We all have good days and bad days. I remember some really bad days after a big personal loss and how hard it was to remain focused on sharing my art or anything else. And we all have had that show where we were in less than perfect health. We have all been beyond tired, maybe even in pain, or battling a cold or flu.
There are circumstances that can make being present and engaged with total strangers all day long difficult, if not impossible. But, I am here to remind you that you serve a Greater Purpose as a purveyor of artful objects.
It’s hard to let you off the hook, but hopefully, you will find sources here that will keep you on track – even when you are not in your best mental or physical shape. I have included some extra helpful tips in this article. (You know I want all artists to find more homes for their art!)
So let’s dig into “Elasticity” and use it to improve your presentations and find more homes for your art.
Elasticity is Your BFF during a presentation.
Elasticity is the Fourth “E” in the five E’s of Selling. This is about the moment-by-moment needs of your prospective buyer. And it’s about that next moment, too. And the one after that.
There is no “you” time when someone makes that first eye contact with you or your art. There is no magazine article to return to. There is no email or texts to check. Just turn that phone off! You have a job to do.
There is nothing in these first critical moments (or in the last critical moments!) while this person is viewing your artwork that is more important than getting and keeping a connection.
In fact, I would suggest that if you are trying to make a living selling your art in-person, you have no reason to be reading anything but the mood and reactions of people entering your space.
It’s about making sure that you are absolutely present and accountable to the situation at hand. It’s about making sure that this person – engaging in your art, looking through your collection, asking buyer-type questions, and moving into the consideration stage – has your full attention.
It’s about making them the center of attention. I am not recommending you hover or make them feel like are being preyed upon, but rather that you are showing them your devotion to their needs. You’re showing them that you’re alert and ready to serve THEIR needs.
Sometimes, just the act of standing up, makes them want to run, right? They ask you a question, you start to stand up and they say, “Oh, don’t get up!”.
LOL. They are trying to keep you from engaging! I almost always say – with a big smile – “I need to stretch my legs and you just gave me an excuse to stand up!”.
So go ahead: stand up, grab a cleaning cloth, or straighten your display up. Show you are available and ready for engagement. I sometimes grab a clipboard and start “taking inventory”. Or if you are lucky, you are able to create work during your show. That is always a great way to be “present”. As long as you are able to be present. If your artform is pointillism, be sure you don’t get lost the canvas!
However, if you act nonchalant (burrowing back to your book or mobile device) they will feel your distance and the bonding will be harder to accomplish. And then, it’s totally awkward, right? I can guarantee the best time to get up is before they get into your space!
This person – this fresh-hearted, curious, and potentially delighted, person – needs to feel like you care about them AND your art.
You need to feel that stretching band of connection. But the band needs to be flexible. All involved need to feel the ebb and flow. You need to pull them in and let them pull away. You need to make sure that your prospect is feeling the tug (to get more involved), but not feeling trapped or overwhelmed.
It’s a delicate dance. The dance steps take practice, but it’s necessary to feel the “music” so you can control the “Buyers Journey”.
Beyond the Metaphors
Elasticity is more than being flexible in your give-and-take during your engagements, it’s also being flexible with yourself. It’s making sure that you “Snap Out of It!” when that client you just spent an hour with walks away without purchasing. It can be hard to shake off!
You were positive they were buying. They asked all the normal buying questions. They had the perfect spot or it was the perfect gift or whatever. They breezed through the buyer’s journey, got into what seemed like a solid Decision Stage and then, asked for your card to go and “think about it”.
Assuming you followed the thirteen steps in the Departure List, you must brush yourself off and get back on that roller coaster ride. You cannot dwell on the past when a new face and fresh heart arrives. You must BE HERE NOW and begin your new engagement with all it’s special and unique dance steps.
A special checklist in the newest edition
There have been a few changes to the guidebook (grammar and spelling correction included!) over the 3 editions that have been completed so far. The last two editions have a checklist that many have reported is a real game changer. I created it as a quick checklist after every “close encounter”. And I want to share it here as an image and as a PDF that you can download, too.
and keep this with you at all future shows!
Yes, this is quite a list! It’s a list that will let you reflect on why they didn’t buy. It’s a list that will help you stay in the zone for the very next visitor to your display. It’s a list of questions that, when openly confronted and honestly answered, will help you find more homes for your art.
If you haven’t read the guidebook (or if you have, but haven’t done the worksheets), you may not be able to follow this prescription for success and some of those questions might seem too bold or not important. They might even be scary! I would highly recommend you do what it takes to be able to answer every one of these questions with a resounding YES!
When you can answer yes to every question, you will know you did your darnedest. And at least you have their email address so you can, with their permission, stay in touch and likely make a sale down the road.
Just keep this in your heart: When you remain ready to move forward or backward or sideways or whatever makes the best connection with a potential buyer, you are that much closer to them taking ownership of your creations.
By being ready to snap BACK to the core of the issue – recommending a purchase or even directly asking for the sale, before they ask for your card, you are meeting your obligation as a creative soul who changes the lives of your collectors. You are placing art into the world and helping others feel “the art” in their own day-to-day lives.
Nothing is more important than that.