Boost your Sales at Art Fairs
Art Fairs are a great place to find new customers and increase the sales of your artwork. In this post, I outline super easy practices for new and experienced artists that will help boost sales at your next outdoor or indoor art fair.
Making the Art Easy to Purchase
To avoid disappointments, it’s important to make it easy for the customer to say “yes”. Nearly nobody carries around large amounts of cash, so make sure the customer has the option to pay with a credit card. Square makes it easy to do this. They will send you a card reader that can be used to swipe credit cards on your phone. It’s also easy to set up the app so that clients get a beautiful receipt from your business when they make a purchase.
Offer delivery, installation, and returns
One time I had a client ask me if I could hang the piece in his home because he was unsure he would do it well. I’ve offered this option to clients ever since. Offering to deliver and install the artwork makes a big difference. Not many artists offer installation service so this will definitely make you stand out. The customer will be happy to know they don’t have to worry when they buy art from you. If you see that a potential client is indecisive about the placing of the art in their home, offer to take a few pieces to their home and try it out without commitments.
The practices above not only makes you a very nice person, but it also gives you an opportunity to get into the clients home to get to know them better. Getting to know your clients, knowing what they do and where they hang out is extremely valuable. It helps gage what type of people buy your art, to see patterns, and to establish your target market. This information is very useful when using other marketing streams. If nothing else, offering these things can help establish if a potential client is serious about buying.
Optimizing the Display
Display work at eye level
I once had a client tell me that she “didn’t see this one” after suggesting a second piece to go with the one she had bought. The art was 2 feet shorter than her. Over the years, I’ve noticed that when people need to kneel, bend down, or look far up to see the art, it does poorly. Displaying your work at eye-level is particularly helpful with art that is detailed and smaller. If you have a large work that is 60 by 60 inches, and is painted with big brush strokes, its okay to put it up higher. This may even be helpful to draw attention to your booth. However, if you do detailed photography like myself, it’s best to display your artwork at eye level. You can still put larger pieces above and move them down when the ones at eye-level come off the wall.
Choose a corner booth
Location can become a very important thing, especially if it’s a large show. Given the inevitable competition factor, you want to make sure that your art can be seen! If possible, always choose a corner booth. The extra cost pays off when potential customers don’t miss out on your booth given a big crowd and the hype of the show.
Review the show the year before
To gain confidence and gather ideas for the show, always try to visit the show a year before. This helps you gather information about the best location for your booth, what your competitors are doing, and what prices for similar art are like.
Pitching your Art
Talk at eye-level with your customers
I’ve seen many artists bring low chairs putting them inside the booth facing out, and talking about the art while sitting and facing up at clients. What kind of an impression would you get if you walked into a store to make a large purchase and the person helping you was sitting down in the corner talking to you? I know the days at Art Fairs can be long, but sitting down may make you look unenthusiastic and even cold. On the contrary, standing while talking to visitors, makes you look a lot more approachable and warm. I recommend standing slightly outside your booth and approaching clients after you see that there is interest in an artwork. Bring a bar chair to sit or lean on at times when the foot traffic is low.
Be interested in THEM
Despite being there to promote and sell your artwork, the conversation needs to start with genuine interest in your client and who they are. In an Artsy Shark article about getting better sales in your next art fair, the author provides the following tips: smile, be genuinely curious about them, ask questions, make people feel good. I couldn’t agree more. The one thing people are more interested in at that moment than your art, is themselves. The artwork is going to be going into their home, and this is a good opportunity to get to know them, and how people relate to your artwork. I want to clarify that the purpose of this is not to maliciously manipulate your customers into buying artwork. If done genuinely, this creates a true relationship with your customer that is mutually beneficial.
Start with why
In this Ted Talk, Simon Sinek does a great job at explaining that your pitch should start with why, not what. Simon talks about how people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Art buyers are looking for something unique that they connect to on a personal level. They are not there to buy paint on a canvas, they are there to find something they love. Ask yourself why you’ve made this piece, and start by describing that. Don’t make up a story. Be authentic. There are many artists who paint, draw, and shoot photos. Ask yourself what makes your art unique. Practice your elevator pitch a few times and you’ll most likely have improvements by the end of the show to apply to the next one.
Take down contact information
In my Blog post about 3 things I wish I knew when I started freelancing, I talk about the importance of mailing lists. Art Fairs are an excellent place to gather contact information for your mailing list. Your mailing list is a place to send updates about new work, upcoming shows, and special offers. You never know who might purchase a piece from you a year after the art fair because you’ve been in touch and they just moved into a new place.
In addition to the mailing list, take contact Information from people who have shown interest in making a purchase. Write down notes about your conversation so you can refer to them later. You can follow up with them and offer them a good price or a casual studio visit after the show.
These are the things that I’ve learned and found helpful over the years to increase sales . Have you tried these tips? What have you found to be helpful in boosting sales at Art Fairs?