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.

30 Comments

  1. I manage a small non-profit. I feel a sale is only a sale that is closed. I want the client to love what they buy. Some times people
    Just are not not sure. I certainly don’t want to refund money on returned art- if at all possible. One time a client returned a print that she had thought was an original. It was a high price for a print.

  2. You are always helpful. This video is sensitive, honest and lends great insight on to the possibility of a touchy situation for me . Thank you for sharing your experience .
    Linda

  3. Wow, I love this little video Jason. I am looking forward to your next one! You are the kind of gallery owner I wish there were more of!!! Going to share on my Facebook page.

  4. Thanks for the input. I recently had an opening and a client that attended asked me about a specific large piece that he remembered from 2010. I showed the client a picture of the piece to make sure we were on the same page. The client expressed a great interest in the piece and went so far as to ask me if I would be willing to speak about the piece to his employees. We even discussed the price, but it was not a negotiation or a commitment to purchase. The next day I sent him an email with the information and picture of the piece as I said I would. After a week of no acknowledgement I sent him a second email just checking in to see if he had a chance to make a decision on the purchase. Still no response of any kind. It’s been a month and a half now. I’m not sure what I could have done differently. I don’t have a cell phone number or address for this client. He gets my emails because that’s how he knew about the opening.

    1. I had a studio on the main street a few years ago. It had a show room in the front. One day a group of women came in and one woman starts raving about a piece, how good it would look in her home and asking others in the group what they thought. Then she told me she would get back to me the next day. I never heard from her again. I realized that she was probably not really interested, but wanted the group to think she was. I sold the piece later to someone who loved it. When someone likes a painting but isn’t sure if it will work, I offer to bring it to their house to see how it looks. Sometimes if it doesn’t fit I offer to paint new piece of a different size similar to the one they like. In most cases they end up buying it. If they don’t come back to buy another piece they often refer friends to me. When I sell a piece to someone within my area, I always offer to deliver it.

    2. My husband is a travel agent. For quite a while, he hesitated doing follow ups when there was no reply, only to find out that the people mistook him giving them “space” and booking with someone else. He now contacts with time intervals until they ask him not to. It doesn’t hurt to keep trying so long as you are pleasant and don’t make them feel pressured. You may also want to ask them how they would like you to proceed.
      Just my 2 cents. Best Wishes.

  5. Several months ago, a teacher at our arts center said that she had fallen in love with one of my older abstracted dancer paintings. I let her take it home, and she brought it back, saying that it was just too colorful for her monochrome house, that really the only color she had in the home was turquoise – so I told her no problem, and brought her into my studio which is pretty much overwhelmed with turquoise undersea paintings.
    She took the most monochrome piece I’ve ever done – slightly turquoise but mostly white and sand colored that I wasn’t even sure was done, and came back with that a week later as well. Again, I told her that it wasn’t a problem.
    I’m ok with it – actually, I had thought about keeping that dancer for myself as I don’t own any of that series and she was a personal favorite. And, if this teacher really only likes my work but not enough that it needs a space on her wall, I’d rather have my work go to someone who really connects with it. And who won’t get rid of it when the next decor theme comes in vogue that demands that everything be … I don’t know, avocado?
    Having made some decent sales around that time helped, too.

  6. Excellent commentary!

    How do you handle the situation where you deliver a piece of art to a client, they have it for a few days and return it and make a comment “the guests at my party really enjoyed seeing the work”. You know they only wanted the piece to show during their affair.

    1. Oh, that’s low. I guess I’ve been fortunate not to run into that one yet. I probably wouldn’t do it, but I would be tempted to send them an invoice for a rental fee . . .

      1. Hi, Jason! Is there a certain formula, maybe a percentage of the sale price per day, that is standard for renting art? The thought occurred to me to approach interior designers and/or real estate agents (for staging homes). Thank you!

  7. Great video!
    I am working with someone who was looking at a pretty large piece and maybe another smaller one. He came to my studio and looked at more work, and was going to get back to me.. (I always say, “when can I call you”…) When I called he said he wanted to wait, he had to check with his “interior designer”.. ok, I waited a few weeks called him again and again he wanted to wait a few weeks. And now he may want only the smaller piece. I said I would hold it and he said, well if someone wants it sell it… hate hearing that… so I will call again and see if I can close it.. He told me he LOVES my work, and that is great…Gentle persistance is the key with these sales…and I WILL call him again…

  8. Jason, as usual good advice, I recently sold a piece to a client, who enthused about the work and said he and his wife must have it, and we took it to them as they lived on Koh Samui and we were going across for a Rotary dinner anyway.
    Cut a long story short I had an e mail saying they had some concerns with the piece, so I went back to Samui to see them. It was a little embarrassing as they loved the painting but wanted to make changes to it. I must admit I was a bit taken back but didn’t want to show this as they are also acquaintances. I said I’d take it back and rework it, but inside I wanted to give them their money back and forget it, but then I’d have lost a sale and maybe negative comments would be made and we live in a small circle.
    I took it back and decided to keep the original and do a new one which I did changing it slightly, it would have been impossible to rework the original.
    They are completely happy with the new one even though its basically the same painting just slightly different.
    To be honest my first reaction was why buy it in the first place and why would you want to change it, to me it was like being asked to put a pair of glasses on the Mona Lisa, but in stead of having a proud owner of my work I would have had a disgruntled client.

  9. Soooo glad to hear you say your interest is in the long term relationship not that individual sale. We are on the same page in that. I try to stress that same mentality to my clients in my own shop where I sell my work and do custom picture framing. I don’t believe our clients hear or feel that kind of thing often today. That may be the most important thing you said for me.
    It’s not uncommon for me to loan framing corner samples to clients to help them with their decision making. It’s a little different, for I wonder sometimes if they are simply running to a competitor with those samples price shopping. I have to take that chance however.

  10. I’ve had clients who wonder if, over time, they might get tired of seeing my painting in a certain spot so they’re hesitant to buy. I share how I live with the art in my home… I move it around because it’s fun to change the look and feel of a room. Sometimes they love the idea and go ahead with the purchase. Depending on the art work’s size, subject, and colors that might be inappropriate, but when it works — it’s a success for everybody!

  11. Good stuff, Jason.
    One buyer called back not saying she wanted to return it, but “it didn’t work in the place she bought it for.” I went down the list, subject matter, size, colors, framing …. she couldn’t quite say what it was. She was local so I went to her house. “Let me see if we can solve this and if not I’ll take the painting back.” She was relieved.
    It was a simple matter of placing the painting where natural light would accent it better than the shadowed corner she had it. I helped her arrange her other pieces where the lighting wasn’t as critical and she happily said everything was fine. Some homeowners wouldn’t allow that. Short of asking a person to install track lighting that may not work in all cases.
    Some buyers will honestly say, “I plan to reframe it.” Totally understand that. I have often accompanied a buyer to their frame shop and helped them pick out a frame. Some patrons know exactly what they want and others depend on their framer’s suggestions. If they don’t have a favorite framer I’ll bring them to mine. As always, serve your patron to nurture that long term relationship.
    Don’t neglect other professionals as a means to salvage a sale, especially if it is in a distant city. I know of one artist who contracted a decorator in hopes of not taking the painting back. The homeowner used a certain decorator in her new home and hadn’t changed one thing in her house since then. The artist asked the decorator, “How much would you charge me to help Mrs. ____ find a suitable place to display that painting?” The artist paid the decorator $200 for a few hours work and minor rearranging. The homeowner was thrilled with the service and her new painting. I thought that was terribly clever. The artist couldn’t drive to that city for the money and she ended up with a satisfied buyer.

  12. Dear Jason,
    At a MOCA auction, a collector “bought” my large drawing. However, his credit card bounced !
    The woman who organized the auction and worked at MOCA saw the opportunity. She got her Mother-in-Law to buy the work. Somehow, she got it transferred, after a year, to her own home where it resides today.
    I always take back works if the client isn’t 100 percent happy as I know someone else will be ecstatic they got it.

  13. Hi Jason,
    I always enjoy your videos!
    I have a question for you that is not quite related to this video.
    I am about to have my first featured artist show with a gallery I have been with for 18 months. The gallery has sold a number of my small paintings and this show features my larger work as well. What if I don’t sell anything??? What would you recommend at this point? Give up, lol, or search for a new gallery that can move more expensive work?
    I would love your feedback on this.
    Cynthia

  14. Great video! Yes in my experience, most “on approval” situations result in a sale. I really enjoy connecting with clients and seeing the artwork looking great in their home. However, Jason, what do you do with difficult clients who stretch out the process and don’t commit simply to drive a much harder bargain? I have particular collectors who just said they “love the paintings” (and they looked like a slam-dunk in their home on delivery) but stall on buying? The reason stated was that they were “early” in the remodel process. They’ve stalled in two other transactions, coming back months later, wanting 25% off. I tried offering a 15% discount up front this last round…since they were previous collectors, but that didn’t work. Not being in a high-traffic tourist area, I feel I don’t have much leverage. I obviously need more demand, to show that the works are singular and sought after, and clients better not delay a decision. Any thoughts?

  15. Hey Jason,
    It’s so interesting but you seem to make posts that are perfectly timely for me and what’s going on in my art life so often! I have a piece that a client has asked me to bring to their home. They saw the painting last October and just asked last week if it’s still available. I am hoping it goes well and that it works for them. Fingers crossed!
    Thank you for reading my mind… again!
    Jeannette

    1. Happy to report that I took my painting today to my client’s home for them to try it on and they loved it~ ending in a wonderful sale. So happy that “Gold Rush” has a loving new home! I was prepared either way~ They asked for my input on where to hang the painting and how high to hang it and it was really nice to get a family photo in front of their newest piece for their collection. Thanks Jason!

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