How to Sell More Art Using Persuasion

Sell more art in 2012! Use this information to help you. It is about using the art of persuasion to help you get more art sales.



Sell More Art in 2012!

If selling more art appeals to you, then this blog post will help you. It is about using the art of persuasion to sell more art.

Before we get started, let me say Happy New Year to you! Please accept my best wishes for making the New Year the most healthy, happy, productive and prosperous possible! My fondest wish is for you to sell more art and enjoy tremendous success doing so in 2012.

No Year-end Predictions or Lists Here

At this time of year, you find all kinds of predictions, reviews, lists and resolutions. It is human nature to want to create lists, and lists make writing copy easy. I rarely get anything useful from reading them, and I never make New Year’s resolutions. My take is if something is most important then I should not wait for some artificial date to get started making changes.

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The business of selling art has undergone many changes in recent years, just as how we interact with all kinds of businesses. We are witnessing changes coming at the fastest pace ever seen. And, for the most part, we are adapting remarkably well to them.

The quicker we accept new ways of doing things, the more the status quo for the old way of doing things gets out of whack. Bankruptcy and downsizing at K-Mart/Sears and the United States Postal Services are recent examples of how changes have disrupted traditional, old school businesses.

Everything Is Different and We’re Not Going Back

On a smaller scale, art galleries and art publishers are feeling the pinch of change on their business models. The art trade media and art tradeshow businesses that flourished less than a decade ago are near extinction. As a result, the rules for artists who want to continue to sell more art have changed.

The buzz on social media is so incessant it nauseates me. Honestly, there are times I just feel like canceling or just taking a long hiatus from Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn. It just seems like all sizzle and no steak for many users trying to harness these platforms for business.

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Is Social Media All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

Don’t get me wrong, I am not going to jump ship on social media, but I am reevaluating how I will continue to use it going forward. That’s not a New Year’s resolution; it is a growing awareness of my limited time and my determination to follow the mandate of one of my heroes, Steven Covey, who says, “Keep the main thing the main thing.”

ROI vs. Profits – It Pays to Know the Difference

You hear talk about Return on Investment, or ROI on social media. That is wrong thinking from my perspective. The way to look at any kind of marketing is to ask if it is profitable. Do you put money in the bank after time and expenses? Can you steadily repeat the same effect? If so, you have a winner. If you are not sure, or you are not generating profits from social media, or other marketing for that matter, then cut bait and look for better spots to fish.

I know there are some artists who are doing well using social media. Going back to the painting-a-day blog, there are those who are able to harness the power of something and then spend considerable energy and creativity to produce outstanding results. Certainly, there are numerous examples of artists using Twitter, Facebook, or other social media to generate sales. But, they are the exception rather than the norm.

Dance with the One Who Brung Ya!

The country saying in the header above applies to artists marketing today. What I see happening is artists are spending more time using social media at the cost of doing other things that are potentially much more rewarding.

If you need to set a goal or a resolution for next year, my advice would be to visualize where you want your art business to be in one year, five years and ten years. Honestly assess your resources, and where you are now, and then set realistic achievable goals based on the assessment. Of course, you will need to review and revise as you go along.

Word-of-mouth Cannot Be Beat – Use It As Often As You Can

The most powerful form of marketing remains word-of-mouth. The unsolicited testimonial from someone you trust, or just know, carries impact and influence that will help you sell art. Despite multi-million dollar marketing budgets, it is word-of-mouth that feeds the success of motion pictures. If you diss the new Sherlock Holmes movie, it will probably cause me to not go, or review my hunch I want to see the film.

This same dynamic works for selling art. If someone tells someone they suggest an artist’s work, it is going to bring more influence on the decision than anything you as an artist can do on your own to market to that person.

If you have read The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, by Malcolm Gladwell, you know he describes certain individuals as connectors and mavens. Whether you are aware of it or not, you know some of these people, or you know of them. They are the ones you want to persuade in 2012, and it not likely to happen on Facebook or Twitter.

I have written previous posts here about The Power of Believing in Yourself and how to use Six Degrees of Separation to get to the people most capable of helping you further your career. You can use your own determination, persistence and charm to plow through getting to the right people, but if you sweeten the deal, you will get better results.

The Norm of Reciprocity

Researchers have found, and your own intuition would tell you the same, that we are most likely to repay others for favors they have done for us. This phenomenon is called “the norm of reciprocity”.

So if you can do a favor of some sort for those who you target to ask for help in furthering your art career, then you will have conditioned them to react positively to your request.

In a two-part post, fine art photographer, Andrew Darlow, provided some practical ideas on easy affordable ways to use art cards and small prints to promote your art business. Check them because they tie-in perfectly with what I am telling you now:

Some last thoughts are to take the time to figure out where you are headed with your career. Find out who can best help you achieve your career goals and target them intelligently. Work on these goals for next year, even at the expense of social media and you will enjoy great results.

Finally, a borrowed thought from AdWords guru, Perry Marshall. This is so important and right in line with keeping the main thing the main thing. Learn how to quit pursuing and being distracted by $10 an hour ideas, or even $100 an hour ideas.

Focus instead on those things that can make you $1000 or more dollars an hour. If you don’t think that is possible, then you have abundance blocks you may need to work on. Certainly, if you don’t deem yourself worthy, no one else will either. I have complete faith that if you diligently and intelligently pursue achievable goals that I will see you at the top.

Happy New Year!

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Barney Davey

I help artists and photographers find buyers, sell more art and operate profitably.

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