Art Pricing-Your Attitude Stinks up the Process
This post is in response to a conversation I overheard the other day at an art fair I was attending. The artist who whined the loudest was issuing verbal complaint regarding the lack of sales at the fair. I found it interesting because I knew that a few other artist I had talked to were doing quite well and were excited and upbeat about being there.
I overheard her loud complaints while I was standing in another artists booth space. As a bonified art and marketing geek I make it my point to check out as many spaces as possible when I go to any kind of art show. My ADD style of perusing had not yet brought me to her doorstep so I deliberately walked across to her booth so I could check out her work. (this is like a bad horror movie…you may see where this is going)
As I moved over and entered her space I didnt even get any eye contact. Not a smile a nod or a hello. Not a sneer, leer or even a snort. It was as if I didnt even exist. No love. Wierd, I was the only one in there at the time. After the cursory guy-type breath and pit check I decided I was clean and worked up the courage to approach her. Her work was really nice…very unique.
My question uttered forth, much like that of a school boy asking the new girls name. It was simple really, “Do you have prints available?” (I knew based on the original prices that a print would be a more likley purchase for me) My skin crawled as lady Godiva turned from her interior design magazine and set her stoney gaze in my direction. I felt I would lose bladder control as the velocity from her shriek-like answer threatened to tear my geek-glasses from my face. “I ONLY DO ORIGINALS!” Yikes! Stop,drop and roll man. I was out the doorway frantically searching for my wife and kids so I could save them.
C’mon. I hope she likes rice and beans sans beans cuz she aint selling no work that-a-way. Yep. True story by the way. Check this out though, first at a street show, expo or fair you cant control the environment or the type of person who comes in to see you. Variety is the spice of life here. Dont cha think it might make sense to leave the nicest high-end work at home? Use some prints, small sketches and less expensive stuff if your trying to drive sales.
In my opinion, the best way to treat shows that you dont get to control the enviornment, is as an entry to your marketing funnel. Showcase a high-end piece or two but try to cover your expenses with less expensive work. Use the opportunity as a marketing venue to start the ever-so-important relationship. Ask them questions about themselves, engage in the art of conversation. Art lovers enjoy talking with artists. You are the heros. Read Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and apply that information in an authentic manor. Be sure to have a point of collection via cards or clipboard so you can market to them down the road. (That should be the number one goal of most street shows or fairs).
You will find that you have more fun, make more sells on the spot and more opportunities for larger sells down the road.
Let me know what you think.