How do you approach selling your artwork at art fairs, conventions and events?
In person at shows you’re advertising your art, as well. You are, in a sense, competing against all the other artists there, so you need to get attention to your table or booth.
You need to stand up and engage everyone – sitting there hoping to be noticed doesn’t work.
I think everybody needs to find their own sales strategy. You need to be able to talk about your work, to create a rapport with people and you need to be able to give people space.
My usual sales strategy is, Hi, how’re you doing? And then I kind of gaze around for a while and then it’s like, Let me know if you have any questions. And, you know, you have your drawing going or whatever. So you’re engaging them but they’re still like a frightened deer at that point. They don’t want to talk to anybody. Then a lot of times they’ll ask you a question, they’ll talk to you about your stuff and I’ll say, Why don’t you come closer and see it?
You can tell if people are interested, first of all, and you can give them space to talk about it if they want to make a purchase. A lot of times you have a husband and wife where they’ll say to each other, You like this or not?
And then to be able to let people walk away without feeling guilty is huge, I think. I know so many artists who would rather complain and say, I just talked to them for 20 minutes and they didn’t buy anything. And I say, Well, they’re not required to. Just because they like your work doesn’t mean they have to buy it, you know?
That goes back to that idea of being able to take risks and having some risk tolerance. If you go from show to show and your business is dependent on every show being a knockout or the best show you’ve ever had just to make rent, you don’t have a business and you’re in tough shape. That’s tough to do when you’re like, Oh god, I need a sandwich, please buy this or I can’t let you out of my booth. [Laughter]