S is for Sales – An Acronym to Help You Market Your Art

By Aletta de Wal in Art Business Advice > A-Z Art Marketing Guide

Welcome back to “The ABC’s of Art Marketing”—an alphabet guide to marketing your art, from A to Z.

In today’s article, I’ll be focusing on the letter “S” for “sales.” And before I begin, I do know that many artists believe “sales” is a dirty word. But it’s not—it’s just the wrong word.

You see, I believe art is purchased, not sold. It’s a fine distinction but an important one. One that helps turn a distasteful “sales” process into the natural result of good art marketing.

Remember my definition of art marketing. Good art marketing should be like a series of conversations that bridge you, your art and your audience. The relationships that come from those conversations will be the bedrock of your future sales..

So let’s look at the word SALES as an acronym to help you work towards building those kinds of relationships with collectors:

S. Seek out viewers and venues

Getting exposure for your work is like laundry and dishes—it’s never done. You want viewers to progress as far as possible through the relationship cycle, from their starting point as complete strangers, to becoming raving fans and buyers.

Of course, getting exposure to the right viewers means paying attention to selecting the right venues. Everywhere you go, look around to see if the place you are in would attract the kind of people who like your art and your events.

When you pick the right venues, and get your art in front of the right kinds of viewers, you’ll experience those “winning moments” that make it all worthwhile—new relationships, a purchase, or maybe even just the feeling of an art show well done.

A. Act like an artist, from day one

Behaving “as is” is a great way to bring your vision of the ideal art career into reality. You may as well practice what it’s like to feel successful to keep up your determination to do the work to get there.

Think of every outing where you might engage in conversation about your art, as a performance. And have fun with it—bring out your best!

When you look like you are enjoying making or marketing art, that enjoyment spreads. At live events, people are drawn to artists who make them feel good. If they feel good they’ll spend more time talking with you and looking at your art. Focus on making people feel good rather than “pushing the product” (your art).

When you act with confidence during any discussions about price and value, you defray doubts that viewers may have about trusting that you know what you are doing and that you are asking a fair price.

Rehearse asking and answering all the questions about price and value so you are always ready for the conversation.

L. Listen for conversational cues

I’m using the word “listen” to include ALL of your senses as you interact with others. Hear the words, tone and pace of speaking. Look at the facial expressions, gestures, and body language. I talk much more about this in one of my previous “ABC’s of Art Marketing” articles, Listening and Learning.

Use what you gather from these cues to manage your conversations, whether it’s time to end a conversation, or take it to the next level.

E. Educate yourself and your viewers

Being educated about your audience allows you to more easily craft conversations that will convert their interest to purchases. Use every communication as an opportunity to acquire more information about the people who like you and your work and record that information in your contact database.

It’s also important to educate them about your art. “Sell” them on telling others about you. Find ways to insert relevant information about your work and accomplishments into your conversations. That way, it won’t come across as bragging or offensive. After all, if you’ve researched and taken the time to learn about your ideal collector, it will be relevant to them, too.

S. Say please and thank you.

The older I get, the more I sound like my mother when it comes to manners. But good manners are important, regardless of whether anyone made a purchase or not.

Getting in the car to attend a gallery show, taking the time to look at your artwork, making eye contact and conversation—it’s all evidence of the effort your viewers are putting in to be a part of your life, and it’s all worthy of reward.

Thank everyone for these actions, or for something else—even when it’s simply a “thank you” for the conversation. Even better say something that shows you’ve paid attention and indicates your interest in them, too.

Good manners may seem like a small part of sales, but in truth, there’s no better way to foster mutual goodwill than by being courteous and kind at all times.

Follow the links below to read more articles in “The ABC’s of Art Marketing”—an alphabet guide to marketing your art, from A to Z:

A – Appreciating your Audience

B – Building your Business Base

C – Communicating Clearly, Consistently and Cleverly

D – Diversifying Your Delivery

E – Educate, Entertain, Engage, Enrich, and Evolve

F – Fostering Friendly Familiarity

G – Give to Gain

H – Hiring Help

I – The 5 “I’s” of Art Marketing

J – Joining Juried Shows

K – Creating Good Karma

L – Listening and Learning

M – Mastering your Marketing Messages

N – Negotiating 101

O – Turning Obstacles into Opportunities

P – Procrastination & Perfection

Q – Quality & Quantity: Creating Art that Sells

R – 8 Rules to Improve Your Artist/Collector Relationships

S – S is for Sales (current article)

T – 30 Ways to Say “Thank You”

U – Switching from “I” to “Us”

V – Volunteering in the Art World

W – Write, Write, Write!

Y – Just Say Yes

Z – Zen, Zoom, ZigZag & Zowie


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