Ask a Gallery Owner | Getting Back in Touch with a Client Who Missed out on a Sale

Missed sale

It’s not uncommon to have clients who are slow to make a decision. You follow up and express willingness to help them acquire the art. However, while they may still be interested, they just aren’t pulling the trigger. So what do you do if someone else comes along and purchases the piece?

After a past broadcast, I received the following email:

Hello Jason,

I was taking down notes furiously during your presentation. Thanks for the encouragement to be persistent in follow up and for the helpful schedule of client contacts. I plan on putting this into effect.

I had a situation not long ago in which a local a woman (Flagstaff) expressed moderately serious interest over a sweet little Grand Canyon painting I’d done. I sent her images, featured it on my homepage, described how the inspiration came about, etc., but couldn’t move her off the dime. A short time ago, someone else came along and bought the painting. I’ve noted it “sold” on my website. How do you handle communication with clients who may “snooze and lose”. I’m thinking of letting her know the piece she’d admired has indeed sold, but I have several related pieces she might wish to consider.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Dawn S.

My Response:

Thanks for attending the broadcast. You want to be careful not to rub it in the client’s face. Try something like this:

“I wanted to touch base with images of a couple of new pieces for your consideration. The piece you were initially interested in has sold to a client from Phoenix, but I am just as excited about these new pieces as I was about that one. The Grand Canyon subject matter is always my most popular and these pieces are sure to go quickly as well, so do let me know at your earliest convenience if I can assist you in adding one of these great pieces to your collection.”

You would want to customize based on your relationship with the client – but something along these lines will give you a good shot at rekindling the interest.


Do you agree? How would you handle this situation?

About the Author: Jason Horejs

Jason Horejs is the Owner of Xanadu Gallery, author of best selling books "Starving" to Successful & How to Sell Art , publisher of, and founder of the Art Business Academy. Jason has helped thousands of artists prepare themselves to more effectively market their work, build relationships with galleries and collectors, and turn their artistic passion into a viable business.


  1. At least one of the artists in my area of CT has recently adopted an “in your face”/constant comment marketing system for his art and I find it annoying and intrusive. Whereas I once would have approached his work with interest, I now avoid all contact with him in order not to be drawn into his marketing web. It is important to respect the potential client’s reasons for not following through with his or her purchase. If a client likes an artist’s work, he or she will return to it when the time is right.

  2. The topic of turning every communication–even an outright rejection–into an Opportunity came up in conversation during our last Q&A and I thought it was an excellent reminder that any interaction can have a positive outcome if we approach it correctly. Perhaps if the missed sale was not mentioned at all and the followup was simply presented as “thought you might enjoy some of my new pieces” would be the least pushy approach. It can very difficult to convey TONE in these types of communications. That way, if the person inquires after the sold piece the artist then has a solid reason for saying, “Oh, I’m terribly sorry. That one sold.”

  3. I had one of these, which was my fault for forgetting to mark it SOLD on my website. I wrote back and offered to paint him another sycamore tree just like it and that I remembered where I was sitting when I painted the first one. I made a sale.

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