Introducing Yourself to New Clients

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.”

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Share Your Experiences!

How do you introduce yourself to your potential clients? What works best for you? What mistakes have you made when meeting new people? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

 

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About the Author: Jason Horejs

Jason Horejs is the Owner of Xanadu Gallery, author of Dad was an Artist | A Survivor's Story and best selling books "Starving" to Successful & How to Sell Art , publisher of reddotblog.com, and founder of ARTsala. 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. Connect with Jason on Facebook

15 Comments

  1. Thanks, Jason. This is very helpful to me. I have been guilty of just saying “Hello, let me know if you have any questions.” when people enter my booth at art and craft fairs. In the future my opening comment will be “Hello, welcome to my miniature rug gallery. I am Nancy Kennedy and this is all my work. Feel free to touch and please be sure to look at the back of the rugs, as they are all reversible.” Then I will just stand by to let them look and engage in further conversation if they so desire.

  2. I just had a show of several of my works in a Northern California art gallery. Most of the folks who came to the reception were new to me so I had to be on my toes and best behavior the entire evening. Thankfully I’m an outgoing person so I tried to engage as many of the people who walked into my area as possible. There were times when some of the other artists would come over and talk and then a little later a potential collector would come in. I must say I have no trouble excusing myself from a fellow artist to visit with a possible buyer. The fellow artist appears to always understand and never bats a eye as I walk away kindly excusing myself.

  3. I always try to do everything that you mentioned…sometimes it’s a bit overwhelming but I look at it as practice for my ‘elevator speech’ about myself…short, sweet, and to the point, but also taking the consideration of getting to know the person in front of me. This has helped me snag a few sales that I think would have kept walking by had I not made the effort and extended my hand to greet them. Thanks for the fantastic information and help Jason!!

  4. For people who are extroverts, approaching clients is natural.

    For those who describe themselves as introverts, they might follow the advice a seasoned show vet told me.

    “It doesn’t matter how you prefer to behave when you are on your own time; but you need to be ‘on’ at shows. As you drive to the venue, mentally put on your ‘work uniform.’ Walk with confidence, wear a name badge, and your invisible big girl panties — then get out there and talk with EVERYONE who enters your exhibit space.”

    People tell me that I am an extrovert — I still put on my uniform every time I drive to work.

  5. I am a jewelry designer. I find that I lean on my retail experience when I am exhibiting at shows. It really helps to make your client feel comfortable enough to ask you questions about what they are looking at. I find it helps to really listen when the client is speaking. Being naturally introverted, it takes me more effort to fully engaged, but once I’m warmed up, it goes well.

  6. I have to admit, I have been guilty of saying, “Hi, my name is Leslie. Let me know if you have any questions.” to the few people that walk into my studio on a second floor in a Barracks, located in a converted Naval Base. I will definitely revamp my approach to be more proactive. Thanks for sharing!

  7. I love your tip to ask people if they have been in before or if they are familiar with the artist–that is much smarter than asking if they have questions . . . which doesn’t seem to really lead anywhere!

  8. Thanks for pointing out that someone could have already purchased from you before. Oh that I can remember their face and name! Thanks to many years in retail, I do speak up, smile and try to engage someone in open-ended questions or comments they will probably respond to. However, I get so overwhelmed or stressed that I just can’t think! Help!

  9. The way I remember names is, when I ask the person their name, I look into their eyes and ask myself, do I know another person with this name? Then I visualize my friend with that same name and I link the memory to the name. It really helps me in the next sentence to call the person by their name. I have twenty new students every semester, so remembering names is one of my jobs! 😜

  10. I am a new artist and just beginning my journey and showing my work. I’m finding that showing my work feels easy and fun, but selling and talking about my work is a different story. I so appreciate the tips you are giving. It’s so generous of you. I have my biggest show coming up next week and will use your suggestions and try to have an engaging introduction prepared.

  11. I run a tourist-based art experience and home gallery in Alaska. To remember people’s names, I use all of the memory helps that I can find, but when those fail, I don’t hesitate to ask a second or even third time. “I’m sorry, remind me of your name again?” usually gets me a smile and a happy answer. I also repeat my name; that let’s them off the hook in case they’ve forgotten my name as well.

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