What are the obstacles to buying art for those who have never bought before?
• Feeling that they do not “understand” art well enough to buy
• Fearing the negative judgment of others about their choices
- Knowing nothing about you
- Not knowing what “good” art is
- Not knowing if your work will last
- 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.
- Have your portfolio with you and keep your list of buyers (and all sections) updated.
- Provide details about your most prestigious collectors/buyers.
- Mention your favourable other experiences with first-time buyers.
- Show them your reviews and publicity in your portfolio (but not outdated ones!).
- Explain that you use a price rationale to ensure the ongoing market value of your work (making it a safe investment).
- Talk about any exhibition experience, awards and/or commissions of significance—drop any names you can without being boring or obvious. Subtlety is good!
- Ask where they would put your piece and offer ideas about presentation.
- Talk about conservation: tell them why your work will not fade or decay.
- Offer to deliver and help install your work; give them your contact information.
- 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.