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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How to sell art successfully - part 6

The essay below was written by Jeanne Rene Barousse, a student at Washington and Lee University.

This is one of the great institutions of learning in the United States where passions for integrity, writing and unfailing good cheer are developed.  The scholars that run this school are consumed with the elegant belief that the best qualities of George Washington and Robert E. Lee are worth passing down to future generations.  It is a joyful school.  And it has been this way for at least 45 years ever since my masters at the Hill School suggested W & L as a good place to correct my towering immaturity and selfishness.

Jeanne's essay about selling art follows:

While there are four steps on how to efficiently make a sale, an equally important thing is to hold onto a client with whom you have already established a relationship. There are many ways in which to do this. One of the ways is to send them books or offerings on things you think they might enjoy. Another is to keep in touch with them by asking how everything is going and if they are pleased with the art work you sold them. In addition to these ways which will help ensure a client continues to buy art from you, going to their events can be a way to express interest in what they have been doing in their busy lives. Another efficient way of keeping in touch is by having their name in Google alerts and congratulating them when they win awards or anything of that kind. There are many good ways to keep a client happy, there are an equal number of ways to annoy your client that need to be avoided. By avoiding the following ways, it will keep the client-seller relationship running smoothly.
The first of these ways is if a piece of artwork gets delivered damaged from travel. It is the responsibility of the gallery to ensure the safe arrival of an artwork, without ruining the frame or any other part of it. If this happens, things must be immediately remedied in order to fix the situation. Even if it is quickly fixed, there is still a chance that the client is no longer willing to buy anything else from you. This can be easily avoided if the packaging is done properly and will save the seller both time and money if done in the correct way.
Another way that is likely to bother a client is by asking a client to perform a mundane task which could be time consuming for them. If there is something that should be done, it makes sense that the person whom the client has working for them should do it. The reasoning for this is that you have been chosen to do something which will benefit the client and they are paying for you to do the highest quality job possible. In addition, most clients are busy leading their own lives and depend on other people to do certain things without getting in their way. This is a responsibility of the seller to the client to ensure they do not have to work extra at something you can do yourself.
Being late can also create tension with a client. By being late consistently, you are telling the client that they can wait around on you and that their time is not valuable. This can give a very bad impression, even if you have already established a relationship with them. Because of the bad feeling that can be created from what can be viewed as a lack of respect, it is best to always be on time. There are occasional instances when being late cannot be stopped but unless it is an emergency always be early to avoid being late.
Asking a client about their income, or anything related to money can also rub them the wrong way. By asking questions of this sort, it creates the feeling that you are only interested in the client if they have a certain status. While high rolling clients who have excess money to spend may be the preferable clients because they can buy art more frequently than others, each client should feel as though he is receiving the best treatment possible in every encounter that you have with him.
Another thing that should not happen is giving the client information that is incorrect. Even if you believe that you know the answer, unless you are one hundred percent sure about the answer to a question, do not answer it. If you say that you do not know the answer, you have the opportunity to look it up once they have left and respond to them once you have found the answer.  If you have a knowledgeable person nearby, you can also go to them for help because they may be able to immediately answer the question the client has asked you.
Overall, there are many effective ways to retain clients and many bad habits which can cause a client to break a relationship, or prevent the relationship from continuing. Through the use of the four steps on how to sell art and the knowledge of what not to do, a relationship can bloom into a long-term symbiotic partnership.

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