Monday, July 20, 2009

How to beat the “GFC” Sales Blues

As a member of one of the hardest hit sectors (the arts) in this recently more bleak and changing world, I have been canvassing friends, colleagues and, not sparingly, the internet to see if there was any light shining ways to make myself immune to the affects of the GFC.

Here is PART One of some of the things I have found to be useful:

Stand by the Value of your work

Paint smaller sizes. It seems that there is still some money to go around, just that it’s limited. Rather than drop the price, paint something that comes in around the $2000 dollar mark, according to your usual price scale. Note also that there has always been buyer resistance above $5000, so keep anything above that mark for later – when the GFC subsides.

Negotiate a deal

Never drop your prices without getting something in return. If you stick by your prices, then people see that you are confident of the value of your work. However, the reality is that potential clients are asking for discounts more regularly than before – just because they can! So rather than folding straight away (even though you are expecting to do so and happy enough to do it) see what you can get them to give you that has some value to you…like a referral to a friend that’s also interested in art; a written testimonial about how much joy your art piece gives them; inclusion of an article about your artwork in their company newsletter (if purchased art will be company property or owned by a super fund) or a free ad about your website; or, if client has the appropriate services (such as a wine/liquor connection, printing or design services, Hospitality staff hire etc) sponsorship to the value of the discount allowed, in kind, for your next exhibition. Or you could just ask them to distribute your next invitation amongst their friends and colleagues.

Even if they don’t actually do it, you have stood by the value of your work and they will feel justified in spending the money – you’ll have a sale where there might not have been one, before. And meanwhile, they have an agreement which means they should feel obliged to fulfil it and you’ll have more avenues for getting your work out there!

Package your art

Find a range of things which might be of value to your potential client. For example, you could arrange a discount with your framer which you pass on to the clients (and you could advise, organise and oversee the framing for them, or even the hanging on their home/office, which adds even more value); add preliminary sketches or photographs as a sale bundle to the work; add your CV (if a good one) plus a Certificate of Authenticity to the work or any testimonials/reviews of your work from people who matter (critics, well known artists etc).

Image: Gabrielle Jones, Chasm II, 2009;110 x82, Oil on Canvas

Part two of this blog follows in a few days. Do you have any ideas to help beat the blues? Post your comment here

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