[Sidebar: I wrote a very popular guest post over on Artsy Shark about this subject. It made the top ten list in 2014. Even it’s comments are worth a read. But if you don’t want to take time to read all that, then just take three minutes now.]

Because you ARE losing sales.

The moment you put those cards on your table you are losing sales.

“No, I’m Not!”

“Yes, you are!”

You are losing sales by making the mistake of setting your contact information out for anyone to grab, at any time, without the benefit of a fully consummated engagement with you. (Re-read the Departure Checklist – Page 36. Don’t have the system? Learn more here.)

And I promise you:

Having a stack of business cards prominently displayed is not creating sales opportunities. Click To Tweet

Oh sure. You may have the occasional person that walks up, doesn’t say a word to you, doesn’t engage in any way, who grabs a card after a few minutes of browsing your collection. And then what? Or what about people who might visit your display when you run for a restroom break or while you are engaged in a presentation with someone already? Don’t they need a card? Again, to what end?

If they can’t remain engaged and browsing while you are “busy”, then that card is not going to turn them into a future buyer. If purchasing art becomes a “thing” for them in the future, there are artists that they have a deeper connection to – artists they get emails from or spent time getting to know at a recent show. You want to be THAT artist. Not just a piece of card stock.

Put your cards away.

How great would it be for someone to be waiting to talk to you because they didn’t have a card to nurture their misconception that they will make a purchase in the future?

But that’s not the biggest problem or the real loss.

There is one thing you might not have considered: The principle of exchanging information. We can more naturally ask for their information if we are “giving” (not allowing them to take) our information. Use your card for leverage. The exchange goes something like this:

Do you have a card?

Yes, I do! Let me get that for you. And while I am doing that, please sign my guest book so we can stay in contact. I have a new piece I am working on and by being on my list, you get all of the sneak previews!

You can fill in the blanks for your situation. Maybe you entice them with subscriber’s only offers for free shipping, or whatever you think will be valuable to your admirers. The bottom line: there is no reason to not get contact information. (Even if you are not sure what to do with it today, you are planning to start an email program, right?)

The worse case scenario

You are sure they are about to say “Wrap it Up” and instead they grab your card and say, “We’ll be in touch”. You just spent 20, 30, 45 minutes with a person or a couple and they LOVE your art and now they leave. You might still be able to get their contact information – please try! However, you will have a hard time keeping them around and focusing on a decision NOW, when they believe (and they do at that moment) that they can buy from your website or contact you in the future. They can walk away and not look back.

And YOU just lost the most important element for finding homes for your art: the emergency. It’s not an emergency if they think they now have unfettered access to buy from you in the future. And you will only look desperate if you now attempt more engagement.

Put your cards away.


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