Want more help selling your art?
You have a sales force right under your nose: Your current buyers and collectors.
The people who loved your art enough to buy it and live with it are your biggest fans, and are probably itching to share your art with their friends, families, and colleagues.
Make it easy for people to help sell your art.
Your first step to turning collectors into a brigade for selling your art is to stay in touch with them.
Sending newsletters, personal emails, postcards, and holiday and birthday cards keeps your name in front of them.
People are more likely to remember to recommend your art if you remind them that you’re still alive and working in the studio.
You risk being forgotten when you neglect your buyers and collectors too long.
Aside from regular contact with the important people in your life, a special touch here and there will upgrade their experience with you and, simultaneously, improve your sales.
Here are a number of ways you can make it easy for people to promote you and your art.
Suggest an unveiling.
Collectors are proud of their acquisitions, especially if it’s something they’ve commissioned. Gently suggest that they host an unveiling of your art. Try this language:
I've found that many of my collectors like to show off their new acquisitions. If you would be interested in scheduling an official unveiling for friends and family, I'd be honored to be there and say a few words.
With their friends in attendance, you can yank off the black fabric and give a short talk about the piece and the process of working on it. If it was a commission, say a kind word or two about working with the collector.
Be ready with business cards, brochures, or flyers about your work.
Have a show in a collector’s home.
Everyone likes to help an artist! If your collectors live in homes that others would envy, ask if they would consider inviting friends to a solo show and art sale in their home. Your art, of course.
Offer to coordinate the logistics and to pick up the costs of the event.
Voilà! Instant audience of new people.
Host collectors-only events.
Treat your collectors like the VIPs they are. Some things need to be reserved just for them.
Schedule a collectors-only preview before an exhibition or an appreciation night at your studio.
You won’t be selling your art or meeting new collectors at these events, but your current collectors will be more likely to buy from you again and to recommend you to others after having been treated like royalty.
Or consider a Quiet Gallery Experience like the one Simonne Roy created for her subscribers and collectors when Covid made it impossible for her to host her annual gallery shows in her home.
Give note cards to collectors.
Multiply the eyeballs on your art by giving collectors a packet of note cards.
Use the artwork they purchased from you on the front of the note cards so they have a personal story to add to their correspondence. Of course, your name, short blurb, and website address should be on the back.
Every time your collectors use one of your note cards, they'll be introducing another person to your art.
Distribute business card boxes.
Build or buy special boxes to fill with your business cards. Give them to collectors for display near your art. (You can see that this must be a handsome box if you expect it to stay in view.)
When guests admire the art on view, your collector can easily place your card in their hands.
Ask for help selling your art!
You don’t get what you don’t ask for. You've heard this before, but your ask must be specific.
Ask collectors to bring friends to your openings and events. Ask if they have friends who might be interested in your work. Ask if they know of offices that need new art.
You’ll be surprised at how many people take you up on your ideas and help you sell your art.
Here’s something else you've heard before: It doesn't hurt to ask. This is true most of the time, but there are two occasions when asking is inappropriate:
- When you haven't done your homework and established a relationship.
- If all you're doing is asking.
To avoid these missteps, stay in touch throughout the relationship rather than writing or calling only when you want something.
Don't waste this potential sales force. You aren't using these people. You are making it easy for them to show off their proud acquisitions.
You're making it easy to help them help you sell your art.
This post was originally published September 15, 2016. It has been updated with the original comments intact.