I recently received this email from an artist friend:
I have read your books, “How to Sell Art” and “Starving” and have really learned a lot. I have put many of your techniques into practice and I must say sales are up!
I have a question for you, especially being a gallery owner. One of the galleries I show in is more like a high-end lifestyle store. It’s local, and I do well there. When I’m in town on a Saturday I will often go to the store, hang-out and meet people. This of course boosts sales.
The question I have concerns follow up sales. In some cases, clients don’t buy at the time, go home, consider, etc. I have started capturing contact info and following up. The store does not, as they are busy selling all the other items they carry. When I finally get a sale after months and a half dozen email follow ups, what is the store entitled to? My standard split is 50%. I do think the store should receive some sort of commission, but not 50%. Without the store I would not have met these customers nor would they have seen my work. However, I did all of the follow up work to get the sale, which probably would not have happened without the perseverance. What do you think?
Again, thanks for the books.
Thanks for reading the books Scott and glad to hear sales are up!Great question on the commission, and this is a bit of a murky situation. In my gallery it doesn’t work this way because even when the artist is present we will do most of the follow up and work to earn our commission. I can definitely see that in this situation it doesn’t make sense for you to pay the full commission to the store when you are doing almost all of the legwork. A pretty standard finder’s fee would be 15%, and I think that would probably apply in this situation since their retail presence is generating a lead, but your work is creating the sale.What is your relationship like with the owner or manager? The delicate part of this situation is informing them of the sale and the fact that you are paying them a finder’s fee instead of a full commission. Maybe your activity will encourage them to start doing better follow-up, which would be a win for both of you.
I agree, the tricky part is approaching them with the proposal. Luckily my relationship is very good, so I think it will go smoothly. I’ll let you know.
What do you Think?
Have you been in a similar circumstance? How did you respond? What is your input on the question of sharing commissions? Share your thoughts, suggestions and questions in the comments below.