I recently participated in of an art festival. The weather and the setting were perfect. This was my first time participating in this particular show so I had few expectations (but high hopes)!
As attendees browsed, I smiled and engaged them in conversation. I wasn’t trying to sell anything; I was simply inviting them to view my art. I watched as many of the artists sat under their umbrellas and read books. I observed while potential buyers walked through the artwork, glancing at the artist when they had a question, and then choosing to walk on for fear of interruption.
I wasn’t surprised when I heard the artists talking about how awful sales were and making excuses. I, on the other hand, left happy with the sale of two paintings, many quality conversations about my work, and a list of new signups for my newsletter.
The next day was similar. Throughout the day I initiated conversation about my work. At one point I became so busy I had to recruit help. I sold two paintings.
As time drew near to close, artists were eager to leave. I saw the crowds still active, so I remained. I continued to answer questions until I was the only artist left. 45 minutes after we were considered done, I sold my most expensive painting. I left ecstatic that my weekend ended with 5 paintings sold. Other artists congratulated me and told me of their “bad luck” and how this was just not a good show for them.
The next day I sold three paintings on my website from one of the attendees of the festival who had stopped to talk to me. I had offered him a business card as he walked away.
It’s not because my work was any better than anyone else’s. It’s because I gave people a chance to get to know me. Buyers love having stories and faces to go with their purchases. They also appreciate being acknowledged. I, myself, have left retail stores because I wasn’t able to ask questions or find anyone to assist.
You don’t have to use strategies or selling techniques to get buying customers. Simply be you. Get rid of whatever is between you and the customer and let them know that you appreciate they are there. Give them an opportunity to meet the artist and take a story home with their painting.