When you stand back and look at your recently completed piece of art, do you imagine it being purchased? Have you identified your target market? In recent times, there are marketing gurus telling people to spend significant time developing an “avatar” of their quintessential perfect client. That’s great for creating online ads or sales pages on your website, but in the real world at an outdoor art fair: are you 100% sure that there are specific people who are more likely to purchase your art and specific types who don’t?

When someone enters your area and begins to ask the completely “uninformed” questions, or doesn’t seem to have the “means” to afford your work, do you find yourself less involved? Do you find yourself resisting giving them much of your time since you are quite convinced that it will be wasted effort? And the minute someone else shows up, do you drop the “lookie-loo” and head for greener pastures.

Do you ever find yourself thinking, “This is going nowhere – they aren’t buyers.”

If you are saying yes to even one of the above questions, it’s time for a reality check. You do not have a crystal ball, and therefore, you do not have permission to decide that someone is unqualified to buy your work. You may have developed a pretty good sense of who is most likely, but you do yourself, and your art, a big disservice if you pre-judge every single person who looks at your artwork.

Even In a very busy show environment, it’s important to do your best to serve each person as though they are a likely buyer. It is possible to keep two separate buyers engaged if you are showing each person or couple that you care enough about what interests them. They’ll stick around.

Art sales grow when you treat lookie-loos like your best collectors! Click To Tweet Assume that everyone will buy! What possible harm can come of that assumption? You might just discover collectors come in all shapes and sizes when they feel comfortable, cared for, and appreciated. Oh, and you do have a payment plan, right?

The worst-case scenario? You’ve had a nice conversation, gathered some contact information to build your email list, and had another chance to hone your presentation skills. So even if you are 100% sure that this person is a lookie-loo, just ignore your instinct to ignore them.

In fact, they may be visiting the show or know someone who is your perfect buyer. You never know when the next pre-qualified enthusiastic referral will show up!


Have you ever misjudged someone and had a surprisingly nice sale? Please share your story in the comments! We all need to be reminded of this important principle!
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