When you went to art school, you likely did not learn anything about sales or marketing. And, if you did, it was likely taught by someone who either did not want to be teaching the course or was not in a successful sales position themselves. This creates a massive gap between an artist, and their business: their art!
The good news is sales is something you can learn at any point in time. There are a lot of different levels to sales, but for this blog post, I’m going to focus on teaching you how to understand when you are in a sales position.
Part of learning sales is preparing to make sales, and then knowing when you have entered a sales position. Preparing to make sales includes things like photographing your art, creating a website, and knowing your talking points to sell your art and yourself, all of which are outlined in my sales checklist. But how do you know when you’re talking to a potential client? When you’ve entered into a space where you can...
Sales is a skillset that can be learned and can be practiced. You can BUILD your skillsets and sales muscles and the fun part is that there are no mistakes. You can absolutely take what is working or NOT working to figure out what you need to do next and from this grow your sales.
As an artist, learning sales might feel wildly out of your element. That’s okay! That’s what I’m here for. I’ve been in your position, I learned what worked and what didn’t work in the sales world. Through those experiences, I have been able to create a complete sales checklist, which I share in my Art MBA program. To help you get started, I wanted to share the first three steps you need to take for launching your art sales.
1. Organize your products
First things first, you need to get the products you’re planning to sell organized. Select 20-30 recent (within the last 2 years) quality pieces of work that you’d like to...
The world of sales, even with art, is much more than exchanging a product for money. It’s about a connection you create with a potential buyer and how that connection develops into a customer relationship.
These relationships sometimes come very naturally with someone, but other times, that relationship needs to be built. As the seller, building that relationship is your responsibility. Learning to build relationships for sales is not a natural interaction with someone, so you’ll need to practice. Don’t get discouraged if it takes a bit to get into a natural flow, simply turn the harder sales conversations into a learning moment.
You can do this by tracking how each of these interactions goes. Yes, I mean tracking how your conversations go – whether it’s good or bad, make a note of it and learn from it. I recommend keeping a notebook at your workstation so you can jot things down easily when you're emailing, on the phone, or...
When I started my gallery in 2001, I made a lot of mistakes that I was not aware of until I was painfully aware of them!
My top three business mistakes were: Not hiring a bookkeeper and an accountant, not hiring a part-time gallery assistant, and not having a CRM or a ‘Customer Relationship Manager’ that would help me organize all of my gallery inventory, contacts, and information that was being developed at that time.
As A Matter of Fact: I didn’t even know what a CRM was until I read my first ‘sales book’ at 26 years old, and it was mentioned. It was then mentioned in another book I read and when I heard it for the third time, I decided to take it seriously.
I went down the rabbit hole researching CRM’s for small businesses and galleries and found the software that I eventually started to use. It was custom made for galleries (not artists) and by the time I eventually got around to being able to afford...
As an artist, thinking of yourself as a CEO may have never crossed your mind. You probably think of a CEO as someone in a suit leading a board meeting in a major office building, which is so not you. But what if I told you that thinking like a could drastically change the trajectory of your art career? Seeing yourself as the boss will help you steer your career and goals and be successful, and I’m going to tell you why.
Establish a Clear Plan of Action
A CEO is often in charge of multiple responsibilities in a company including shareholders, employees, growth of the company, and making sure the company is in good financial standing. You might not realize it, but as an artist, you’re doing these same things for yourself and your studio.
When you take a step back and realize that you’re the one running every aspect of your art career, you can start to see how what you’re doing is parallel to the actions of CEOs all over the world. By...