Being a member of many different art organizations has allowed me to benefit from the wide range of programs offered by each one. This morning I attended a monthly meeting of the Littleton Fine Art Guild and was privileged to hear a talk by new member, Karen Kingirski who presented some very helpful methods of selling artwork (or any product) and how to best approach potential customers to gain their appreciation and business. Gleaned from many years in the furniture selling industry (currently at Colorado Style), Karen offered these following tips for first contact with a customer.
Many people are intimidated by walking into a gallery, so it’s important to greet them, but do so in an indirect manner, so as not to confront them directly. She suggests looking busy — a diversion such as dusting picture frames or rearranging displays. If they seem interested in a certain piece of art, offer to tell them about the object or an artist — so it is important as the sales representative to know what’s in your gallery and to know the artists. Be sure to review the resume books in the gallery when you have free time. “Can I tell you about the artist?” is a good way to break the ice and tell an interesting story. Once a dialog is established, the relationship becomes something other than just a customer and salesperson, it becomes much more casual, setting that person at ease. Discussing the procedures of creating different art forms also will engage a gallery visitor.
Karen emphasized staying positive in your discourse with a potential customer. Remember the acronym FAB: features, advantages and benefits. Explaining how the features of an object could benefit that person can be a persuasive factor in their decision to buy. And above all, listen to the customer. Let them talk about their needs— where they’d put the piece of art, what size or colors they’re looking for. Even offer them hanging advice if they need it.
When the purchase is finalized, include the artist’s business card to remind the new owner that they’ve purchased something unique and made by hand, by a local artist. Make them feel good about their purchase!