Thursday, October 9, 2008

Selling Yourself

This old man has been selling artwork since he was 10 years old (no, it wasn't during the Civil War).
Here is what I do for repeat business:

1. To the back of each painting I attach bio information. People want to know you as a person not just by your work.

2. I include with the sale a thank you card which shows a different piece of artwork but in the same genre. One side shows the artwork and on the other side is a hand-written thank you note, also asking them what they think of it (always leave them with a question, then it is up to them to answer).

3. This is followed up about two weeks later, again thanking them for their purchase and asking them how they are enjoying it (again leaving them with a question to answer). This is usually a postcard showing a different piece of artwork in the same genre that they collect. Using a postcard allows others to also see the artwork too. Believe it or not this has resulted in new sales. In this day of E-mail, people DO enjoy finding things in their mailbox besides bills and ads for Wal-Mart.

4. I then add them to my mailing list and when I complete a new painting I send them a notecard with the artwork on the card, I also include an insert showing an entirely different piece of artwork. (Usually once a month) A lot of times these notecards end up being framed themselves.

5. I keep them on this mailing list for six months. If I don't get another purchase within that time, I move them to another mailing list. Mailing them a card twice a year making sure that one of those mailings goes out in November and wishing them a Merry Christmas. (Perhaps a new painting as a Christmas gift?)

6. I use a picture of my most recent artwork on my business cards and change them every month (I print my own, frugal, not cheap). When someone asks what I've done lately I whip out the new business card. I leave business cards everywhere. With a tip after dinner out, at frame shops, even at Michaels or Hobby Lobby, casually placed over in the frame section. (I'm sure the stores love me for this LOL)

A lot of work you say .... perhaps, but 95% of the people who buy my artwork buy again and become avid collectors. When you sell high priced items as I do, it is worth the extra work. Let your customer know you care. I won't go into the fact that their friends and neighbors see their new artwork and ask where they got it.

As for galleries, if I see a gallery that I would be interested in having them represent me, I send them a notecard with artwork on the front. I do this with all new completed artwork for two months. If after that time they have not called to see my portfolio I remove them from my gallery mailing list.
When you are selling a high priced product (mine run from 500-1200 dollars in galleries) then you have to go way beyond that extra mile to keep continued sales and repeat business.

Of course the product you sell has to be "top notch" but selling yourself always means repeat business. And the printing on your cards and inserts has to be of the best quality. But then everything you do in this life should be the best quality you have to offer.

I love to quote Cicero, (Marcus Tullius Cicero is generally perceived to be one of the most versatile minds of ancient Rome. 106BC - 43BC, yes, before my time) "As I approve of a youth that has something of the old man in him, so I am no less pleased with an old man that has something of the youth. He that follows this rule, may be old in body, but can never be so in mind."

If there is anything special you do to promote your business or product I would like to hear about it.


ChezChani said...

Excellent plan, thanks for sharing!

Anna Lee H. in Toronto said...

Hope you realize that this is not my first time here. I think you have way too much time on your hands... These lovely blog articles of yours may become addictive but there are much worse vices I suppose.

"Van your customer relationship management approach discussed here is textbook by the way" she said bowing in admiration.

Studio618 said...

Great wisdom here. Thanks for sharing.

A Beaded Affair said...

Van, you would have made a great realtor. Each of your ideas for follow-up are right on the mark. Thanks for such an informative and useful article. You've helped many today I think.
(aka Realtychik)

Beth Ann said...

Thanks for sharing your marketing plan. Old men usually do have a lot of "wisdom". LOL But it is spot on, owning a business isn't a 9 to 5 job.

I love computers and the internet, but something special in the post (other than bills and junk) always brightens MY day. (Wish my sister would send me more prints of her kids in one of her "special" cards!)

Yvonne said...

Van, thanks for sharing your wonderful strategy. You certainly know how to make the sales.

MyGemStoneBox by Diane said...

Well my friend, what can I say.... except keep excel at that. (and painting too!)

Jamie said...

Now, that's an amazing post. You could write a book about it and make millions! Good info to know!

Creations by JAE

Anonymous said...

Great suggestions Van! I particularly like the idea of printing my own business cards with new pictures all the time and the contact list/time frames you use! Thanks Teri

Glass0Beads said...

I have just read a post you made elsewhere about your Aboriginal roots. When is Native American Heritage Day? Today? Unclear. I'd like to know so I can put it in my calendar.
You are like Shrek: ogres are like onions, with lots of layers.
Now, to business: I love your Etsy eSMArts icon and I hope you don't mind but I would like to use it on my blogs and etsy site to link to your Etsy Shop. And the one of the macaws: I want to use that as the icon that, when clicked, brings the viewer to your blog. May I do this?
Helene ~Glass0Beads (#0, not a letterO)

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Izzy's Precious Creations said...

You do indeed get your point across of how to market yourself better. You are a wise man with lots of knowledge and information to share with others. Also, I want to tell you that your paintings are incredible.

From The Studio

Morning Gossip

Morning Gossip
by Van Stewart Bevil
I painted this group of Maccaws after I joined an online internet chatroom (Artists Cafe). There's not much else I can say about the painting, the painting says it all.Rather than artists helping other artists I found nothing but gossip.

It's always nice to do a painting that says what you feel or saw without having to explain alot about the work. With a minimum amount of brush strokes and detail, the birds say it all. Morning Gossip!

This oil painting was done on a 24x36 inch stretched canvas. This painting is hanging in our livingroom and has added greatly to our tropical decor. Joyce says it's time to share it with someone else. LOL


Going Home

Going Home
by Van Stewart Bevil
I spotted this Wood Duck silently flying through the trees in Western Kentucky. The sun had just set and an evening mist was beginning to rise off the dense forest floor. Only his distinctive whistle alerted me to his presence.He was obviously on his way to the nest for the night.Wood Ducks are the only duck native to North America.