If I had the opportunity to meet you face to face and ask you how selling makes you feel, what would your response be? Would you just want to run and hide from the conversation or would you gladly jump in?
If you are like most artists I know, selling is not your forte. You might be telling yourself that you are bad at it or that “selling” actually means “selling out” to convince yourself that selling just isn’t for you.
Reality check: you CANNOT have a profitable art business if you are not selling!
Whether you are selling directly to your collectors or through galleries and reps, it really doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, you need to develop the skills to be able to sell yourself. Unfortunately, the amazing artwork you pour your heart and soul into to create.
Once you start internalizing the fact that “selling is helping,” then it becomes much easier to take the “ickiness” out of the selling process because your work and your business becomes truly aligned with your values and who you are.
So to help you get started and excited about sales conversations, I thought I would share 5 ways to get over your fear of selling. They go a little something like this:
Step 1: Surround yourself with positive, like-minded people
When I started my business, I rapidly felt like people in my life just did not care about what I was trying to build for myself and my family. After a while I even started becoming resentful. But that was only until the moment I realized that it wasn’t that they did not care, they just did not understand.
They didn’t understand the implications, hard work, loneliness, struggles and excitements of being an entrepreneur in the start-up phase.
So slowly and without even noticing it, my social circle started to change and I started attracting more like-minded people in my life. Fast forward to today, I can confidently say that some of my best friends are self-starters and entrepreneurs!
The same way that when you start having kids, you start hanging out with people who have families, when you start a business, you need to hang out with people who get it. Remember what Peter Voogd said: we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with!
Step 2: Gain clarity on your WHY
I have a huge biz crush on Simon Sinek and I think he is spot on when he says “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”. Just think about the latest brands you purchased and you’ll notice how this principle almost always applies.
I’m often asked by artists how they can attract the right people to buy their art. My answer to them is quite simple: get laser clear on why you do what you do and how you are helping your clients and then craft compelling messaging that communicates this specifically.
Step 3: Know your market
How can you be confident about your value, your pricing strategy and your positioning if you don’t know your market? Would any other business owner, in any other industry, start a business without knowing what their market dynamics look like? Of course not!
As an artist, you are not an island. You need to know what your market is like because your clients and collectors are looking at the market and they’ll see right through you if they feel that you aren’t.
Step 4: Up your marketing game
Once you’ve got your message down and a better understanding of your market, now’s the time to create a compelling marketing strategy. Having your ideal collector in mind, start planning the content you can create and the actions you can take to address questions and objections your potential clients would have during the sales process and build momentum for your work.
Start by getting crystal clear on what your ideal collector would need to know to make a decision to buy your work and then, using marketing tools like social media, your website and email marketing, create content to address those issues in an engaging way and build momentum for your work. Don’t know what these objections / questions could be? I’ve got two words for you: Just ask!
Step 5: Consistently work on building your confidence
Confidence is like a muscle, if you want it to work for you, you need to exercise it on a consistent basis. So how can you do that? First, I strongly recommend journaling. If you’ve read either The Artist Way or The War of Art then you know what I’m talking about. Journaling will help you put words on what you are going through, push through blocks and calm the negative voices you keep hearing in your head (yes, you are not crazy, we all have those, but the good news is, you don’t have to listen to them!).
The second thing I recommend, which in my humble opinion is the key and often forgotten ingredient to being confident about selling, is to PRACTICE! You can’t and shouldn’t “wing it” when it comes to your sales conversations because they are an art in themselves.
Mastering selling doesn’t happen overnight. But it is possible, even for artists! And the best part of it is that once you start getting the hang of it, selling actually becomes fun! This is because you get to connect with your fans and collectors on a deeper more engaging level. And wasn’t this one of the reasons you started your art business in the first place?
Are you afraid of selling your work, or have you become comfortable with the idea of selling and know exactly who you are pitching to?
Want to grow your creative business + career but feel stuck and overwhelmed? Then I've got exactly what you need! Download your free "5 Steps to Growing Your Art Business + Career Blueprint" and get the simple yet effective approach I teach my clients who want to build personally fulfilling and financially successful businesses with marketing, PR, and sales strategies that work. Or, connect with over 18,000 other artist entrepreneurs at The Artist Entrepreneur Network and find the support + community you need!