Silence is a source of great strength!

Lao Tzu

When you break the silence after asking for the order before you get a reply, you give a waffling buyer a chance to ask more questions or back out of the sale. In selling in general and art specifically, the first person to speak after you make the offer typically loses negotiation power, which means they may compromise more than necessary.

The Power of Silence in Art Sales

While art business blogs offer a wealth of marketing advice, direct methods to sell art are rare. This post introduces a unique, easy-to-learn, and powerful art sales technique, such as the ‘power of silence’ and ’emotional storytelling.’ Remember, even more ways exist to develop your skills and sell more art, such as mastering the art of negotiation, understanding your target audience, and leveraging social media for promotion!

Attention-Interest-Desire & Action Lead to Sales

  • Marketing: Draws attention, grabs interest, and creates desire.
  • Selling: Moves the process from interest and desire to the final act of buying.

It takes consistent and efficient art marketing efforts to enjoy the chance to ask closing questions. Being prepared to rise to the challenge of managing closing situations is worthy of your time.

Artists with Better Sales Skills Enjoy Greater Success

As an artist, you constantly encounter sales opportunities with collectors, gallery owners, publishers, and more. No matter the situation, there’s always a point where the buyer needs to decide. Even a tiny improvement in your skills can significantly impact your sales and overall success. Here’s a valuable tip you need to know and practice.

The Art of Knowing When to Be Silent is Golden

The saying, “Whoever speaks first after you ask for the order loses,” might sound harsh, but it holds a valuable lesson. While we don’t want to think of customers as losers, the principle behind the saying is sound. The value of this concept has been proven time and again.

How to Find Art Collectors: A Trout Fishing Analogy
How to Find Art Collectors: A Trout Fishing Analogy



Silence Works: A Simple Truth

If you only learn one thing about selling, learn to calmly give the price, ask for the order, and then zip your lips. Doing this will close more sales in your career. After you provide the price and ask a closing question like, “The total is $2,900. Do you want to ship it, or would you like to take it with you?” then be still. Don’t fidget. Above all, do not say another word, no matter how long or uncomfortable the silence feels. Remember, the power of silence is in your hands, and it can be a powerful tool in your sales process.

SHH! Learn to Quiet Yourself and Show No Signs of Anxiety

Once you make the offer, there’s nothing more you can say. Anything you say prematurely to break the silence can shift the momentum. Nervously sputtering facts about shipping, sizes, or even the weather weakens your offer and robs you of momentum.

An interested but hesitant buyer may use your act of talking as an excuse to ask more questions or put off the purchase. Let them make the next move. However, selling should feel like something other than competition; losing sales because you spoke first can be frustrating.

The Standing Still Test

Standing silently still can be the hardest thing for artists, especially when every sale feels critical to their financial and emotional well-being. It’s challenging to remain composed and not want to do or say something that can tilt the offer toward a successful conclusion. But don’t give in to the temptation.

Your buyer is obligated to reply because that’s how human interaction works. They will either agree or offer an objection like: “I’m not sure the space will accommodate the size of the work.” “Can I justify the price for this work even though I love it?” “How will I get this artwork hung on that tall wall?” Or they might reject the offer. “I’m not ready to make the decision today.”

How to Find Art Collectors: A Trout Fishing Analogy
How to Find Art Collectors: A Trout Fishing Analogy



Then, what do you say?

I suggest,

“Okay, since you are interested and I value your opinion, it will help me to know. What made you decide to postpone the purchase today?”

Either you get an objection with a chance to overcome it, insights to improve your selling techniques, or information to reclose this deal in the future. It pays to know what to say in advance in these situations. You will improve by learning, and you can’t lose by trying.

Use Your Creative Imagination Effective Replies in Sales Scenarios

Consider such options and what you will say when they come up. While you can’t imagine every scenario, just having some standard replies will help you think on your feet when the usual or odd response crops up. You are looking first to close the deal now and second to glean information about what is left to make the sale happen or to conclude it won’t happen today.

Learn to Close with Confidence and Then Be Quiet

Your results will do the talking for you. Mastering the art of silence can significantly improve your sales outcomes. Remember, confidence and patience are key. Confidence in your product and patience to let the buyer decide without unnecessary pressure are crucial in the sales process. Trust your presentation, and let the buyer decide without unnecessary pressure. This reassurance can help you feel more at ease in the sales process.

Navigating the Silence: What to Expect

The silence can feel nerve-wracking after asking for the order, but it’s a golden opportunity to gauge the buyer’s interest. Here’s what might be going on in their mind:

  • Yes! An enthusiastic buyer might immediately confirm their purchase and discuss details like shipping or framing. Proceed to write up the order and express your gratitude.
  • Maybe. A thoughtful buyer might take a moment to consider their options. They might ask clarifying questions about the artwork, like the dimensions or materials used. Take this as a positive sign! Answer their questions with confidence and reiterate the value proposition of your work.
  • Not quite. A hesitant buyer might express concerns about price, size, or how the piece would fit in their space. Don’t panic! Objections are a natural part of the sales process and indicate continued interest. This response is your chance to address their concerns directly and offer solutions, like payment plans or sending them home with the artwork on a trial basis.

Understanding the different responses from buyers can give you a sense of control in the sales process. By being better prepared to manage the silence and move forward with the sale, you can navigate the sales process with confidence and control. This understanding empowers you, making you feel more in control and confident in your sales process.

Building Deeper Connections: Beyond Silence

While silence is a powerful tool, it’s just one piece of the puzzle. Here are some additional techniques to consider:

  • Emotional Storytelling: Sharing the story behind your artwork can create a deep emotional connection with potential buyers. Programs like the Artist Advocacy Project’s Storytelling for Artists course can help you craft compelling narratives that resonate with your audience.
  • Building Rapport: Start by engaging in genuine conversations. Ask about their interests, what draws them to art, and what they want in a piece. Doing this helps you understand their needs and makes them feel valued and understood. The Artist Advocacy Project offers courses like Conversation Sparkers for Artists that can equip you with the tools to have engaging and informative conversations with potential buyers.
  • Handling Objections: Effectively addressing concerns can turn a hesitant buyer into a committed one. Consider enrolling in courses that teach effective communication techniques, such as the Artist Advocacy Project offers.

Here are some tips for handling objections:

  • Listen actively: Respond to what the buyer says and avoid interrupting.
  • Acknowledge their concerns. Let them know you understand their hesitation.
  • Ask clarifying questions. Sometimes, a simple question can help you understand the root of the objection.
  • Offer solutions: Be prepared to address common objections like price, size, or fit. You can offer flexible payment options, suggest alternative framing solutions, or even propose a trial period for the artwork in their home.
  • Please focus on the value: Remind the buyer of the unique value your artwork offers, whether it’s the emotional connection they feel, the investment potential, or the artistic merit of the piece.

Following these steps, you can transform objections into opportunities to engage the buyer further and ultimately close the sale. This transformation leads to a successful sale and enhances your competence as a salesperson, earning you growing confidence.


The silence after the closing question allows the buyer to process the information and decide. By mastering your communication and remaining confident, you can use this silence to your advantage and close more sales.

Happy Selling!

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art marketing, how to sell art, sell art, Selling art

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  • Steagall-Condé says:

    Point of view on the process of selling art very interesting.

    Although I have "lost sales" much more related to a probable feeling of regret (which arose in the buyer because we needed a week to arrange an international shipment with the artwork on canvas protected inside a rigid tube and the Collector had time to rethink your purchase action), I have noted with subtlety that silence really is pure gold in these processes.

    I have been reached by Collectors of the U.S.A. mainly and I still haven't deciphered if it would be because of my current policy of affordable prices in the eyes of buyers or if it could be "simply" my graphic language (@steagallconde) and/or chromatic palette that I investigate on canvas.

    Eithout a doubt this article of yours is another important contribution to the art market , of course, especially for the Artists' side.

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