Most artists would rather cut off their right arm then engage in the entrepreneurial dance that we call “selling.” For many artists, I think that’s because trying to make a sale feels like an uncomfortable means to an end.
But selling your art doesn’t have to be forced and awkward. I believe that artists can develop a sales cycle that fits their personality and isn’t offensive to the buyer using these 3 C’s: Confidence, Conversation and Community.
Confidence is imperative for success. If you want to be successful you must be willing to do things that put yourself out there as an artist and an entrepreneur.
So on a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your confidence level as an artist? It may be best to rate yourself in each of the following categories and then take an average (go ahead, do it now):
1. Artistic creativity and vision
2. Technical ability
3. Marketing and promotion
4. Closing the sale
Whatever your score is now, that’s the baseline to measure your progress.
If you’re able to increase your confidence by one point in each category, what what would that look like? How would it manifest when you engage your ideal customer?
Remember, you control your confidence level.
True confidence comes from an internal choice, not from external elements that spin your confidence around like a weather vane in a windstorm.
Become committed to yourself and your art. Choose to be confident. People are always amazed to learn that you’re not only the salesperson, but the creator of the work as well. They are in awe twice over, so leave your fear behind—they’re more intimidated by your talent than you are of selling!
Soak up those good vibes and claim your work and your life as an artrepreneur.
How can something as simple as conversation be an effective sales tool?
When you come in contact with a potential customer you’ll naturally engage in a relationship ritual known as courting. What you need to realize is that potential customers want to know you so that when they show your work to friends, family and colleagues, they’ll be able to tell your story.
Therefore, your conversations should include your story, the essence of your brand. You’ll want to leave your customers with a strong idea of who you are, every time.
I’m not suggesting that all your future conversations be scripted—conversation is an art by itself—but I would recommend Debra Fine’s, “The Fine Art of Small Talk” if you want extra help in this regard. Her tips will give you the edge you need to invite prospects to become a customer.
Think of your sales process as a lively conversation, at a cocktail dinner for example, not a chore—it should be fun for both you and them!
Ever wonder why the airlines create club rooms and special lounges for loyal customers? They do it to build a sense of community.
Art buyers like to feel as if they are part of your inner circle—and they should be! So make them feel that way as part of your sales cycle. There are many ways to do it.
Show your customers that they’re part of your “inner circle” community through personalized invitations to openings and events. Have an annual function for collectors only (it doesn’t have to be at the Ritz, why not invite them to your studio?)
Or, set up a private showing. People always like to be invited to pass through the velvet ropes, like a VIP lounge.
Sales doesn’t have to be difficult or tedious. If you use these three C’s you can easily create a sales process which fits your personality and your market, and encourages art buyers to purchase again and again.