- by Barney Davey
Asking for the best way how to sell your art is a loaded question.
There is no one size fits all answer because there are so many factors to consider… logic says it depends. (I’ll get circle back to respond to the method question soon.)
Some determining factors are:
- What kind of art do you make?
- What are the prices for your art?
- What are your career goals… are you a full-time artist, a part-time artist, or a serious hobbyist?
Those are for starters. Without much effort, you could build a list longer than an Arctic winter. Every situation is as unique as the art you make. Still, there always are common denominators. One inescapable aspect of selling art is you need buyers. Without them, your work remains unseen piling up in inventory.
To become a successful artist is a challenge.
You are like every other small business owner who needs a workable plan to move products and services and create sales. So, when you look at it that way everybody needs buyers.
The artist’s hurdle is unique and daunting.
That’s because you need to find buyers, but you also need to spend time making the art buyers will purchase. Plumbers don’t make pipes and hope they sell. Dentists don’t make crowns and fillings and put them in inventory. Retailers don’t make shoes and clothes and peanut butter. They source them from a supplier. So, artists are marketers, manufacturers, and often suppliers.
You are required to do more in the same time as other business owners. So, give yourself a pat on the back and realize it’s just the way it is. Accept that making art is a gift to you as the creator who gets to enjoy that special private moment when you step back and see a completed piece the first time.
You are required to do more in the same time as other business owners. So, give yourself a pat on the back and realize it’s just the way it is. Accept that making art is a gift to you as the creator who gets to enjoy that special private moment when you step back and see a completed piece the first time. And, it’s a gift to the future. Your art will outlive you and your heirs. Take pride in what you do. It’s important and valuable.
Your success depends on your ability to master many things.
In your role as the marketer of your art, as with all businesses, buyers are the essential ingredient to success. For artists, there are different kinds of buyers. Direct sales, galleries, publishers, agents, dealers, licensors, and others can all be a buyer of your work or a middleman in your supply chain. In my humble opinion, selling to buyers directly trumps all others by a country mile.
Here is my promised answer.
I asked in the subject line of this post, “What Is the Best Method for How to Sell Your Art?” Here is my answer, and I believe it applies to nearly all artists.
Find interested prospects who have the means to buy your work.
There are two parts to the equation.
- Interested buyers
- Can afford to buy your work
Without question, there is more to success than those things. For instance, your artwork must resonate and be compelling to your prospects, and you must have a competent system to communicate and market to your prospects. As with any business endeavor worth pursuing, you have many moving parts that require your attention.
Back to the question. It is about selling your art. And, buyers are a critical component. Without them, you don’t have a business no matter how good your art is or how much you make. That said, it should be obvious now that finding buyers is essential to your success.
What is the best way to find buyers?
You could answer this in many ways. My advice is to look for buyers where others are not. It’s a lot easier to stand out when you don’t have any competition. Art often is an impulse or emotional buy. That means while art buyers needn’t always be in the “looking to buy” art mode, they must be in the “open to buy” art mode.
If you have the money to spend and I show you a picture of the Gardens of Versailles where you recently vacationed or a magnificent black Labrador or a quirky perspective of a ’57 Chevy tail fin, you may become “open to buy” because magic happened when you saw the art. You were immediately moved into an “open to buy” status.
Now, even impulse sales are not always spontaneous. (That’s where a good marketing automation and follow up system puts you miles ahead. But, that’s a post for another day.) So, you may need to cultivate your prospect after you initially rock their world. But, the sale only happened because you found the prospect and turned them into a buyer. You found them and moved them.
You got this! You can do it!
One thing I’ve learned from 30 years in the art business is hustle, self-belief and determination matter. Making compelling art is the hard part. You can hire the rest out, or learn to do it yourself. You get results by taking action. You improve results when you measure and adjust. It’s that simple.
If you can teach yourself how to do this… and believe me, you can… then you can teach yourself to repeat the process. And, with every new sale, you get smarter and find ways to move prospects to buyers with fewer steps and less effort.
You didn’t start out making art like you make today.
You had to ramp up your skills, experience, and know-how to get to making “rock your world” kind of art. The same goes for selling your art. Your ability to sell more art will grow beyond your expectations once you commit to making it happen.
I want help you. That’s why I created this 100 Places to Find Art Buyers Mind Map. It’s a free download with no obligations. I’ll even send you a short video with helpful ideas on how to get the most from using it.