Tips on How to Sell Art to the Affluent Market
Let me tell you about the very rich people. They are different from you and me.– F. Scott Fitzgerald
There is a growing wealth divide in the U.S. and elsewhere. The buying power of middle-income consumers is down, while the top one percent alone holds more wealth than the middle class. Before 2010, the middle class owned more wealth than the top one percent. Since 1995, the share of wealth held by the middle class has steadily declined, while the top one percent’s share has steadily increased.
This post is not about wealth inequality but rather about helping artists like you find ways to sell your higher-priced works to people with the disposable income to afford them.
How Do You Feel About Money?
Your feelings about money, wealth, and wealthy people make a difference. Neutral to okay or better is good. Anything less is likely to hinder your efforts to market to rich people. It pays to understand and control your feelings so they don’t temper opportunities.
Birds of a Feather Flock Together
An educated guess is that you target your marketing to middle-class buyers, even if on a subconscious level. We tend to go where we are comfortable – birds of a feather flock together. What you need to do is start thinking logically, like top retailers. They have begun focusing on the next level, the affluent class, aka rich people.
The affluent market consists of those U.S. households with an annual income of $100,000 or more. Wealthy earners represent the top 20 percent of consumers. Since there are roughly 125 million U.S. households, the entire segment constitutes around 25 million households.
It’s Time to Discover How to Sell Art to the Affluent Market
In my Guerrilla Marketing for Artists: How 100 Collectors Can Bulletproof Your Career book, I devote much time to building a loyal following of direct buying collectors. Developing a collector base among the affluent greatly benefits your career. Fortunately, consumer trends, communication tools, and technology make getting this done not only possible but easy compared to the art marketing techniques of past generations.
Follow These Tips to Improve Your Original Art Sales to the Affluent Market:
- Ditch Your Bias: Get rid of your disdain for materialism, conspicuous consumption, or other negative traits towards the spending habits and lifestyle of those wealthier than you are. Learn to relax, be confident, and realize that the richest mogul still puts his pants on one leg at a time.
- Rise to The Challenge: You cannot effectively learn how to sell art to the affluent market if you are self-conscious about your income level or let your circumstances put a chip on your shoulder. To market to those outside your current income status, you must take the steps required to understand your customers deeply and profoundly.
- Fine-Tune Your Pricing: Design pricing for the optimum sweet spot between class and mass. Intelligent retailers are beginning to focus on the HENRYs market (High-earner, not rich yet). They earn an income of $100,000 to $250,000 annually. Many look for value rather than status.
- Make A Great First Impression and Build on It: From your initial contact, your job is to build long-term, professional relationships. Everyone on your team must buy into this relationship-building principle.
- Make Your Website Work for You: Your website is a significant factor in first impressions. It is your primary tool for influencing luxury buyers outside of personal contact. Think clean, simple, and elegant.
- Find Ways to Rub Elbows with The Affluent: Research the best group to join that will put you in proximity to the affluent market. Some examples include alum associations, Chambers of Commerce, charities and fundraisers, churches, synagogues, and other religious organizations, civic organizations, gourmet restaurants and food suppliers, garden clubs, sports and exercise clubs, antique cars, wine tasting events, economic clubs, fraternal organizations, and hospitals and other major medical organizations.
- Who Else Sells to the Rich People?: Use the list of occupations that sell to the affluent market to help you spot potential referral partners or collaborators. Some examples include architects, travel agents, financial advisers, real estate agents, luxury automobile dealers, auction houses, wine merchants, high-end boutiques, caterers, specialty chefs, and event planners.
- WOMMA Is the Best Marketing Strategy: Word-of-mouth marketing (WOMMA) is THE best way to gain quick access and acceptance for a group or a person through an introduction, recommendation, or referral. Networking is where you find new buyers and gain referrals to boost your art career.
How to Sell Art to the Affluent Market – Part Two
Look for the second part of How to Sell Art to the Affluent Market next week. If you are not a subscriber, click here to subscribe. That way, I’ll notify you when it is published.