You have a “job” to do. You have that Art Fair, Studio Event, or Gallery Show next week or next month. This is where you go to “work” and earn a living. This is not a cocktail party. Or at least it shouldn’t be a casual meeting in your mind. (Gallery openings are notoriously hard for serious selling – a cocktail party on steroids. See if you can break away from that trend.)
You have spent enormous effort to get this space set up to show potential collectors your amazing artistry. You have a responsibility to find homes for your art.
If you are at an Art Fair, you have taken time away from creating in your studio. You may have even traveled a great distance and have significant expenses. You have spent a great deal of time creating work for this show. You (hopefully) have spent time, and possibly money, marketing your event.
In addition, if this is an Art Fair, you have spent money to RENT your “storefront” at this show. You have rent to pay for that show AND you are paying for your studio costs and other business expenses. The overhead expenses are ongoing no matter where you are showing; Art Show, Gallery Opening, or Studio Event.
These costs are real. You can’t spend the majority of the day talking about anything and everything and sabotage your ability to sell your work. You cannot let a fresh set of eyes be averted and their minds distracted from your work. And no… they don’t necessarily get back to browsing.
There are three stages that every buyer must go through. Distracting them with chit-chat can send them on a detour – and so off-track! – that they never even get to the first stage: Awareness.
Chit-chat kills momentum
The Awareness Stage will usually lead to Consideration, but only if the viewer is given the chance to remain on task.
Help them stay on target. You are not “selling” weather, the recent news about an earthquake in Nepal, the rising costs of homes, or declining costs of gasoline. However, the people browsing your collection will happily engage in chit chat, of course. We all love a little “neutral ground”. But this is not the time or the place. (Revisit the chapter on Empathy. There is a difference between being friendly and having Empathy.)
I am not saying don’t engage in some casual and friendly bonding. I am saying that the moment they are focused on your work, do not change the subject back to chit chat. It’s not in your best interest.
It’s not in their best interest.
And it’s certainly not in the best interest of your art finding loving homes.
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