Whether it is a face-to-face or an anonymous e-commerce situation, a key ingredient in your success in selling art is in being able to pass your excitement and passion to your buyers
In honor of the day that celebrates joy, love and passion, I offer the following thoughts on incorporating passion into your art business.
You have just put the final touches on a piece. Or, perhaps you have just unwrapped an artwork back from the framer.
At that moment, you are pleased and proud knowing the result comes from your creativity and ability. Learning to convey that feeling will catapult your career.
Whether it is a face-to-face or an anonymous e-commerce situation, a key ingredient in your success in selling art is in being able to pass your excitement and passion to your buyers. If you can reproduce in your art collectors just a fleeting bit of excitement and passion, you are well on your way to making a sale… and a fine art career.
In a face-to-face meeting, creating excitement is easier because all the senses are involved. One of my heroes who taught me by example how this works was the late Peter La Marche.
While he was not a visual artist per se, he was a visual creative force and designer. He was the founder of La Marche Moulding. For many years, I sold advertising and tradeshow space to him. In addition to him being my loyal long-time advertiser in Decor magazine and exhibitor in the Decor Expo shows, I considered him a friend, mentor, and role model.
Besides being an astute businessman, Peter was a passionate intuitive creative designer of high-end picture frame moulding. It was inspiring to me that he started a business on a late run that took him to becoming a successful entrepreneur with a multi-million net worth long after many of his contemporaries had retired.
Beginning in 1982 at age 56, he built over the next two decades one of the industry’s most successful and respected picture frame moulding operations. His designs were admired by framers and artists and frequently copied by competitors. It was very sad news to learn in 2003 he succumbed to throat cancer.
In the last years of his life, I lived a few miles from Peter’s warehouse and showroom. The proximity gave me the opportunity to visit with him on a regular basis. On each visit, I could count on him grabbing me by the elbow and marching me to wall where his latest designs were on display. He would take one down and start talking about the design in a passionate manner that was completely captivating.
It was this passion, personal attention and total belief in his product that would have Peter’s customers at tradeshows waiting patiently to talk with him despie reps being immediately available. In the picture frame patch, he had become both a rock star and a brand name.
Some might say his success was partly due to a cult of personality. I would argue it is a desire to share some time with a passionate creative force. There is nothing to keep you from having the same aura surrounding you and your work, and on terms that suit your personality.
For brevity’s sake, I will save the subject of how to impart passion into selling art online for another blog post. However, I will say if you make passion part of all you do, then it will translate into the bits and bytes just as it does into your work.
Being an accomplished woodworker, I admit to a fondness fine Italian mouldings. But, I could have never had the same deep appreciation for the product and the design and thought that goes into such a product without Peter’s passion. It poured out of him naturally. His passion was so palpable and real it would have excited a complete novice who had no clue what imported Italian moulding was about.
I was never going to buy a stick of moulding or write a magazine feature about him or his work. That was for others and he knew it. Still, his mission was to make sure everyone in his orb got a chance to understand what went into a design. To see him caress a corner sample with the same reverence as a fine sculpture was positively inspiring. I envy anyone who cares as deeply about what they do and then can translate that into pure enthusiasm.
Peter was successful by paying attention to all the details surrounding his business. That could make him tempestuous and difficult at times when it came to getting his way with placement in a show or in a magazine. But, when we were at that display board, none of that mattered. He was in his pure element passionately talking about the minute aspects of why this shade, this metallic finish, this flourish or what have you made the piece a work of art on its own merit. It would make you want to buy some even if you didn’t have art suitable for the moulding.
You can find numerous articles on the techniques of selling art on the Internet, including a bunch on this blog. They all offer great tips and suggestions for how to approach a customer and close a deal. So, I won’t attempt to cover them in this post. You can, however, find links to some of my previous posts on how to sell art below.
It may not be immediately obvious to you or as natural as it was for Peter La Marche with his moulding, but I guarantee it is there for you to tap on terms compatible with your own personality.
If public speaking, or just working sales is not your strong suit, then rehearsing what you want to say in such situations until it comes easily to you is a worthy practical goal. Whatever you do, if you imbue your words, actions and marketing activities with passion, you will enjoy greater success.
Whatever you do, let your mind wander back to the moment of finished creation. Find a way to describe how you felt when you stood back to admire the finished piece, impart it to your buyers and your odds of success will dramatically increase.