Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Selling to First-Time Buyers


What are the obstacles to buying art for those who have never bought before?

  1. Insecurity
    • Feeling that they do not “understand” art well enough to buy
    • Fearing the negative judgment of others about their choices
  2. Knowing nothing about you
  3. Not knowing what “good” art is
  4. Not knowing if your work will last
  5. Not knowing what art is worth

You must address these issues when you are dealing with a first-time, reluctant or nervous buyer. You must exude your worthiAsk them: “Why are you buying original art?” Congratulate them on their decision to buy art; tell them how your work will address their desires.

  1. Have your portfolio with you and keep your list of buyers (and all sections) updated.
  2. Provide details about your most prestigious collectors/buyers.
  3. Mention your favourable other experiences with first-time buyers.
  4. Show them your reviews and publicity in your portfolio (but not outdated ones!).
  5. Explain that you use a price rationale to ensure the ongoing market value of your work (making it a safe investment).
  6. Talk about any exhibition experience, awards and/or commissions of significance—drop any names you can without being boring or obvious. Subtlety is good!
  7. Ask where they would put your piece and offer ideas about presentation.
  8. Talk about conservation: tell them why your work will not fade or decay.
  9. Offer to deliver and help install your work; give them your contact information.
  10. Offer to let them take it home on a trial basis if you trust them or if they leave a deposit (always check their ID and make note of all their contact information).

People need support in making a lot of purchases, not just when they buy art. Listen to them, look at them in the eye when you are talking together; be courteous and helpful. Use appropriate language; do not use “artspeak” with first-time buyers. Be helpful and encouraging.

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