7 Ways You Might Be Scaring Off Potential Buyers

Art buyers often have as many insecurities about the process of buying art as you do, which means they are sensitive to the signals you’re sending.

It’s your job to reassure them that they are making the right decisions – and you can do so in very subtle ways without resorting to sales speak.

And it has just as much to do with what you don’t do and say.

Here are seven practices that will scare off your audience and potential fans.

1. Being indecisive about prices.

Indecision makes you appear less confident.

Set your prices after you’ve done your homework and be ready to share them in person and online.

If you’re ever pushed for a price that you aren’t certain about, say, “Let me check my list and get back to you. I wouldn’t want to give you the wrong price.”

2. Apologizing for your art.

The apologetic artist who brushes aside compliments about her art is not market-attractive.

I am not in any way condoning arrogance. I’m saying that you need to hold your head up and say “Thank You” when you are given a compliment.

As Julia Child said in Julie & Julia, “Never apologize. No excuses. No explanations.” Along the same lines . . .

3. Playing down the fact that you’re an artist.

Heart surgeons don’t look at the ground and say, “I’m kind of a heart surgeon.” When someone asks what you do, you shouldn’t respond meekly with, “Well, I’m kind of an artist.”

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Advice for Those Who Want to Help the Artists in Their Lives

A nice man named Curt recently wrote me a heartfelt email. He had a strong desire to help his introverted, talented son with his art career.

“I’m wondering if you would have advice for the non-artist helping the artist?” he asked.

I started by acknowledging Curt’s love for his son. “Your son is very lucky,” I said.

I added a few words of encouragement and, after much thinking, this is what I want to share with him and with all non-artists who want to help the artists in their lives.

Accept me.

Don’t try to change me.

I may dye my hair pink or show up at your office function with paint under what remains of my fingernails. I’m okay being the nonconformist in the room as long as you’re on my team.

Understand the way I work.

I like to be alone.

I need to be alone. A lot.

Space is good for me, so when I say I need to be in the studio, please don’t

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How to Make a Dynamite First Impression

You only get one chance to make a first impression. True? True!

Competition is fierce in today’s art market, and you must distinguish yourself.

How will people come to know you? More importantly, how will they remember you?

Consider this advice when you want to be memorable in the right way.

Be prepared.

There is no excuse to go into a meeting or situation blindly when you have the virtual world readily available. A simple check with search engines or a social media account might lead you to a treasure of information.

Conduct your research in advance to show people that you’ve heard of them – this always impresses.

You might also discover facts in your research that will help you skillfully navigate any conversation.

Be on time.

The little computer we all carry around in our purses and pockets has made it far too easy for us to be tardy to appointments. All we have to do is text someone to tell her we’re running late.

This is usually fine when you know the other person well. It’s not fine if it’s your first meeting or if you make it a habit.

Be interested.

People will think

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How to Turn Your Collectors Into a Sales Force

You have a sales force right under your nose: your collectors.

The people who loved your art enough to buy it and live with it are your biggest fans and are probably itching to share your art with their friends, families, and colleagues.

Help them out!

Your first step to turn them into an art-selling brigade is to stay in touch with them. Sending email newsletters, private emails, postcards, and holiday and birthday cards keeps your name in front of them.

People are more likely to remember to recommend your art if you remind them that you’re still working in the studio.

Here are some ways you can make it easy for people to promote you and your art.

Suggest an unveiling.

Collectors are proud of their acquisitions, especially if it’s something they’ve commissioned. Gently suggest that they host an unveiling of your art.

With their friends in attendance, you can yank off the black fabric and give a little talk about the piece.

Be ready with business cards, brochures, or flyers about your work.

Have a show in a collector’s home.

Everyone likes to help out artists! If your collectors live in homes that

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5 Ways to Follow Up with Students in Your Art Classes

The follow-up process for students is different than that for buyers and collectors.

Once someone has studied with you, they are likely to take additional classes from you, which means it’s just as important to follow up with students as it is with your collectors – if you want to grow your class sizes and offerings.

You have to show students that you care before, during, and after the program they enroll in.

Here are five ways to do that.

1. Ask for Evaluations and Testimonials

Evaluations can help you improve your offerings while showing students that you care about the experiences they’ve had with you. You’re asking to hear their opinions.

Evaluations can also be a source of testimonials for your programs – if you ask the questions the right way.

Keep your evaluation short. I suggest some variation of these three questions:

What did you most enjoy about this class?

What was your

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Have You Lost Friendships Because You Are An Artist? (Curious Monday)

Painting of 3 women by Pam Beer

Living the life as an artist is hard enough, but it’s made harder when those we’re close to don’t support us.

We need people around us who can support us emotionally – people who believe in our message to the world. It really stinks when friends and family don’t believe in our goals.

Have you lost friendships because people couldn’t support your life as an artist?

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Awe Your Collectors With This Follow-up Plan

Converse shoes

You might be leaving money on the table.

People who buy from you once – whether it’s a work of art or your teaching services – are more likely to buy from you again than people who have never bought from you.

It’s less effort to nurture relationships with people who already know, like, and trust you than to find new people to share your art with.

Take care of the people who have purchased from you. Show them you care now instead of contacting them only when you want something from them.

One of the biggest mistakes artist-entrepreneurs make is not following up with people who have given them money. Here’s a plan to awe your collectors – not just once, but over the course of your relationship.

If you sell art from your studio, rather than through a gallery, you have no excuses for not following up appropriately. You have the name and contact information of your collectors. Gallery artists envy you because that data isn’t usually shared with them.

Follow this plan to stay in touch with collectors.

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Who Are The People On Your List and What Are They Doing There?

Erica Norelius, Dreaming of Sargent. Oil, 20 x 24 inches. Used with permission.

Art Biz Coach has been helping support artists since 2002.

There are 25,000 people on my current email list, and perhaps thousands more who have left that list. There are 9,000 fans on the Art Biz Coach Facebook page, and thousands more that are somehow connected to me.

My point: I’ve crossed paths with a lot of artists.

They buy my book, sign up as a private client, attend a live workshop or event, or learn from me in an online program. Others might comment on a post on my blog, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Every so often I come across some familiar names in an old file or document. They were active in the Art Biz Coach community at one point and have since disappeared.

I wonder what has happened to them. Have they given up their art business? Are they more active on other sites?

While thinking about the engagement level of artists on my list, I wondered if you might have some of the same people in your life.

See if these sound familiar….

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I Love Your Art But It's Not For Me

I love your art, but it's not for me | Art Biz Coach

You know the type.

She attends your show and tells you what a wonderful artist you are. This makes you feel good. You’re happy for people to connect with your work this way.

She comes to the next opening and gushes in a way that makes you blush.

She raves repeatedly about your art. I love your work! she says.

Yet, she never buys. She’s implying, I love your art, but it’s not for me.

What gives?

Exercise Your Courage Muscle

Who knows why people don’t buy. Maybe they don’t dig that yellow speck in the lower left. Or maybe they just emptied their bank account to pay for a root canal.

If not closing the sale is bothering you, maybe it’s time to exercise your courage muscle and ask the

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It's All About Your Mailing List

Michelle, a woman in my mastermind group, marveled at my list size: How did you get that many people on your email list?

It was easy for me, I replied, because I understood the value of a list when I started my business.

I was fortunate to appreciate the importance of a list due to positions in my past work experience.

How I Built My List

As an assistant to a U.S. Senator, I came to recognize that my boss’s donor list and my Rolodex (yes, it was that long ago) were the most valuable assets in our office to ensure continued community support. As a museum curator and educator, I knew how much we relied on our members and donors for financial support.

Lists are indispensable in both

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