- by Barney Davey
The less you offer, the more you lose when you win. Ask for the biggest order you can put together. If you sell with what is in your wallet, you always will lose sales.
Seize these concepts and use them to your full advantage!
The following suggestions are the result of lots of practice. On my day job, I take 30 – 40 calls a day. In the vast majority, I make the caller an offer to buy something. This gig involves doing tech support and selling web design, e-commerce shopping carts, domain names, hosting, email, SSL certificates and many other business technology products. I enjoy the job for the diversity it provides and because it supports my family, my blogging and other art marketing activities while providing generous benefits.
The job is fast-paced where I typically make 10 – 12 sales in eight hours. Granted, some sales come from those calling with direct intent to buy. More, however, are created by observation, consultation and asking for the sale. Many who call do not know about all the products we offer. Nor do they realize there are tools to help them achieve their goals. It is my job to help them use our products efficiently and to educate them on what else is possible by doing business with us.
I have modified what I do to make sales to make it about what you do: art marketing and selling art.
These practical techniques work for me everyday. Learn to apply these seven ideas and you will improve your art sales efforts:
1. Make offers that make sense. If someone is looking at mini-prints, pitching high-priced originals without qualifying first with probing questions you are likely wasting a selling opportunity. Conversely, do not assume someone is only interested in spending little or buying mini-prints until you have asked enough questions to know with certainty.
Someone might call to buy a $10 domain name and I could take their money, have a sale and quickly move on to the next call. By taking the time to be interested in them and asking questions, I might learn they need a custom e-commerce web store built for them with a price in the thousands. Or, maybe they want the domain for 10 years, but don't realize it is possible without me offering to them.
Obviously, you cannot just pepper and hound someone with questions. With some browsers, you will be lucky to get one or two questions. Don't assume initial standoffishness means no interest. Learn to engage and disengage and re-engage smoothly. Have some busy work to do to keep you nearby and available if needed.
2. The less you offer, the more you lose when you win. Ask for the biggest order you can put together. If you sell with what is in your wallet, you always will lose sales. You cannot predict what a buyer's needs, willingness and bankroll are. Buyers do not come with awareness of what is possible. You have to plant the seed by offering something that is probably out of your own comfort range. Learn to ask or present a large offer in the most casual natural manner possible no matter how anxious you may feel internally.
3. Mix your probing with personal questions, comments. Here are some suggestions:
Where are you visiting from? What is the art scene like in your community? Do you collect both prints and originals? Are you enjoying the city/show/art gallery? Isn't this weather….? I love your shoes, shirt, ensemble, watch. Did you find it somewhere locally? Many of our artworks are available unframed, on paper or canvas, or can be sized to fit your needs. What kind of art do you have in your home/office?
Each month, we have a featured artist, promotion. Can I tell you about them? Can we keep in touch with you via our monthly newsletter? By giving us your email address, you will automatically be included in the quarterly drawing for a free art print. Here is a brochure showing the most recent print won in the drawing?
4. Respond to your buyers intelligently. It is not your job to figure out what you think is the least someone has to spend and make offers on uninformed speculation. It is your job to gather enough information so you can wisely make an offer with the best chance to get the largest sale. By asking questions, you get information and stay in control of the process.
5. Offer Big. Throughout history, there has never been a case of someone injured because of making a big offer, unless you count hurt feeling over rejection. There are, however, innumerable daily instances of huge sales made because a seller presented a big offer they had not anticipated, but were happy and capable to entertain.
If your buyer strictly wants mini-prints, offer a package of one of each or a dozen images, etc. If the buyer is looking at giclées, offer three in different sizes, for instance one large and two small. If originals are on your buyer's mind, offer multiples originals and a consignment piece, or mix the order with giclées, or other fine art prints.
6. Courage Works! Each time you offer too little, you risk losing sales. Borrowing from the Bard, "Screw your courage to the sticking point and we'll not fail." It means when you are determined enough to succeed, you will take on whatever tasks need to be done. For many artists, selling is not second nature. Getting good at it requires practice and a dose of courage act confidently in scenarios where you may have little life experience.
7. Get out of your own way. Create great success by learning to do things far outside your comfort level. Buyers may have big means, but they do not think in big terms. Unless you are psychic, you will never know this without asking. Buyers are not prepared to think of a big offer, but all can process offers of any size when professionally presented to them. Many buyers will reject a big offer and come down to a lower price point, but still far above what would be a minimum offer. However, some will, to your unending surprise and delight, just say okay.
Get it in your head you are cheating yourself out of potential big sales every time you fail to offer big. When you find what you previously thought would have been an outlandish offer eagerly accepted by the buyer, you will understand the power of the big offer.
The high you will experience from having success on making a sale well beyond what your ever imagined will make you eager to want to do it again and again.
Determine to try these things and measure your results. You will find them to work amazingly well for you. I guarantee the only result you will get from practicing these suggestions is greater sales.
If you want more help on you career from me, I will be one of the many speakers the 4th Annual SmARTist Telesummit. Click here to get on on the mailing and to learn about the topnotch panel of presenters who are ready to help you catapult your career this January.