It’s Always an Emergency

I hear you groaning and see you recoiling from your screen. Yes, this is a bit scary to incorporate, but it is the MOST important lesson I can teach anyone. I know you don’t want to confront this concept because it means you have to be very real with your prospective buyer, but this is your job.

Ask yourself (see the last post!) why you are at this art fair? Certainly, you are not there as a tour guide or teacher showing off your techniques. It’s not “show and tell” time. You are not there to recommend your favorite restaurant or discuss politics (OH…just don’t go there! It’s not at all conducive to sales even if you are on the same team!)

You are there to find homes for your art. And you need to understand all the bit and pieces that will help you reach that goal.

The most important “E” of the five “E’s of Selling Art” is Emergency

It is incumbent upon you to be the best “decision counselor” possible. Nothing will ruin your fine intentions nor end the buying momentum quicker than just handing over a card without handing over some sense of urgency. Even though Emergency is the last in the “Five E’s” in the guidebook, it’s a foundational message that should infiltrate your entire presentation.

However, all those early seeds you plant are is useless if you don’t orchestrate urgency and point out the risks during the departure stage. (Refer to your 13-Part Departure Checklist that starts on page 36 for a refresher.)

Do they really need to think about it?

Yes, they may need to think about it. Of course – that is sometimes true. And, they may need to measure their walls. Of course, that is sometimes true, too. They may have a million reasons why they are not ready to say yes today, but that doesn’t mean you simply hand them a card. It doesn’t mean they can leave oblivious to potential risks of losing this opportunity.

What you say and do at the departure stage is very important. Think of this as a life or death situation. (Just play along…’-)

If I am a Doctor and I know you need your broken leg to be in a cast for it to heal properly, I will make a strong case for getting that cast on your leg. However, if I also am concerned that the position of the break, if not stabilized VERY quickly, could slice your main artery and kill you, I would probably not let you leave (or move) without a fight. I would be making sure you knew this specific level of emergency.

So, if you know you just sent an email to your entire list highlighting this exact piece that is being deeply considered by this prospective buyer, they deserve to know that. That is an “insider” bit of knowledge (like the unstable bone) and they deserve to know there is an unusual level of risk that threatens their chances of ownership. Whatever level of risk, you are the keeper of this information and you should not be keeping it a secret.

You must create a sense of emergency. So until they are about to walk away, do not:

  • Tell them about your fully loaded shopping cart/website (See the previous post on that subject)
  • Don’t tell them they can always get a reproduction someday if the original sells. (Unless you use that as a threat to create urgency!)
  • Don’t tell them there are lots of prints left – that’s no guarantee. (Plus, it could send a message that you don’t sell much. Ouch.)
  • Never tell them you have many similar pieces of (name the stone – dye run – whatever) and will have similar pieces in the future
  • Avoid offering to photoshop their room with your art when they send you a picture – until the last possible minute.
  • Don’t indicate that you could make something similar anytime or that you can do commissions if they are liking one of your pieces now.
  • Do NOT give them any additional fuel for thinking about it or putting off the buying decision!

I hear a few of you saying, “I have multiples”. You still have to make them realize that leaving might mean never owning. It’s your responsibility to point out that the enjoyment they are experiencing grows over time when they own the piece. Conversely, they need to know that the current sense of enjoyment fades, like all memories fade, when we are no longer directly exposed – no longer face-to-face.

Remind them that they can have a lifetime of enjoyment starting immediately.

Hey! This is Good News you are sharing! Don’t shy away from your authentic voice and their authentic needs. Let them know all the reasons why they should be giving this purchase a big thumbs up. Let them think about it if they must, but make sure they have a “sense of loss” at the top of the list of things to think about as they walk away.

BONUS TIP: When I see the hemming and hawing overtaking them, I sometimes ask: Do you think you will ever regret owning this piece?

#FindHomesforArt by asking prospects: Do you think you will ever regret owning this piece? Click To Tweet

Quite often that’s all it takes to get to their “yes” brain.

What’s your challenge? What keeps you from asking for the sale?

Do YOU think they will ever regret owning YOUR art?


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