Maria Brophy


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    ‘Strategies for a Successful Art Business!’
Art Marketing / business of art

Don’t Make This Mistake When Selling Art – Connecting with Collectors Series

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Circle of Life Painting by Drew Brophy


Last month I almost lost sale on a large painting, and admittedly it was my fault.

But I learned a lesson and luckily, I was given a second chance.

Here’s what happened:

We thought we would try something new at Drew Brophy studios this holiday season to pump up sales and to create a personal connection to Drew’s collectors.  We held a studio “open house” the four Saturdays before Christmas.

It was a success; we had existing collectors show up and many new people who had never been in our studio before.  We sold over two dozen original paintings!

However, I almost lost the sale of the largest painting that month.

That’s because, in the hustle of being busy with many customers, I forgot one of the golden rules of selling art:

Make it easy for your customer to buy.  Solve their problems and you’ll make the sale.

One of Drew’s regular collectors, Tim, had showed up to open house and was interested in a very large painting called The Circle of Life.

His problem was this:  he needed to have it transported to his new home in Hawaii.

When he suggested that he look into shipping options himself, I agreed to let him do the work on solving that problem.  That was a mistake on my part.  It was my responsibility to take care of the shipping.  I shouldn’t have made the customer do the work on that.

A few days later he called and said that he couldn’t buy the painting after all; the shipping service that he was using for all of his other belongings wouldn’t insure the painting.

This is when I realized the error of my ways and said “let me see what I can find out about shipping and get back to you.”

I made a few calls to others who ship large items to Hawaii and got leads on different companies that insure artwork.  Then I called for price quotes and insurance information and chose the best option.

I called Tim and said “I found a good shipping price from a company that is willing to insure it.  How about this; we will build the crate for it, package and ship it and all you have to do is pay for it?”

There was a good chance that he had changed him mind on buying the painting.  But happily, he agreed to the shipping quote.  SOLD!  The Circle of Life is going to its new home Hawaii this month, and all is well.

The moral of the story is this:

Make it easy for your collectors to buy your art.  Solve their problems for them.  Ensure that their experience with you one of ease and joy.

Aren’t you glad that I am here to make all the mistakes for you?  Now you don’t have to make that one!

Here’s to cultivating many new collectors in 2012!

Maria xxoo

PS:  There are many different aspects to connecting with your collectors.  I’ll be hosting a live call with expert Artist Coach Ariane Goodwin to discuss her own wonderful ideas on how to connect with collectors.

Please join me on my call with Ariane on Tuesday, January 10th, from 7-8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (4-5 pm PST).  It’s free, and you can sign up for it here!

PPS:  IN THE COMMENTS, PLEASE SHARE your tips or a lesson learned when Connecting with Collectors!


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16 Comments Don’t Make This Mistake When Selling Art – Connecting with Collectors Series

  1. Lori Woodward

    Maria, your words rmind of a beautiful book I just read. The Thank you Economy, by Gary Vaynerchuk. For those who haven’t read it, I highly recommend it for small biz owners, especially going into a new year.

    The basic premise of the book is that the business that cares the most wins the customer. It’s easy to read , down to earth, but has lots of vital information.

    Congrats on the sale and thank for sharing your mistakes so we can avoid them for ourselves.

    1. Maria Brophy

      Lori, thank you so much for the suggestion to read Gary Vaynerchuk’s book. I will add it to my list of must-reads!

  2. Aletta De Wal, Artist Career Training

    Great post Maria and congratulations on the sale! (and good to see you blogging again.)
    I agree with what you say and advise artists never to make the customer work for them in nay way.

    1. Maria Brophy

      Aletta, thanks for visiting my blog! And yes, it feels good to be back to writing again. I have so much to say….LOL!

  3. Mars Dorian

    Goood post Maria !

    Awesome how you turned that art deal around – honestly, I would have acted similarly. But you’re right – it’s the goal of any artist to make the deal as easy as possible.
    The customer is already making a commitment buying it, and that should be a feel-good experience. Letting him worry about shipping problems will just diminish that experience.

    Lesson learned.

  4. Marsha Hamby Savage

    Maria, I found you through another article. This is a very thought provoking article … so I shared it on my Facebook page. You were so right. I often talk about ways to sell and keep your current patrons on my blog.

    I sold a painting to a friend just because when they asked the question, “Can I make payment?” and when I answered yes, they asked another question, “What if it doesn’t work when I get it home?” We must make it as easy as possible! Thank you.

    1. Maria Brophy

      Marsha, thanks for the comment. Yes, being helpful and solving their problems will make the sale! Not to mention, it’s good customer service. We’ve allowed payments in the past, too. Why not? If it makes it easier for someone to get a painting that they love, it’s worth the effort!

  5. Stephen Melancon

    Maria, this is a great story especially because everything worked out in the end. You made the sale and the collector has a fantastic piece of art for their home! It is amazing how solving the customers problem makes all of the difference. I have experienced this as a seller and buyer. It think it all boils down to creating win-win scenarios.

    Thanks for post and all the best in 2012!

  6. Michael Nauert

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I appreciate you for sharing your mistake so we can learn from it! I’m definitely encouraged to step it up and back on my feet with a current situation. Thanks! Great post.

  7. Ashola Moses

    What a beautiful lesson,and as a matter of fact,learning has no end as far as we are alive,I wish more successful sales.


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