I recently had the misfortune of attending a timeshare presentation that was, to say the least, stressful. A soft sell approach it was not! This got me thinking about how we, as artists, may need to approach a potential client. I personally would not recommend the high pressure sales tactic. I saw more than a few people leave angry, roll their eyes, some even shouted. How do you move nearer to a sale? What is your approach?
I don’t have a particular modus operandi when it comes to selling a painting and perhaps I should develop one. However, I do know that I would not pressure anyone to buy. I usually like to ask general questions about them just to get to know them and their interests. It’s always nice when you can find a point of commonality and it is a good conversation starter.
Having been an educator for quite a while, I enjoy teaching people about art in general and my artistic process in particular. Generally, I have found that you need to get the prospect involved in the paintings and the story behind the painting. Why we choose that particular issue, color, technique over another is always a hot topic as well.
We always want to know the impetus behind things. It’s just human nature to try and understand what motivates others to do things that they may be afraid to attempt or don’t comprehend.
If the prospect asks me precise questions such as color, price or framing, I read that as a “qualifying” potential sale. I then ask more pointed questions to ascertain what feeling, emotion, look or vision they are trying to create. My job becomes more involved as I help them picture, in their mind’s eye, how this painting might serve their purpose in their home/office and offer to help them set it up (a.k.a. as the puppy dog close). If the interest is still there, I ask for the sale.
I believe you create the desire to purchase a painting and your “selling approach” is to help the client see how it will fulfill the effect they want to recreate for themselves and offer them alternatives. I want a happy customer who will talk about the painting and energize others to visit me. I feel a soft sell approach which includes education and information is a better way to sell. Have you developed any particular effective soft sell approaches or techniques?