I’ve observed that many artists, even those who have been selling their art for years, can sometimes find the process of meeting a new client a bit awkward. The first few moments when you are meeting someone new at an art show or a gallery opening are important – we want to get off on the right foot. The importance of this moment can put a little pressure on you, and sometimes, instead of getting off on that right foot, you end up putting that foot right in your mouth! Or worse, I’ve seen many artists and salespeople who don’t make any introduction at all. Instead they say something like “Hi, let me know if you have any questions.”
Salesmanship has a bit of a bad name in the art world. As a gallery owner, I know that many artists look at what I do with suspicion. They suspect that I use underhanded methods and pressure to compel the unwilling to buy art.
They think that the selling process somehow taints the purity of art.
I’m convinced that this disdain artists feel toward salesmanship stems from a fundamental misunderstanding about what the sales process is, and what’s really happening when I sell a piece of art.