Saturday, March 13, 2010

Ask nice Mr. Stape!


What would you say were the 5 biggest changes you made to your thinking that increased your sales?

signed; A friend from Maine

Thanks for the great questions. Well lets see............................
First off I don't do most of my own sales anymore, I work through dealers. But I still do some. when I had my own gallery I did a lot of sales. I don't claim to be terribly good at it, I have known some people who are and I can see the difference. But I have sold a lot of art. Here are (with bullets no less) five ideas that increased my sales.

  • It is a mistake to judge other peoples ability to afford things based on your own. OK, you can't afford a 15,000 dollar painting, but it would be a big mistake to assume that the person with whom you are dealing can't. When you set prices, don't take into consideration your own ability to pay for things. Price is relative and there are people who have the money and the willingness to buy fine, carefully crafted art and spend enough on it to provide a good living for its creator.
  • Don't give em a reason not to buy it. Don't tell people everything about a piece. You may eventually tell them something that will kill the sale. "Oh! we thought it was a catboat, we don't collect paintings of Rhodes 19's!"...........
  • Greet everyone who comes in your shop warmly, everyone. I used to say " Hi I'm Stapleton, I made all of these paintings. If you have any questions will you let me know?" For a while I shook everybodies hand and thanked them for coming in. It was great and I know it helped sales but I painted in the back of the studio and I couldn't keep stopping and starting my painting. But if you want to have people loving the experience, try that for a while. Probably works in Sweden too.
  • Interview people " Do you collect?' "have you got a place in your home for a painting of that size?" Why do you like that painting? rather than the other one you looked at first?" If it cost 7000.00 would that be a problem? What is your home like? is it formal? Do you have antiques? I also never do alternative events closes, like "Well Mr. Gerbilknickers would you like me to wrap that up for you? or would you like me to ship it to your home?" Those are cheesy. They also make people feel forced or cornered.
  • The most common feeling people have in an art gallery is frightened. Light up the corners and keep it neat and clean. Don't be intimidating and don't pressure people. If you are tall like a giraffe, sit down after greeting them. Don't flash the names of artists at them they have never learned and

I checked it out by the way, and you can get the "Lead the Field" on your Ipod for 9.99. Thats an unbelievable deal. I am going to load one up and I already own the tapes. Thanks, Todd for that!


Unknown said...

Gerbillknickers! Love it.
Interesting thoughts, as usual.
Especially the idea of not over-explaining the painting- think that is definitely true.
Got my Beauport easel today. haven't put it together yet. Can't wait for a field test.
What was the name of your gallery?

Tim said...

Great tips! I have Lead the field ready to go! I also got "The essence of success" for good measure. I have made sure that the gallery has a nice inviting atmosphere, and that I don't hang around the people that walk around, unless they want to talk, which often ends up in the half hour range. I remeber going round gallerys in NYC and having that feeling of "look what just blew in through the door" (no not the art!) and that is something I dont want chez moi. I usually offer a glimpse in to the workshop, people seem to get off on that.

Gregory Becker said...

Good advice. I have to get my hands on the Lead the Field tapes said...

So, if you sat down to talk to your customers because you are taller than a giraffe, does that mean I have to stand on a ladder?

I have found that just you have to make it easy and comfortable for someone to buy..that means being very relaxed about clients taking a piece home and looking at it in their own space. I used to tell people I would hold on to their check until they told me they wanted the painting. Now I just tell them to send me the check when they decide. So far , so good. I also try to never say "No" to any question or inquiry. Any "NO" sets up a wall between you and the client. So if someone were to ask me a question like "Would you do a painting of my big toe in the style of Alex Katz ". I'll say: "Let me think about it, that's an interesting idea and I'll get back to you. Would $10,000 be a problem." See I'm learning from Stape all the time. Also, when in doubt, don't say much!

billspaintingmn said...

Stape! If I can see my customers as
Gerbilnckers, I might just shake that intimidation factor..
I'm not a giraffe, I'm a monkey, a
big ape that tears tires for fun!
I never liked that benifit sale thing anyway..
I,ve been asked to hang some paintings at a private dinner hall for a few months, they have wedding receptions and other events
booked well in advance.
Your post will help me to deal with this.
Everyone is so upper crust, I'm supposed to visualize them naked, (ha)at least that's what some guru

Mary Byrom said...

Thanks Stapleton nice thoughts. I'm thinking about any and all sales. This includes internet, dealers, etc - you used to sell direct, now dealers sell for you - must be a change in thinking for you not to sell directly any more.
How & why did you make that choice? And dealers... how did/do you choose dealers to sell your work? Location? Reputation? Met them through friends ? At a dinner party? What qualities must they & their gallery have? (besides what you listed in your own gallery)
You must have gone through a process of wanting something (more time to paint,travel to paint, more sales than you alone can generate, etc) before taking an action to move from one point to another. Any changes in your thinking - big picture stuff that was different for you?

Tim said...

Oh yea, I forgot to ask you, what are your thought on selling painting framed or unframed? Framing is a huge upfront cost that can really put a dent in the cash-flow. ( Im basically just looking for excuses not to frame for my next show. It would run me about 3.000$ to frame 20 paintings properly)

And what where your thoughts when you put up your own shows? Did you theme them, mixed bag, have different price levels ( more to do with size han quality) maximum amount of paintings (of course, depends on the space size) How long wuld you plan ahead for a show, and whom did you invite?

I just thought I throw all of those questions in there hehe, and if you get the chance to answer them that's cool, if not, then that's cool too!


Todd Bonita said...

I listened to Lead the Field in my ipod while grocery shopping today. It's good stuff. I was so into it I forgot about ten things on the grocery list and my wife sent me back to the supermarket. I felt smarter even though I forgot the waffles.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I think yoiu will be real happy with the easel. My gallery was called the Stapleton Kearns gallery.

Stapleton Kearns said...

The galleries in New York are so rude, I have no idea how they sell art. There must be different principles operating there.I hope you enjoy the Nightingale material.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Ready for Acres of Diamonds?

Stapleton Kearns said...

I try real hard to never tell people they are wrong, in a sales situation. It is really hard, they usually are.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I am not a big fan of those kinds of gigs. Unless you have LOTS of paintings, perhaps you should be in a gallery?

Stapleton Kearns said...

Another great question! I will return and answer that after I chew through your last. I love good questions, it really helps me write this blog.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I will answer those in a coming post. But you MUST frame the paintings. Sorry.

Stapleton Kearns said...

The acres of diamonds is worth the price of admission. So is the couple from Minnesota with the wife who.....
I love that guy, I learned SO much there.