Special Attention Required!
On the heels of the last podcast, there were some deep conversations and a great comment that added even more dimension to the whole discussion of creating better first contact engagement. And it was obvious that I was concentrating on a single visitor which leads me to today’s podcast.
When two people, who are in some way sharing their lives and/or their living spaces, approach you and your work, the rules of engagement are much more complicated. Even if one of them is just a good friend, there can be some complex dynamics that run through your time together.
I tell two tales in this podcast. One about love found and one about love lost. I think you will enjoy them both.
Comments… oh, you know I want your comments this time. This is such a twisted and explosive subject. I think you have some experiences to share this week.
Enjoy! And listen for a special invitation at the end of the podcast. (and I practically beg for you all to go to iTunes and give me a high-five, please!)
As most of my studio sales are to couples, this was a really important episode for me. The dynamics of the situation can vary quite a lot – who’s leading the choice, whether they are willing to discuss it in front of you or not, whether they’ve agreed in advance to a purchase or whether they (or one of them) are acting on impulse. I often get the quiet man who’s happy for his wife to choose whatever she wants but she can’t make her mind up without his input. Then there’s the man who shakes his head and says he’s learnt not to express an opinion! It can get complicated! In the minority are the men who lead the sale and have made a powerful connection to my work. But usually it’s the women…
The subtle eye contact and communication between them can be hard to follow but I try to be observant. Your advice to give them a bit of time alone to discuss it has been invaluable. They generally look relieved that I’m going to take the pressure off by removing myself. I don’t have a separate space to display the work so I just have to go for a little walk. Every single time I’ve tried this, I’ve come back to happy smiling faces and the sentence, “we’ll take that one” or, “we’ll take them both!” Sometimes they’ve realised they have more questions that I can help with such as a special size or framing request. It’s all good!
Thanks for taking the time to comment, Rebecca. It’s great to have your input. I learned the value of leaving couples back in the early days selling art in San Francisco. At some point (while they were in the viewing room), things would get quiet. And I would say something like, “okay you two. Let me get out of your way so you can discuss this between yourselves.” And you are so right: “Relieved” is the perfect descriptor!
And you are doubly right when you say: “It’s all good!”
The only thing I would add that is not in the podcast (your walk outside is a natural implication) is the importance to state clearly that you are leaving them to have a private discussion and that if they have any questions you will be close by. This is so important I will state it again: They need to be “directed” to have “the” discussion.
Is there a danger they’ll talk about something else entirely if you don’t spell it out? Thanks for your very prompt response.
I wouldn’t worry about that per se, but when you are clear that you are specifically allowing them space and freedom to discuss the purchase, then they will have that sense of urgency and responsibility to really take the whole thing seriously. If they still end up saying they need to think about it, you at least know you gave them a chance to “think it through” together in front of the art. That said, under certain circumstances, you can even reply with a simple prompt/question: “You seem to really want it. What is keeping you from saying yes today?”
I just had a report from an artist who used that question and the outcome was excellent: They looked at each other and the man shrugged his shoulders, and the women turn back to the artist and said, “Nothing. We’ll take it.”
It never hurts to ask. (Podcast all over that concept is here Episode #13)
And, of course, EP 22 is “33 Ways to Ask for the Sale” might come in handy to review, too.