One thing we all have in common is an ego. We all want to feel special. We want to think we are interesting, clever, trendy, and appreciated for all those qualities and more. Come on… admit it. You want a little recognition now and then.

Certainly, no one wants to be treated like they are stupid, out-of-touch, or unimportant. No one wants to feel like a nobody or be brushed off as “less than”.

In fact, when someone is considering a purchase of just about anything, it’s all about getting that special “feeling” that will set us APART from the norm OR (and this is quite fascinating) make us feel like we are A PART of something. Like I said: fascinating!

What motivates a purchase

We don’t buy just the item, we buy the bragging rights. We buy the story behind the purchase; the story about the maker, the materials, or the process. Or even how we bought the item. “We were on a holiday in London and we got off on a side street and found this amazing gallery and couldn’t resist this piece.” Or, “We have been buying from this artist for over 20 years and we have watched the prices just go crazy.”

In the first example, the person was able to include that they were in London. They can feel APART from the rest of the world who has not been to London and therefore will never be able to experience what they experienced.

In the second, the buyer was able to combine their “savvy” buying instincts with their “I-knew-her-when” story. On top of that, they can also imply that they are now still buying and spending a lot for the art today. They can feel themselves as a PART of the wealthy collectors class and presumedly, APART from the less cultured. (Don’t roll your eyes.)

You have clients circling your work at your shows who need to “feel” they are part of something special.

We all want to feel like we got the best, biggest, smallest, cheapest, most expensive, newest, oldest, first one ever made, last one ever made, hand-made, collectable, investment quality, award-winning, original, limited edition, exclusive, upscale, prestigious, celebrity endorsed, and most ego-fulfilling purchase possible.

I am not telling you to intentionally stroke their egos, but I am suggesting that you must not ignore their need to feed their egos. They need to feel really great about their purchase! You can help facilitate that by being part of the future story they need to tell to feel good (over and over again) about this purchase.

Virtually everything we buy has a tiny thread attached to our egos. Click To Tweet

Some people actually buy solutions to problems they will then invent. I will never forget the time I sold a 16th Century “suite” of antique maps (a map of each continent and map of the world) to a man who instantly had the best back story of all time. “I had to build a special wing onto my library to contain the Ortelius collection.’ he said when he returned to the gallery the next year.

Do you think he was buying maps? He was buying the story he could tell forever about the day he had to spend almost as much for some antique maps as he did to exhibit them. Or maybe vice versa, but quite the story!

Just understand this: your admirers want to be art “collectors”. They want to “invest” and be “patrons” of the arts. Even if you are selling them a coffee cup, they want to know they are contributing to your future as an artist. It’s all part of the back story for them. It helps them justify their purchases and it provides that extra bit of ego boost that we all want from our purchases. It makes them feel good.

What back story can you provide. What bit of ego can you evoke as they journey towards a purchase? What can you do to perpetuate that story? What words can you choose – like collector, one-of-a-kind, award winning, etc – to give them the full degree of ego satisfaction and encourage ownership?

Again, don’t roll your eyes. Give your admirers the excuses they might need to justify a purchase today.

Yep – you just got a homework assignment!

(By the way, I owe the inspiration of this post to Seth Godin, but the concept is found on Page 7 of the Guidebook!)

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