We may be reluctant to be salesmen of our own art, thinking others are better equipped than we are to do that.  Or we may just hate the sales game and want to be a creator of art only.  If you have a gallery to represent you that may be enough for you.  But don't count on that being enough to put bread on the table, so we need to build up a mailing list of collectors.

     So what can you do that?  Be your own advocate by keeping in touch with anyone who has purchased in the past.  That, of course, involves having good records. Hopefully when a piece of art sold we got the name and address, or at least the email of the buyer.  If not, develop that practice from now on!
Then, every four to six weeks, send them an email with photos of your latest work.  Along with each photo tell the story behind the art.  Remember, STORIES SELL!

     It is obvious that if someone purchases a piece of art from you that they like your work, right? Well, build on that by showing them more.  Often, someone who purchases one piece will purchase again.  So, it is our job to keep our work in front of them.  We do that with mail or email. When we get the first sale, let them know we want to keep in touch and ask for their address or email.  Usually they are willing to give it.  They are flattered by your interest, believe me.  To them you are someone special and they like the idea of saying to others that they know you personally.

     One thing to keep in mind however, is that it is important to consistently write them.  That is because it may take several to dozens of letters/emails to generate another sale.  So don't be discouraged if you don't get a sale right away. Just keep at it and it will pay off.  And when you do get another sale, then celebrate!

     Now, you may ask "What do I say?"  First of all, keep it personal. Use their name, and refer to any previous comments you have made.  This of necessity means keeping notes on them.  Ask a question to promote dialogue with them. Take note of any interest they have shown in a particular style or subject. Then try to tailor your communication to that interest.

     Again, tell the story behind a painting.  How you created the piece, what excited you most about it, the inspiration behind it, what drew you to that subject, and what were the challenges you faced. If is was created on location, tell about the trip, etc. In other words, give them details. All these things create interest in the collector and can cause them to take a closer look and motivate a sale.  They are drawn into the story, make a connection and understand what is behind the creation of it.

     You can even send them information, perhaps an article on displaying or collecting art.  They will then trust you as an advisor and guide.  They will then keep you in mind in the future.  Be sure to give them your website address, send postcards, emails and letters at different times.  But don't bombard them.  As I said, every 4 to 6 weeks is plenty.  And NEVER give up!  It could be years before you see results.  But even one purchase years later will be a payoff!

     Don't leave it to chance, plan ahead what you will say.  Keep notes and make each communication personal. And most important, be CONSISTENT!  When you get a repeat sale, you'll be glad you did!

Palm Coast, Florida



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