By Renée Phillips, Guest Blogger -Have you ever wondered why some artists seem to attract loyal collectors that follow them everywhere and buy multiple works of art? When you take a closer look at their behavior you may discover it’s not that they were born to be salespeople. Instead, these artists may be amiable individuals who have learned to practice the art of customer service. They have integrated a simple basic rule I highly recommend you follow: Treat all potential and existing art buyers like royalty. Give them the V.I.P. treatment.
Practicing excellent customer relations may be one of the most essential components when selling art. According to an American Express report in 2011, 70% of American consumers were willing to pay 13% more with businesses they believed to provide excellent customer service than those that didn’t. These statistics may explain why some artists succeed in making sales while equally talented artists fail.
In this article, I offer several suggestions to make selling art with a focus on customer service an enjoyable, creative and rewarding experience.
Treat Potential Buyers Like V.I.P.s
I can recall attending many artists’ opening receptions in New York when I’ve been escorted to a separate private room off the main exhibition space. In this room, Champagne is served in crystal glasses and I’m in the company of other art writers and collectors. It’s obvious the artist has taken the extra step to accommodate special guests. While this opportunity offers us the opportunity to meet other leaders in the art and business community we remember this experience and are motivated to become loyal followers.
Try this yourself at your next exhibition. If you don’t have a separate room, consider holding a preview V.I.P. party for your favorite collectors an hour before your show opens to the general public. Or, invite them to your private studio a few days in advance of the exhibition for a preview of your latest works. This step may lead to pre-exhibition sales and those impressive red dots on the artwork. Don’t forget to write on your invitation “Please Attend A V.I.P. Art Event”.
Offer Your Buyers The “White Glove” Treatment
You probably had the experience of purchasing an expensive piece of furniture and received the “White Glove” delivery service. As you recall that fond memory, consider adopting the same luxurious treatment when interacting with your art buyers. Show every person or business that purchases your art how grateful you are by going the extra mile.
You could offer to hand deliver your large works of art to the buyers’ homes or offices. With this service, you might include your assistance in selecting the right location. Demonstrate your knowledge of proper art hanging and design techniques and provide instructions on how to care for your art.
On this visit, you may discover other areas in their homes or offices that could use your art, so the visit may lead to future art sales.
Perhaps consider taking your buyer to the framer with your work to help them select the right frame that will match their décor.
Give Art Buyers Unexpected Perks
Maintain a record of your customers’ birthdays and other special occasions. Send them a special gift such as a box of printed note cards, one of your art books, a calendar or print -- featuring your artwork -- with a personalized note. Choose the appropriate gift in proportion to the amount the buyer has paid for your art.
You don’t need a royal budget to treat others like royalty. It’s often the small heartfelt gestures that are most meaningful. For example, if you know your collectors’ favorite snack or beverage, have them ready to offer when they come for a studio visit. Or, make a follow-up phone call and/or email to the buyer after your sale to see how they are enjoying their artwork.
How Can You Go The Extra Mile?
Most acts of courtesy require little more than your sincere desire to express kindness to others who are important in your life and your art business. I encourage you to use your creativity and imagination to “go the extra mile” and shower these individuals with authentic appreciation.
When you focus on ways to show how much you value your customers, before, during and after the sale, you’ll go a long way in strengthening your relationships. You’ll be rewarded with a solid base of customers and a prosperous career.
Renée Phillips, The Artrepreneur Coach, helps artists achieve their fullest potential in consultations and coaching. She offers art-business articles and e-Books on www.renee-phillips.com. As founder/director of Manhattan Arts International, www.manhattanarts.com, she promotes artists in curated art programs and online exhibitions. She is also the founder/editor of The Healing Power of ART & ARTISTS, www.healing-power-of-art.org.