Monday, May 18, 2009

Handling Sales

I have talked a little about sales before, but now I will touch on the topic again. I am always grateful for events and venues that handle sales for artists because I don't have to deal with the actual transference of money, but those can be a mixed blessing. A lot of sales and information can be all too easily lost between points of contact.

The buyer may be ready and willing to put down money for an artwork when talking to the artist but may never actually do so if they have to finalize the sale at another table or booth or with another representative. This is especially true when the buyer walks away from the artwork. The desire to acquire a piece can be so much stronger when one is looking at it and talking to its creator than when one is negotiating payment in a totally different location, or worse yet, at a later date. Thus, a lot of artists prefer to handle their own sales so not to lose potential sales to convoluted bureaucracy or extra steps.

Some artists are very good at marketing themselves and convincing hesitant buyers to invest. (I am not one of those artists.) Even more so, those artists that are good at marketing themselves often want to handle their own sales so as not to lose them. Depending on the circumstances, they will entrust this task to others, but may be hesitant to do so.

Many commercial gallery owners and representatives know exactly how and when to land a sale and make this process as smooth as possible, but many nonprofits and other organizations that don't rely on sales to keep their doors open may not be near so well-versed or organized in this, especially if the gallery sponsors exhibitions infrequently, is short-staffed, or in volunteer situations where people may not be fully aware how the gallery is run. It is highly important that you work out how to handle sales with the gallery or show organizer beforehand so as to eliminate confusion before a potential buyer pops up. If a system is in place and everyone knows how to follow it, sales will run much more smoothly and be less likely to be lost.

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