3 Things Art Collectors Need to Know

by Carolyn Edlund

Potential customers need as much information about your art as possible in order to make a buying decision.


Customer shopping in an art gallery. Read about collectors at www.ArtsyShark.com


You’ve identified prospective collectors who have a genuine interest in your art. You will definitely want to cultivate that interest by sharing your story and the concept behind your art.

But that’s not all the information that collectors need, because much of the buying decision that they face is based on their own needs and wants. Basically, collectors need to know what’s in it for them, the details of the buying process and your terms, and whether they can get help or customer service if they need it.

Let’s take a look at these a bit more closely:

What are the benefits?

Since the customer’s biggest concern is themselves, it helps to be able to share how the art under consideration enhances their life, makes them happy or fills a perceived need.

In describing your art, you need to share its features, but phrase them in terms of the benefit to the buyer. Why does each feature matter, and how does it affect the customer?

Do your paintings work seamlessly with different styles of décor? What type of impact will they make in a room? Share this information visually by using an in situ photo that helps them experience your work in a different way. In situ photos or showing art in a virtual room can be instrumental to the sale.

Does your work fit into a standard frame, so they don’t have to pay for custom framing? Or, is your work ready to hang, so they don’t have to bother with framing at all? That’s a big benefit.

Is your original signature on each piece you are selling? Do you include a Certificate of Authenticity with your art? Many collectors believe the artist’s signature really matters. And, that certificate adds value to the purchase, too.

Are your materials archival? Acid-free? UV resistant? Museum quality? Eco-friendly? Tarnish resistant? Every additional benefit can make a difference to many people, and each one is a reason to buy. Salespeople refer to these as “selling points.” They can be a game changer in getting the results you want when working with potential customers.

Take a look at your own portfolio. Determine the features, and how you can turn each one into a related benefit. Be able to speak about benefits fluidly, and keep them in your toolbox to use when communicating with potential customers.

The facts, please.

Collectors don’t only need to know that the art they are considering is right for them. They have other concerns as well, which are more logistical in nature. Sharing this type of information puts them at ease with making a purchase, because it helps them understand how things will happen.

  • What are your prices?
  • How is your work shipped?
  • What are shipping costs?
  • Is it insured?
  • Who will install it?
  • Do you take returns?
  • How should your artwork be cleaned or maintained?
  • Do you need a deposit on commissioned work?

Place yourself firmly in the shoes of your own buyers, and make a list of what they need to know, given the work that you sell. Complete transparency on everything is best, and certainly helps when dealing with the third thing that collectors need to know…

Can I trust you?

There is a lot of mistrust out there, because ripoffs do happen. Without trust, no sales or transactions would take place, and your creative business would be stopped cold. There are a number of ways that artists can instill trust in potential customers, putting them at ease and making the sales process run more smoothly.

  • Clear, concise and professional presentation of your portfolio, your bio and purchase details
  • Your contact information, readily available to them
  • A written satisfaction guarantee and return policy, on your website and marketing materials
  • Testimonials from satisfied customers, with their full name (and preferably headshot)
  • Trust badges on your website
  • Your bio and CV, showing years of experience, as well as recognition and praise for your work

Are you providing enough information to your own prospects? Listen to potential customers to find out what they need that you are not currently providing. Usually, they will be straightforward if they are truly interested in the art you are selling.

Then, review your marketing, your website and your selling process to make sure you have provided benefits to your customers, as well as all the facts they need and a reason to trust you.


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  1. Hi Carolyn, I always find a lot of useful information in your blogs. I have been showing my art using the Oh My Prints Wall Papers app. Thank you very much for your advice.
    Verónica Chauvet

  2. BIO and CV—-What is CV?

    • CV is short for “curriculum vitae” which is a more comprehensive document than a resume, for example. It would include past education, experiences, public presentations, and professional development. It is a very complete overview of your experience, and might include all exhibitions, awards, press mentions, etc.

  3. Good information. But how do you get a trust badge on your site?

    • Hi Denice, Many sites will have those badges on their checkout pages (Shopify is an example of one.) I checked your website and see that you website is built on ArtSpan. I actually went through the checkout process there and see that they do not show trust badges. You might either ask their tech support to help you place an appropriate badge there if possible (they can tell you which services they use to verify that transactions are safe). If they cannot place trust badges on the checkout page, you might find out the services they use, and copy a logo of it (find this through online search – they are easy to locate) and put that on your website About page, FAQ page or other page where you have the ability to upload an image.

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