We love to buy, but hate being sold to.
We want to buy, but somewhere in our hearts lives a suspicion that “they” are out to sell us a tonic of watered-down beetle juice.
The manipulative salesman or charlatan palm reader takes up a lot of space in our buy/sell story.
I get it.
I drank the Love Buy/Hate Sell Kool-aid many times.
So I don’t know why it should surprise me when… an artist drinks it too – but it does.
Or maybe it’s not surprise so much as distress. Because I know, so well, that an artist who is going to make it in this world, in these times, either has a significant other who is brilliant at promotion, marketing and selling or the artist has to become brilliant at promotion, marketing and selling.
If not directly to their collectors and buyers, then it’s to a gallery/dealer. I know, I know… most artists think the gallery/dealer will do the selling.
They forget that, somehow, they have to get into that gallery/dealer and that means they have to sell their art and themselves to that gallery/dealer!
See, there really is no way around this massive speed bump in your creative path if you want people to buy your art.
So, where do you start?
Here -> gaining altitude on your attitude.
…because attitude is the beginning of all great adventures!
Suzanne (not her real name) said that selling her art made her feel like a car salesman—a refrain I’ve heard more than once.
Terry (not her real name either) said selling a piece of her work made her feel empowered—a comment I’d like to hear every time.
Not hard to imagine which artist will end up selling more artwork – given the quality of their artwork is strong enough.
Lucky for you, attitude is in your control, so the only person you can hold accountable is you.
After Attitude Comes Being Prepared
I’d like to make one thing perfectly clear: your art does not, never has and never will, speak for itself.
From the moment you put your work in front of another person, words will become part of a spoken conversation.
You can be prepared to direct the conversation where you want it to go, or you can let others define the conversation about your art for you.
There really is no right or wrong about either way – just consequences.
So it behooves you to make a conscious decision, which then becomes yours to change as time goes on.
However, if you are too lazy or too wrapped up in your own creative glory or too scared (but afraid to admit it), or simply too bewildered by what to say to whom, then by default others will fill in the blanks about your art.
Down the road, you may want the conversation to be different.
When you’ve taken charge of the words around your art from the beginning, that is a whole lot easier than trying to talk over the ones who have already embedded themselves in your art story.
Here are 3 areas where being prepared will give you the conversation tools you need from the beginning:
1 – Your descriptive sentence (a curiosity teaser about your art)
2 – Your artist statement (how and why you do what you do)
3 – Your bio (art related only)
What Comes After Being Prepared?
I’m so glad you asked because I’ve just put together a Free Tool for you, my 29-Point “Sell Your Art – Stress Free ” checklist, and cleverly excerpted this post from that (I say “cleverly” because of my checkered history with blogging, as those of you who know my style will confirm).
Turns out that my checklist covers three areas of selling art that aren’t usually teased out: 1) You 2) Your Art and 3) Your Potential Buyer/Collector.
And, altogether, I’ve come up with 29 major checkpoints that will orient you when selling your art feels like the last thing on earth you want to do.
If this interests you, click here to join the party!
…because, honestly, you have the power to move the selling-your-art dial from icky slime to sublime.
You might have noticed a distinct correlation between my blog posts and the current Featured Product in the smARTist Store.
I’ve actually created a plan (different from flying by the seat of my skirt) for the Store.
Each month I’ll be exploring a new art-career topic and giving you a fantastic deal at the same time (love those win-wins!).