Video: Ask a Gallery Owner | Should I Negotiate with Clients in Order to Make Sales?

In this week’s session I’ll tackle the sometimes tricky question of whether or not negotiating with customers to make a sale is advisable, and, if so, how to negotiate to best effect.

 

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 reddotblog.com, 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.

10 Comments

  1. I absolutely negotiate… if there’s a good story!
    When I went through the process of re-branding a few years ago (to update my website and connect with my ideal customers), I realized that Success to me is about 3 things:
    1. Making money
    2. Connecting with people
    3. Story-telling

    So, when people ask me if I’ll negotiate on the price (of a painting, or class, or book), I turn around and ask them to tell me why my piece speaks to them – essentially, I ask for a story! And the stories I receive are so much more valuable to me, and I remember so much longer, than the few hundreds of dollars I gave up in negotiating. Bonus: I ask if I can share their stories and voila – I have lovely testimonials as well as sold pieces!

    (that said, I love your complex/simple negotiation tactic and will absolutely put that into my tool box – thank you!)

  2. Thanks, this was lots of good information that I can use in the negotiation process at different art fairs and art shows that I am getting involved in. But what I need to find out is how do I go about getting represented by different galleries.

  3. A colleague is a very successful sculptor who says the more “qualified” buyers are, the more important it is to them to negotiate favourable deals, independently of the amount of $$ involved. For that reason, his prices for private sales, not gallery sales, are higher than he expects to receive. Given that, he always negotiates good deals for them. His claim, and the record supports it, is that repeat sales and commissions have resulted from that and other services he provides. My wife handles all of my own private sales, and she usually offers discounts at the time of sale, and yes, repeat sales and commissions do follow in some cases. I think we’re money ahead because of her flexibility and skill in negotiation.

  4. I used to hate the thought of negotiation, for many reasons, among them is that I always felt like I lost out. I spent two years working in Saudi Arabia, and when I would go into the souks (marketplaces) I quickly learned that 1) when they saw an expat their prices quadrupled, and 2) if I didn’t negotiate I was going to lose a lot of money. I quickly learned the skills and got pretty good at it.

    The one thing I would add to the video is “You have to be able to walk away.” This ties in with knowing your limit. If you decide that this particular client is not going to result in a sale, don’t be afraid to say “It looks like we may not be able to come together on this piece. Why don’t I let you look around and see if another piece speaks to you more?”

  5. As usual, you provide us artists with valuable insight. Thank you Jason for all you advice. You are the only person I know that provides such clear and simple advice to artists questions and concerns. Thank you so much. Please don’t go away!

  6. I really appreciate your mentoring. Negotiation is a tough topic for an artist. Looking forward to future posts.

  7. Alternatives to a cash discount

    Cash is just one possible barter commodities in an exchange.
    What objects or experiences can a buyer add to some level of cash?

    Or perhaps you as the artist can add value to the piece of art in any number of ways. to earn the full asking price. Perhaps add a small piece of art for another room.
    Maybe upgrade the frame, matt or glass. Maybe include installation by you or a service.

    The objects or experiences the prospect may include to trade for a cash discount may come from a variety of sources. People buying $1,000+ art will likely have resources that are unique and valuable to you.

    Examples:
    “Come spend a long weekend at our vacation home (anywhere in the world) and we bring the art to mount.
    Come stay at our lodging in Miami, during Basil, in June.
    Come with us on a trip in /on our luxury RV, Yacht, airplane>
    Come dine in our fancy restaurant with us or with a couple of your friends.
    We own a tire store, how about a set of tires?
    We are contractors, what improvements can we make to your home or someone you care about.
    We own a printing company and can print marketing materials for us
    My son – daughter – spouse is a _____ and can provide a service to you or someone or organization
    you care about.
    How about our making a generous donation to your meaningful charity, in your name?

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