As an artist, you’ll always be searching for ways to gain more customers. Avoid these common pitfalls that can lose them.
Launching and growing a business selling your art or handmade work is a commitment, and it is not easy to do. It takes persistence and an understanding of how and why people buy. The more you learn about marketing and sales strategies, the more ways you can attract, cultivate and sell your art to customers.
That means also knowing how prospective customers can fall through the cracks. Have any of these happened to you?
Potential customers don’t “get” what you do. Whether you are in person at an art show, trade show or exhibition, or sharing your work on social media or your website, you have literally seconds to engage people with what you do. Is your concept obvious, or do you have signage, branding, or a tagline that grabs their attention? If you need to explain your work, you will often lose them. People tend to do what is easiest. If your work is a magnet, they get pulled. If your presentation is confusing, they leave. Take a look at your body of work and your presentation. Does it resonate with shoppers, both in person and online? Why or why not?
Failure to understand their needs. What do people care about most? Themselves. Your job when selling what you make is to engage the customer in a way that is relevant to them, and make an emotional connection. How does your work benefit them? Why is it compelling, and why should they buy? Do you have the answers, and do your marketing materials reflect this? If not, then you are allowing those potential customers to walk away.
Lack of follow up with prospective customers. Shoppers will rarely buy from you the very first time they see your work. It takes multiple exposures before most people even remember you. And, they will buy when they are ready, but not before. That means if you meet someone who is interested in your art, or if you get an email from a website visitor who subscribes, you must take actions to stay in contact. Failure to follow up is one of the most common reasons that sales are not made. If this is a problem for you, make note of it and create a follow up plan.
Inability to negotiate. When you calculate your prices, do you leave buffer room to offer any special pricing or services? If a collector wants to purchase several pieces of your work, can you afford to offer a 10% discount? Would you be able to give free shipping to an out of town customer if it made the difference in closing the sale? Are you willing to deliver and install your work in a local customer’s home? Do you drop ship, or gift wrap your work? Every time you can accommodate a collector in a special way, you overcome objections to the sale – and you may have a customer for life and a source for great testimonials, too. But if you aren’t flexible or prepared to offer these services, you could lose out.