Keep ‘em Coming Back

1. Make it easy for your customers to purchase more of your work.
I was at a friend’s house recently and admired a beautiful handmade journal she’d purchased at a local craft fair. Thinking it would make a perfect gift for another friend, I asked for the artist’s name. When she didn’t remember, we looked inside the journal and discovered the artist’s name and phone number were nowhere to be found. The result? He or she lost a sale.

Put your contact information on everything that leaves your studio: letterhead, invitations, show announcements, note cards, etc. Affix a personalized label on the back of each painting that includes your name, plus your e-mail address or Web site.

And send your new collectors home with an “Artist Pack”: a professional-looking folder with your business card, resume, artist statement, bio, articles about you and by you, and so on. You’ll be amazed at how often your customers will share this information with their friends and associates.

2. Ask for another sale.
When liquid shampoo first came out, it gave consumers a convenient and easy way to wash their hair. “Lather and rinse,” the label said. But shampoo sales really took off when just one simple word was added. Your shampoo bottle now says, “Lather, rinse and repeat if desired.”

Repeat sales can revolutionize your business, too. So display your work in your home and studio where visitors will see it. And when customers are making a purchase, be bold: Ask them whether they’d like to purchase a second (or third) piece. Ask your collectors for referrals to another collector or to a shop or gallery where they think your work might fit in. Or suggest a commissioned piece you’d like to do for them. The key here is to ask for the sale.

Mark Gottsegen is an associate professor of art at the University of North Carolina– Greensboro and chair of ASTM International’s subcommittee on artists’ materials

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