Sales Skills for Artists: 12 Ways to Head Off Objections

selling potteryHow to resolve objections to the sale before they even happen




Let’s face it. Most people will never make a purchase of your art. So when you do have a “hot prospect,”  it’s important that you understand any objections that can kill the sale. Often, your potential customer won’t tell you what’s on their mind. They might be thinking, “How much is it going to cost to frame this?” or “What if she doesn’t like this gift?”

Although no artist can make every customer totally comfortable about every purchase, there are quite a few things you can do upfront to make many objections diminish, or disappear altogether.

You know what objections you’ve heard in the past when selling your work. Think carefully and make a list of every reason someone might have for not buying from you. Then, adjust your sales policies, services or packaging to resolve many of those objections before they happen. Make sure you include the cost of these add-ons in your price.

Here are a dozen ways to head off those dreaded objections. Use them in your sales presentation as benefits to your customer:

1. Guarantees  – Do you accept returns or exchanges? Do you guarantee that your products do what you claim they do, or that you will perform repairs at no charge? This goes a long way to resolving doubts. Consider making guarantees to raise the comfort level.

2. Include shipping – Shipping charges are a big concern to both retail and wholesale customers. Work out your pricing so that you can include shipping to make this concern evaporate. Or, offer a free shipping special at a wholesale show to create a sense of urgency for placing an order.

3. Free gift wrap – Customers love this, and it’s not expensive to offer. This service can seal the deal, especially for men who want to have a ready-to-give package.

4. Hold purchase until the end of the show –  Is your work heavy or bulky? Offer to hold the purchase at your booth to encourage your customer to buy now. They can pick it up on their way out of the show. Or, better yet, take it to their car and put it in the trunk for them.

5. Free delivery and installation – This might sound like a hassle, but can help you build strong relationships with your customers. Delivering and installing your work for customers is a wonderful service that allays fears of breakage and further expense. When you are delivering your work to their home or office, it gives you the chance to get to know your customer better. This could become the basis for repeat sales, or referral business.

6. Care instructions – This is a crucial element to making your potential customers feel confident in making a purchase. Is your painted silk scarf hand-washable? Will your metal sculpture rust? Can your stoneware bowl go into the dishwasher?  Customers want to know how difficult it will be to maintain their purchase, or how expensive. This information should go on a hang tag or label, and you should speak about ease of care when you talk about your work.

7. Convenient Packaging- When you package your work to make it easy to ship, transport or gift wrap, you have headed off another objection. And when your work is packaged so that it merchandises easily, wholesale customers are more likely to buy, and display your work in their stores.

8. Overnight delivery – Go the extra mile, and offer to ship overnight if requested. Of course, you will charge extra for this service, but it could make the difference in a sale, and help you acquire a loyal customer.

9. Taking credit cards – Most artists and craftspeople already do this, so make sure you have this option. If you are selling your work online, it helps to have the guarantee of a secure shopping cart transaction, such as a logo from a well-known security provider.

10. Allow layaway or payment plan – Many wannabe collectors just can’t afford to make a big purchase all at once. Some artists and craftspeople have plans for customers to acquire their work on layaway or make regular payments. Make sure this works for your business, and have written terms available when you make the sale.

11. Great photos, and lots of them If you are selling online, your customers will have a higher comfort level when you have professional photos. Use several, showing different angles, detail shots, or room views where your art is displayed. One fine artist asks potential clients to email a photo of the room where her work would hang. She photoshops in her painting, and sends it back to give a good idea of how her art works in their space. This has proven highly successful for her, and she sells her work internationally this way.

12. Artist Information Your website should have lots of information about you, including your photo, so that visitors feel they “know you.” Put contact information on every page of your site. Invite customers with questions or concerns to pick up the phone and call you, so that you can personally deal with any objections.

Take a look at your own art or craft business and create strategies to head off potential objections – and increase sales.

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  1. All very good points to incorporate into your selling plan.
    I would like to hear about how to answer the people who say “Love your work, BUT I don’t have any more room in my house.” So many of the art viewer are empty nesters who are downsizing.

    • Hi Paula, thanks for your comment. Yes, it’s true that you will hear this type of comment, and many older people are downsizing. But, you might be hearing it from people who are not really prospects, they may just be strolling by your booth. I checked out your website and see that you offer different sizes, pricepoints, and also reproductions of your work, so you have provided a diversity of product that can address that objection.

      My suggestion is that if the shopper expresses true interest, you get their email address and keep in touch with them through email newsletters, invitations to openings, shows, open studios, etc. The average sale takes place after five or more contacts. It may be that after receiving several communications from you, the prospect decides that they like your work enough to “make room for it.”


  1. […] that customers have to buying from you. Then, you may be able to overcome those objections either before or during the sales […]

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