I’ve mentioned the importance of following up with your clients in numerous posts in the past. I contend that artists and gallerists who follow up consistently and persistently with potential buyers will see a significant increase in sales.
This week I received an email from an artist in Montana relating the following experience she had after following up with a customer:
Two weeks ago a local woman purchased a painting I had hung in an art cafe here in town. It was one of my older paintings that no longer fit into my portfolio and had been taken off my web page. She wanted it but couldn’t quite afford it; I offered her a discount and was happy that this painting had finally found a good home.
As always, I followed up with a hand-written note card thanking her for her purchase and telling her the story behind that work. I print my own cards, in small batches that feature a new or favorite painting from my web page. She then e-mailed me to thank me for my thank you card (this has happened before!). And, she asked if my cards were for sale anywhere in the area.
I answered that they were not, because cards would become a side business that would distract me from my real passion, which is painting, and finding collectors who would love my work. However, I said, I’d be happy to let her have the jpeg of the painting she’d bought so that she could print her own cards with it.
Her reply: Thank you, but no. What really interested her was the image on the card I’d sent her, one called “The Garden Room” that is in my current inventory. She has a friend who lives in Washington D.C., collects art, and might really like that painting.
Immediately, I thought of your recent broadcast on serendipitous sales, and the lead that led your mother’s sale of the Monet sculpture. I sent my buyer a note asking her to refer her D.C friend to my web page, and also offering to send her blank note cards with “The Garden Room” to send to her friend.
She likes that idea, and told me that by coincidence she’d just heard from her friend, who is planning to come visit her in Montana this March. She also mentioned yet another painting on my web site that she thought her friend might like too.
So I invited them both to come over in March, visit my studio, see the works in person, and then have a cup of coffee or glass of wine with me. And that’s where things stand today. I put a reminder in my calendar to contact her in late February and try to arrange that studio visit.
I hope this story interests you as evidence of the value of personalized follow-up cards, the potential to turn a buyer into a friend and collector, and the serendipitous possibilities that may lay behind even the most modest of sales.
We’ll look forward to hearing what becomes of this opportunity, but there’s no doubt that Helen’s thank-you note and her follow-up have put her in a position where she has further built a relationship with an existing client and has the chance to make a sale that she otherwise wouldn’t have had.
Has Follow-up Lead you to More Sales?
Do you send thank you notes after a sale? What else have you done to follow-up with buyers and potential buyers? Has it had a positive impact on your sales? What do you find to be challenging when following up with clients? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.