Develop Your Sales Savvy

Selling your art—whether at a show or in your own studio—can be fraught with emotional fears and misgivings. But after selling thousands of paintings, I’ve developed these effective steps for successfully clinching a sale:

  • 1. Make it clear that your artwork is available. Hang for-sale pieces in an attractive arrangement, then mount title and price cards next to each piece.
  • 2. When someone pauses to study your work, get to know your potential customer by initiating a conversation about his or her likes, preferences, interests and response to specific pieces.
  • 3. At the same time, be prepared to describe your medium, how you use it, your special techniques, your color and subject choices and your inspiration. Educating the viewer will help him or her develop a deeper appreciation and understanding of your work.
  • 4. If the viewer shows signs of enthusiasm and increasing interest, it’s time to introduce the concept of ownership. Often, the easiest way to do this is to relate an anecdote about a customer who bought a piece (yours or an artist friend’s), and how it brought joy into that person’s life.
  • 5. Since some people feel they can’t buy art unless they have a need for it, so be prepared to suggest reasons by saying, “Is there an empty spot in your home where you’d like to put a painting?” or, perhaps, “Were you looking for a present for your husband’s birthday?”
  • 6. Make the buyer feel comfortable with the purchase by offering the work on “approval.” In other words, tell the potential buyer that she can take the work home for a week and then decide whether or not to keep it.

    With that, your viewer will no doubt be taking your work home—probably for good.

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