5070012761_ab42b0447f_oThis post originally came from the desire to share how to prepare for rejection in your art biz. (Which I’m still going to post – just after I get these outta the way.)

It’s important though to know in advance what those rejections are most likely going to be about.

Zig Ziglar came up with the 5 Obstacles to buy:



The next 2 posts will discuss No MONEY & No HURRY – I’ll be covering trust, desire and need in the letter. (which you can sign up for here if you want.)

No Money

One of two things is happening when a potential buyer says money is the reason not to buy.There may literally be NO MONEY – and there’s not much we can do about that.

This particular goody left me with just enough to pay my rent for the month - but very little else.

This particular goody left me with just enough to pay my rent for the month – but very little else.

Art is a non-essential extra and is easily left out in favour of things like food and shelter.

That being said – I’ve scrimped on necessities in the past to be able to buy original artworks that I felt I had to have.

A lack of money isn’t necessarily a “no”. Sometimes we need to do more to convince the buyer of the value of the art.

Value of Materials

The value of your work is a judgement that begins with the customers’ very first contact with you. That could be online or in real life, but encompasses all aspects of your business:

  • all your promo materials
  • booth / website / show / retail merchandising objects & supplies
  • quality of signage & pricing & info cards
  • care and quality of display
  • attention to detail in execution, materials, mounting, framing & lighting

Bring attention to the quality of the materials you use to create your art. Know the difference between artist and student quality and educate the buyer on the difference and the advantages of one over the other eg., issues of lightfastness and archival benefits.

When possible, varnish your paintings and be sure to include the benefits of archival and UV filter varnish with the collector, emphasizing long-term conservation and care of the piece.

Value of Positioning

Your value as an artist can also be dependent upon your position in the developing contemporary art movement.

Place yourself in the context of the ongoing dialogue of art and have at least a working knowledge of the current movements and trends in the industry.

Ideally, from a professional development standpoint – you’re on a few art news mailing lists and are keeping abreast of the subject. Be prepared to speak to your influences and inspirations in the world of art and culture. Your value is easier to ascertain when you can position yourself within the existing movement of art.

There is perceived value in artistic collections and series. There is weight given to work that is part of a larger exploration, plus there is the added incentive to A_butterfly_collection“collect” from the series.

Have CV material to hand out that emphasizes your history/experience/expertise. Be sure to include notations of work that has been sold (especially if international or is in collection of interesting people. A friend of mine is being collected by Hollywood directors and producers – that’s pretty cool and speaks to his value. It may seem cheap and showy, but include things that make you look like a big fucking deal – no one else will.)

Speak to your continuing practice in art – where you’re going, what’s coming next, what shows you’re working on. No one wants to buy from an artist who will quit in a year.

Consider your own appearance and whether it too represents the value of your art. Make sure that how you dress reflects the brand and the image of your art business… whatever that is.

Pricing vs. Perceived Value

Do NOT lower your prices when faced with potential customers who won’t buy.

Your price is your price and you need to be willing to stand firm and stand by your prices and value.

However, you CAN increase value perception by adding items to sweeten the sale.

  • add a free reproduction or art cards to the purchase of an original
  • offer a discount for buying the full set of originals or for buying more than one piece.
  • create a “how to” eBook that you sell , but also offer as a free bonus when you need to increase the value of an item:
    • “How to frame”
    • “How to hang”
    • “How to light”
    • “How to care for”
    • “How to buy art for gifts

Create a “closing” conversation that overcomes money objections and helps the buyer “see” the art in their home.

  • “We’ll wrap it and deliver it directly to your home / you can take it home today.”
  • “Included you’ll find our step by step “How to Hang Your Art” guide for you to keep.”
  • how to hang art

  • “There’s also a package of hardware attached to the back of the frame so that it’s ready to hang when you arrive home.” (And really, why not include the hardware. You’ll probably spend $.20 to include hanging hardware and you can package it in a ziplock with the “how to” manual and you’re ready to go!)
  • Offer a follow up call to check in (also arrange to get an IN SITU photo of your piece in a new house.
  • Offer personalized service by hanging the work yourself in the clients’ home. *** Make sure that the cost of that service is worked into the sale of the piece – plus, this way you can take the in situ pic yourself.***)

Being able to clearly illustrate the value in your art is the best way to overcome obstacles to buying. There are a lot of cross-overs into other obstacles like need and desire when talking about value.

The biggest take away to this particular objection, is being able to blow your own horn a bit – without sounding like a pompous jackass.

P.S. Pricing Links

Here are some articles on the website that talk about pricing for your art.

Once you find a price that you’re comfortable with – stick to it. Even if people sniff at it. Let them sniff.

Work with Me

Maybe it’s time to take the next step and focus your efforts on those actions that will see you making the most strides towards your biz goals.

Let me take a look at where you’re at with your creative online biz and we can work together to lay down a plan forward for the Next 6 Months.
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