You’ve made an appointment with a gallery buyer to show your work. Now it’s time to make a face to face presentation. Here are 6 tips that will make it successful:
1) First impressions count! Wear clean business casual clothing, with a bit of artisan boho jewelry, and closed toe shoes. Dress the way that you would if you were interviewing for a job at that gallery. Solids are better than prints, and a color palette that goes with the pieces you are showing works. When in doubt, black always works.
2) Have several copies of your wholesale price list and hand them to everyone attending your meeting. Then unwrap your pieces, telling them where to find that item on your list.
3) Pay attention to what is said about your work and answer all questions. Never argue or rebut anything! If you don’t agree, say something like “That’s an interesting observation.” Be very gracious when complimented.
4) Make a pitch for your work but don’t be an infomercial. Less is more. Make sure that you include these 2 points- “I’d like to be in your gallery because….” and “I think that my work could offer your buyers…” This makes your presentation personal.
5) Offer clear and flexible terms. Most gallery sales are net 30, meaning that payment is due 30 days after delivery. I sometimes offer net 30/60, which means that half is due in 30 days and the remainder in 60 days. If you want more immediate payment, you can also offer 2/10/net 30, which means that you will offer a 2% discount if the bill is paid within 10 days, or they may pay in full in 30 days. I also offer a trade back policy, which means that they can trade back unsold pieces for other ones with each new purchase. That lets buyers try new things without feeling like they will get stuck with them. All of my terms are printed on my wholesale price list.
6) This is most important: be yourself. Be natural and authentic. Most buyers are also artisans, or have studied art. They love art and are interested in you, so don’t be afraid!
Also keep in mind that the buyer will make a business decision for that gallery, and that it is just one person’s judgment call. If that isn’t the right place to sell your work, it doesn’t mean that your Aunt Millie was right when she said that you can’t make a living doing THAT and should go to beautician school. It just means that this 1 gallery out of a gazillion galleries isn’t going to buy your work right now. You have to be willing to hear some no’s if you want to get to yes!
by Lee Wolfe/ OneClaybead