please and thank you. Thank you Keith!

Esther J. Williams
Keith, I was just thinking about a frame company secretary who helps me a lot. She goes above and beyond the call of duty to assist artists. She collects (purchases) art from the artists. One day I was visiting her home and was amazed at the pieces she has acquired. She had one of mine in her bathroom. I decided yesterday to give her another small work that would compliment the first piece. She has no idea, but I love the element of surprise on people`s faces. Can`t wait to deliver it.
I have a few collectors that I wish to give some prints or small works to also. It is all god indeed to have good intentions, but my everyday life has been too busy to wrap packages and run to the post office. Maybe I can instead send a free high resolution download to print of a subject they love.
One customer wanted a picture of me, imagine that! I sent it and she printed it out.

Carol McIntyre
When someone buys an original, I make a blank notecard of that image. They love the surprise and some order more cards or they frame it to put in their office.

Your article reminded me that I gave a gallery owner a nifty tool bag for all of the tools she needs to hang a show. She greatly appreciated it and now all of those things are in one place particularly as she moves around the space.

geri degruy
I love this article and so agree. Gratitude is huge, vis a vis clients, and life. It builds relationships and it reminds us of all that is given to us.

I'm going to send a thank you right now as a result of your article.

Thank you Keith!

Carol Schmauder
The expression of gratitude is important in all areas of life, and in this time people don't show gratitude as they should.

I have blank note cards, like Carol, of many of my paintings and like to use them as thank you cards. Expressing gratitude does help build better relationships.

Sheila Psaledas
Good words to live by, Keith. Whenever I sell a painting I give the buyer a large card sized print of one of my paintings that has the message "Thanks for your purchase!" I can't tell you how happy this simple small gift makes my customers feel. They walk away with a big smile. Then, when I get home I send them a thank you card bearing the image of the painting they purchased with a short note of thanks. It brings people back. I guess it's just the same as when you have been hired by an employer or are leaving a company for another job to send a short thanks-it's a good business practice.

Brian Sherwin
I can see showing gratitude to a buyer. As for your art dealer -- I see it more as a business partnership. In other words, he or she should show just as much gratitude if your work is selling in the gallery. It is not a one way street in my opinion. :)

You should be thankful to the gallery owner and staff -- but I would say they should also be thankful to you for helping to keep the gallery doors open. That kind of mutual respect makes for the best partnerships -- it is key for good business.

Brian Sherwin
Also... I don't think a gallery owner or staff is going to push to sell your art more just because you buy them lunch or send a card. They should be pushing regardless. If you feel that the gallery is doing more just because you show the owner and staff gratitude you may want to ask yourself if the gallery is the best place for you to be represented. That is just my opinion.

Always remember that artists are instrumental to the gallery business -- especially if you happen to be one of the top sellers. Signs of respect coming from both sides of the partnership should be expected.

Esther J. Williams
Brian, I wonder about that too. I bought a gallery director a bottle of Dom Perignon once, she sold one painting for me in a year. Didn`t sell another one after that, so why should I keep giving? I am not with that gallery anymore.
Also, this reminds me of the Publisher`s Clearing House sweepstakes. Buying the magazines the offer isn`t going to increase once`s chances of winning the ten million dollars.
I invite another gallery owner whose juried shows I get into to our summer cottage that we rent for our barbeque. That is a good show of gratitude. We all have a great time and get to really know one another. Friendship is just as good too.

Donald Fox
I think that gratitude is a state of mind. We all feel grateful for many things in our lives. Each of us knows what those things are. Expressing gratitude is something else. That is a specific action or group of actions that lets others know our feelings whether a simple thank you, an acknowledgement, a favor, or a gift. As you said, Keith, the expression should be genuine. Gratitude is far more than another marketing tool. Thanks for a clearly exressed article.

Tuva Stephens
To show my gratitude I always send a notecard with one of paintings on it. Clients certainly appreciate those handwritten notes!

This article has made me more aware of other ways to consider showing my appreciation possibly to regional art groups.

Donna Robillard
Others may not really know the gratitude in our hearts until we demonstrate it in some way. It is often easy to get too wrapped up in our daily lives that we 'forget' to show our gratitude. Timely article to read. Thank you.

Marian Fortunati
Always a good idea... not matter whether it's friends, family or clients.

Jo Allebach
Could not have said it better, Marian. Expressed gratitude no matter if its friends, family or clients makes everyone feel good.

Lori Woodward
Great ideas Keith. Most everyone is struggling to make any sales lately, and it helps moral to receive and give a small gift.

You've given me some ideas because I'm sure my collectors (a small group of people) would appreciate my sending them a thank you, or small token of appreciation - without any implication that they need to purchase again.

Carol McIntyre
Just a little clarification on my custom note cards. I do not write in it but give them the blank card with their painting image on it and a new envelope. THis allows them to use it as they choose.

Tuva Stephens
Yes Lori. I need to send a package of my notecards to people who are have several pieces of my work.
I am positive they would appreciate that gesture.

Recently I have been purchasing small pieces of artwork from some artists who are my friends from a few co-op galleries. The artists are so appreciative and have said they were honored to have me purchase their work. I must say it is rewarding to me to own a sample of their work and it encourages them also.

Tuva Stephens
Great tip Carol about the use of the blank cards for their own use!

Sharon Weaver
The small things impress and make a difference. The idea of gratitude is one which enriches everyone's life. Practicing gratitude can't help but improve any relationship.

Keith Bond

Yes artists are in a business partnership with galleries. I believe that is all the more reason to express appreciation. If you don't appreciate your business partner, why are you in business with them?

I agree that galleries should also show appreciation for the artists they represent. And many galleries do. This post was simply directed to artists.

The gallery owner to whom I gave a little painting has over the years shown tremendous gratitude in many ways.


Keith Bond
One more thought.

Most galleries represent many, many artists. Whether right or wrong, gallery owners and sales staff are more likely to sell the work of artists who they have a good relationship with and know on a personal level over artists they only hear from once a year. Gratitude is only one small part of that relationship, but it is an important one.

I don't think the gallery owner who sold 3 paintings (after I gave her a small one as a gift) pushed my work more because of the gift. Rather, when a client expressed interest in those works, she can speak to them about me and my work with more sincerety because she knows me personally and we have a good relationship. It is more than merely business. It is a friendship. Certainly she would talk me up, and it would be genuine.

Had I never built a relationship with her - including showing gratitude - then when the client was interested in the works, she would have to rely on a script rather than speaking with sincerety. Would she have sold the paintings? Maybe, maybe not. But the likelihood is increased when she can speak about me on a more personal level.


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