If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

Mahatma Gandhi

Learning the best techniques for how to sell more art is valuable because nothing sells itself.

To grow your career, you must learn how to sell art efficiently. It’s a crucial skill. Most people, let alone artists, are not naturals who know the best way to sell anything, much less art.  Fortunately, just as you can improve how you create your art, you can also enhance your ability to sell art. Anyone can do it.

Want more sales? Politely ask people to buy.

I have a couple of concepts you can use to boost your art sales. Let’s start with the straightforward and powerful opening quote from Mahatma Gandhi to set the proper frame of mind. What he’s telling us is to be proactive in our best interest and act on our behalf.

Now, check out these valuable lessons on how to sell more art:

  • OFFER BIG
  • Stop thinking about what is in your wallet; I’ll explain what that means shortly.

What does OFFER BIG mean?

Simple. It means whenever you are in a selling opportunity, you are in control, and as such, you can up the ante in a sale scenario.

Being in control means that you are the one who knows what is going on. Your prospect seeks information and confirmation about purchasing your art from you. A primary goal of my Conversation Sparkers for Artists course is to teach artists how to use questions and statements they write in advance to feel comfortable in these situations.

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

 

 

When you know where you want your interactions to go, you can gently guide an art talk to topics of your choice. Life’s short, and there are too few opportunities to rely on randomness. Instead, you can know and practice what you say in sales situations.

You may not feel in control or like you know how to sell more art

That is natural, but it doesn’t mean you’re stuck there. You may need to shake off some of the head trash holding you back to use your control correctly.

That means learning tips to calm yourself and realizing the best and worst that can happen in any situation. If you have internalized those parameters, there can be no shocks in a sales encounter. Then, you can take control and add more art to the deal. While it is unnecessary to close deals, Conversation Sparkers for Artists is a powerful tool that fortifies you with extra ammunition.

Deep breaths, positive thinking, and a determined attitude prevail.

At the moment, you can stop worrying and calm yourself by realizing that the best thing to happen is that you make the sale, and the worst is that you don’t make the deal. You want to be optimistic but never desperate. Visualizing that the sale has already happened is the opposite of desperation. Either way, buyers perceive you and the situation. Be calm and carry on, as the saying goes. Trust me. It works!

So you’ve conquered your fears because you realize life will be okay if you lose the sale. You start making more sales by being relaxed, proactive, and engaging. But don’t stop there!

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

 

 

Uplevel your sales with the BIG OFFER.

Here is where you come in with your calm control. Your prospective buyer can only think of buying what they see. The standard thing is that they are considering buying one piece of art. That’s because it’s how most standard, uninspired sales go.

You change that paradigm by making a BIG OFFER. Get an agreement for the first sale, then suggest an add-on. Your customer is already in an open-to-buy frame of mind. Does “Would you like fries with your order?” sound familiar? It should. It is a classic example of suggesting a realistic offer to a customer with an open wallet. And have no fear; you will never lose your original sale because you made an intelligent upsell suggestion.

Consistently asking for the big sale works. It is the key to an increased profit margin!

How does the big offer concept translate to your business? Easy. It would be best if you thought about packages you could offer someone in advance. If you are in a retail situation, such as at a show or in your studio, you already know you have an interested buyer. Instead of getting excited about selling one piece of art, why not suggest a suite of images, a commission, a portrait, or whatever else you have that enhances the sale?

Your customer is already in a buying mood with an open wallet, and conditions for selling more will never be better. So it’s free and fair to suggest adding to the sale professionally.

When selling a men’s suit, it’s courteous and thoughtful to suggest coordinated dress shirt and tie combinations to improve the result and make it simple and easy for the buyer to complete the wardrobe in one setting. But you’ll find top producers offering belts, pocket squares, and other suitable accessories. Kind and considerate customer service brings in add-on sales that make everyone happy.

Here’s How Artists Can Make the Art of the Big Offer Help Them Sell More Art

Let me tell you about my favorite deal—many other collectors love it! We can add a second 30″ x 40″ and two 16″ x 20″ giclees, and I’ll make you a sweet suite deal. Alternatively, would you prefer one large image and three smaller images in a package? This multi-piece concept is a beautiful way to make any setting look fantastic! 

Help Your Collector Visualize What They Are Getting. Big Offers Get Big Results

Paint a picture for them here. Mentally put the pieces in their home or office. “Together, these images in a grouping will complement each other and look spectacular in your home or office. The work is something you are bound to enjoy for years.” The point is to let them think about how hanging a suite of images enriches their home and brings them happiness.

Ask them to describe where the art will be displayed to help them visualize the concept. Lean in, ask questions, and show interest. If possible, offer a free service to hang the works as an added value benefit.

Work on Your Big Offer Until It Comes Naturally to You!

First, figure out your offer. Then, practice it until you can make the offer with conviction and confidence. I assure you that your results will dramatically change if you consistently make big offer suggestions.

You may be struggling to make the rent or working hard to make your second career in the art business profitable. Either way, being modest and cautious with your money is no sin. That said, you must leave out your sense of economic well-being and not project what is happening in your life onto your collectors. You can’t accurately presume to know the resources or interests of another.

It’s okay if you can’t afford the prices you charge for your artwork. That’s the case for all salespeople making high-end luxury goods. The process is about them, so fight against the angst that such economic balances sometimes create. They might say no, and many will, but you can only find the ones eager for your big offer by asking, as Gandhi tells us.

Never Judge What You Think Someone Can Afford to Spend

Remember, I told you not to sell with what’s in your wallet.

Never let any situation, such as being short on funds, enter the equation. Determining how much art they can afford is not your job.

To be as efficient as possible when selling your art, you must ask for the order and offer as an intelligent businessperson. Move from your role as an artist to that of a design consultant. You are helping them, guiding them to purchase something they will treasure.

Sometimes, you can see your buyer is unsure and wavering. Be the assurance they need. What’s wrong with that? Absolutely nothing. “I know you will love displaying these pieces in your described setting. Let’s write this order to get them on their way to their new home.”

Choose to act to assist the sale proactively.

If you have a problem with offering big because you are shy, uncomfortable, or what have you, here is a bit of tough love:

If you want to sell art to the best of your ability, get over what’s holding you back! Don’t be the cause of your problems. Be the solution.

Is your attitude costing you money?

You have to realize you are dealing with intelligent adults who can tell you no thank you. However, if you never present the offer, you are guaranteed not to sell art in large orders every time. Most people are not that original in thinking big for themselves. They usually require you to tell them what they want and will respond to creative offers, even big ones.

HINT: After you make the offer, SHUT UP. I don’t care how much time passes. Smile, be relaxed and casual, and wait calmly—wiggle your toes if necessary. If you start talking before they respond, you have effectively taken them off the offer. If they change the subject, you should answer the question and ask if they like the suggestion for the BIG OFFER. The goal is to get back on track.

It’s always 100% free to ask and costly if you don’t suggest the enhanced package. You can give your offer a name with a backstory to make things fun and exciting. “I call these offers ‘The Diana Special’ in honor of a designer I work with because she loves how displaying multiple pieces of my art makes the rooms and vignettes she designs pop with style and uniqueness. She opened my eyes to new possibilities.”

That’s an example you can use as a template to develop your unique, intriguing, and brief backstory about your offer. It will take time and careful thought to construct such conversation sparkers. However, the side benefit has enduring value for your life and business. That’s because they are essentially exercises in mindfulness and abundance. And you never go wrong or have too much of either.

Do As Shakespeare Said

So as the immortal Shakespeare adroitly put it, “Screw your courage to the sticking place, and we’ll not fail.” Through Lady Macbeth, he tells us to set aside our fears and gather our courage to do the deed. In these times, you must leverage all you have to sell art in the desired quantities. Employ these basic ways to sell more art concepts in your daily business and watch your sales and confidence grow.

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  • Great overview for someone trying to wrap their head around where to start to make money. Someone like me :)Thanks a lot!

  • Mon Sun C says:

    Thank you for this article. Lot of great information and a good reminder for me to start considering taking negotiation classes just to start building this ‘negotiation muscle”.

  • Dear Eric, Mon and Ronald,

    Thanks for you comments and kind words. It is encouraging to hear back from you!

  • Thanks for more sound advice, Barney. We all need to learn how to get out of our own way.

  • Julio Sergio diaz says:

    These is the best advice! It gives not only ideas, but encouragement! I am an artist and is not easy to sell! THanks

  • Patt Robles says:

    I very much like your idea of offering a second painting as an incentive to purchase the first one! I paint large landscapes and I will try to do this and offer to paint one of the client’s own favorite view.

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