You’ve made a sale of your art or handmade work, and your customer is thrilled. Now what?
Closing a sale isn’t the end of the story. It can actually be the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Your retail customer is clearly a fan, and you should take that to heart. It means that they are now a collector of your work, and you have reason to continue to interact with them, so that more business can be done.
Is your work collectible? If so, you may have a long-term repeat customer who wants to purchase again on a regular basis. When you design and build out your collection, you may want to deliberately create work that invites future sales. Repeat business builds business. If you can make additional sales to each of your retail clients, you can generate more income at a much lower cost than gaining new customers. After all, it’s much easier to sell to someone who already loves and owns what you make!
Drive repeat sales by staying in touch with your existing customer base. Invite them to connect with you on social media. Keep them on your email marketing list, and send a monthly campaign eblast. Mail invitations to your next studio sale. Let them know about your newest work by sending postcards – or invite them to your next fair, festival, exhibition or other event.
Collectors in general are very pleased to get to know the artists whose work they own. Quite often they feel honored, and love to tell others about their friendship with you. Although you can’t cultivate a relationship with every customer, you can certainly get to know your top fans. Don’t forget to let them know how much you appreciate their patronage!
After a sale has closed and a customer is particularly pleased with their purchase, you may want to ask them for a testimonial. Many people are happy to give one, especially if you provided great customer service or perhaps worked with them on a special order. Testimonials can have powerful marketing impact, and have considerably more pull than advertisements. Word of mouth is extremely important to today’s customers.
When your work is installed in your customer’s home, or perhaps they are wearing what you make, ask if you can take a photo. Not only will you be complementing them on their acquisition, but with their permission you can share these photos on your website, on social media or in your other marketing efforts. This acts as a visual testimonial for you.
Another request you can make of your collectors is to share your work and your name with others they know who may also have an interest. This can lead to referral sales, which are also easier to close than “cold” sales. Have you had a raving fan bring your more customers through their enthusiasm for your work? It’s happened to many artists.
Have you established a good rapport with your current collectors? What benefits have you realized from their repeat purchases and referrals?