Friday, March 12, 2010

Some ideas on sales 1

That looked pretty good last time, why not post it twice? I am signing up folks for Lupineworld workshop June to be held at the Sunset Hill Inn again. This one will coincide with the Lupine season there. Join me this June 19th thru the 21st in the White mountains for a workshop with no big boots needed. The painting of lupines above was actully done near Ellsworth Maine, but you get the idea. Flowers, lots and lots of them. The fields in front of the mountains are covered with them, great subject matter. SIGN UP HERE FOR LUPINEWORLD!

Since I was talking about the Lead the Field series last night, I will continue with that theme a little more by discussing some things I learned in the gallery trade. AS you may know I ran my own art gallery, selling my art in Rockport, Massachusetts for many years. I learned many things doing that and it was a great experience. I am neither a born, or a gifted salesman, but I do know a few things.I will lay out a few of the things I learned over the coming days. Lets see.........

Never prequalify a customer ( or prospect in the sales lingo). What that means is, NEVER EVER assume that someone can't afford to buy or is too dim to buy your art,. It is impossible to tell . You must treat each encounter with another air breather as serious. You can't afford to blow people off, even if they seem out of it. Often people have no way to relate to you and may say really unhip things including that their family includes an artist who is only nine.. Smile, suck it up, and ask them questions. Find out if they might buy your art. FIND OUT!

I have sold a multi thousand dollar oil painting to a woman dressed in a bathing suit driving a beat up jeep when I was painting along the side of the road. My favorite carpenter bought a very fine large painting. Here is tonight's story. An old friend reminded me that I should tell it again.

I was with a group of perhaps eight painters and we were spread out like birds on a wire along a country road outside of Johnson, Vermont. A car came along the line admiring the paintings and as I was on the end stopped and asked me,"do you paint pictures of houses?" All of the other painters stopped and looked at me, knowing I could sometimes be a curmudgeon and wondering what I would do. I looked at the guy and asked sweetly "How big?" Her said "Oh about the size of that one you are working on there". I asked him "If it cost 7 thousand dollars, would that be a problem? He said it would be and rolled up the wind ow and drove off. Everyone in the line of artists laughed long and hard at that. But the point of this is, if you can't or won't pay my prices, lets find out and move on. So I asked him. He could not. I am sure he was a nice guy, but he wasn't about to buy what I do. It was over, and I went on with my life.

16 comments:

barbara b. land of boz said...

Stapleton, "It is what it is".
Thank you for sharing your words of
widsom.

barbara b.

Tim said...

Im looking forwards to these post! Stape, I dont know if you remember that I have just opened a small studio and gallery here in a tiny village in Sweden. Dead during the winter, about 5000 residents, but one of the top tourists spots during the summer. Winter has almost killed me, Ive maybe had 10 visitors every weekend now for the past three months, and I still have a prime location on the main street. Everyone who has come in I have asked to put their name and adress on a list so that I can send them information on the next opening (april 2) Hopefully my presence here these past few months will have sowed a seed in peoples heads and they will be more willing to buy "the next time".

As I said, really looking forwards to reading about your experiences (especially the times when you felt it all spiraling out of hand!)

billspaintingmn said...

Stape, I've learned that facts don't sell.
Benifits do!
If I tell the client I'm useing the best canvas & paint, and have an easel that cost $5,000 and I painted this piece in front of the White House..Who Cares?!
If I say this painting will bring
years of enjoyment to to & your guests,and will look smart on your
dining room wall, that's a benifit.
Or this painting will increase in value as years go by.. that's a benifit.
I'm not a sales person.
But I have learned that facts may be interesting, but benifits will out sell facts.
Hey.. This painting will give foot massages to everyone in the room.. Now that's a sales pitch!
(the benifits have to be real!)

Margie Guyot said...

Speaking of sales: considering the state of the economy, home values dropping, foreclosures, do you think we artists should also think about dropping our prices? My prices are quite fair and reasonable. Probably too low, in fact. And our costs for materials haven't dropped.

mariandioguardi.com said...

Good Morning Stapleton,
You ARE an expensive friend but I know that "cheap" friends are expensive and expensive friends are worth it.I'm lookng forward to getting the tapes.


I used to love sales when I was selling jewelry. Somehow when it comes to my own work I get very tongue tied. BUT I really see the wisdom in finding out if whether a client might buy your work! It's a good starting point. Another way to look at it is, to assume everyone will buy your art until they say no.

Selling jewelry in Cambridge , MA, capital of the humble and sloppy dress and the spaced out, one could never tell who would buy and who wouldn't. Everyone deserves respect.I don't dress so well myself and I hate it when I get dismissed by someone who is selling something I want.

Honor Martinez said...

One of these times, I will not have a conflict and will be able to enjoy your lessons first hand. Love the flowers!

Mary Byrom said...

Great posts Stapleton.
What would you say were the 5 biggest changes you made to your thinking that increased your sales?
What are the 5 most significant actions you took that increased your income ?
And what are the 5 most significant actions you took to raise your profile in the art biz?

mariandioguardi.com said...

This is an aside; I got the Tube Wringer today. And I have used it. It's a beauty. My husband the inventor/engineer gives it his Mr. Fussy stamp of approval. It's amazing how much paint was in that "empty tube".

Since Stapleton was right about this thing, you've got to wonder about all the other things he might be right about!

Stapleton Kearns said...

barbara etc,etc

It is all of that. Thanks
......Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Tim:
You need to get lead the field. You can evidently get it on Itunes.I think it would be a great help to a man in your position. I have been there.
..........Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Bill:
I don't sell benefits either. I sort people looking for buyers.I try to get them to sell themselves when I can. I have to work really hard to be quieter because I talk to much.
.....................Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Margie,
Don't drop prices, drop sizes if you need to.
........Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Marian:
does the government not provide jewelry in Cambridge?
..............Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Honor:
I am sorry to hear you have a conflict. Maybe next time.
................Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Mary great questions. I will riff on those tonight.
................Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Marian:
I was right about the ringer, trust me on Katz.
...............Stape