by Carolyn Edlund
In order to buy, customers need to see consistency in your body of work, and in your marketing efforts.
The other day I spoke with a new consulting client and asked her why she decided to schedule an appointment. She said, “Well, about a year ago a friend who had worked with you recommended that I call you, and then I started reading your articles. Recently I’ve been thinking more about going full-time in my business, and then I just decided to book an appointment.”
It’s easy to see that it took about a year for that customer to make a decision to work with me. This is not an unusual thing. Whether buying services – or buying a piece of art – the key is that the purchaser makes their decision when they reach the time of need or when they “feel” ready.
Many artists want to set up shop and start selling immediately to new prospective buyers on the first contact. And why not? Everybody would like to earn money fast. But that is unrealistic, because it’s not the way that sales happen most of the time. Unless you are selling inexpensive impulse items, your artwork must become familiar to your customers before they are ready to commit.
If you want to cultivate new collectors of your work, you need to be seen, and seen again. You need to be consistent; you need to show up. Over and over.
How often do you speak with someone viewing your art who tells you that they have seen your work before? They remember you, despite all the noise and distractions of daily life. Your artwork reached out to them and intrigued them. They want to see more. They want to continue the conversation.
Here is where pre-planning on your part paves the way for you to communicate with them in a manner that they understand and relate to. This is the point where you ascertain whether they are ready to buy, and work with them in choosing the right piece of art to purchase.
If they are not ready to purchase, stay in touch with them and invite them back for more, through an email marketing program, social media, invitations to your events, etc. This shares with your audience that your business, your artwork, and your presence in the market are consistent and professional. This creates a comfort level for art buyers. They know you are in it for real.
That comfort level reflects trust, which is the basis of all relationships. No one does business without it. Part of your job as an artist and an entrepreneur is to build trust with your network, your associates and your collectors.
After your collectors make that first purchase, stay in touch and remain consistent in your communications. Be ready to sell more artwork, because it’s always easier to make repeat sales to customers who already know you and love your work. Then, when the next time of need arises, when they are ready to buy, they will think of you and your work, and come back for more.
Art credit: Sharon Tesser