Want to Sell More Art? Take Good Care of Your Customer

image source: www.iwave.com

image source: www.iwave.com

Want To Sell More Art? Take Good Care of Your Customer

I share this story with my students in my Mind Your Art Business Growth Course because it’s the perfect example of what too many small business owners do to turn off buyers and lose sales. During a Detroit studio tour, a studio owner told me about a still life sketch/paint program she presented in her space.  As I was newly replanted in Michigan I thought this would be a great way to keep sketching and meet other local artists. Excitedly, I told her I was ready to partake and she handed me a sign-up form.

I never heard from her.

She had me in the palm of her hand. I was ready to give her my money and come back to her studio, where her own artwork hung, and begin a potentially fruitful business relationship but she didn’t follow up.  She lost me and my business.

Tooooo many artists that I’ve met and even bought work from haven’t contacted me after the sale. Not to thank me. Not to show me new work to purchase or share their studio news or exhibitions. Some have but many more haven’t.

FACT: Increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by25%-95%. That means that if someone buys from you and you keep them as a client, your profits rise (you sell more!). And it’s easier to sell to people who’ve purchased from you previously than it is to find NEW clients. How do you get your clients to love your company and keep coming back?

The best way is to create and maintain an amazing customer care program. It doesn’t have to be complicated but it does have to be sincere. Here are a fews ideas you can use to keep current customers interested and buying and give them more of a reason to tell their friends about you, your company and your product/service.

1. Thank You’s: Sounds cheesy but saying “Thank You” and that you appreciate their purchase goes a long way in client care. Buy local handmade cards or make them yourself from your artwork and handwrite a note after a sale. If you can’t snail mail it, send an e-card or attach the image to an email.

2. Communicate: Seriously. Send emails, notes and call. Your customers lead busy lives and aren’t thinking of you but you know they like you so reach out periodically with a “hello, how can I help you?”, news, new products/services or events. You’ll be surprised how many people will rejuvenate their interest after you reach out.

What Gallerists Want

3. Celebrate a Good Customer: I’ve been with my insurance company for over 30 years and when I call them they thank me for my longstanding relationship and it feels good to know they remember me – that I’m not just a number. If you have clients who’ve been with you for years, mark the length of time in your customer list (you DO keep a customer list don’t you?) and thank them for their loyalty & relationship using the length of time noted on their record.

78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of poor customer care or an unpleasant service experience. *Source: American Express Survey 2011

4. Apologize and Fix: The fastest way to lose a client is to blame others when something goes wrong. It’s your company. If you experience a glitch during a sale or delivery take ownership, apologize and fix the problem. If you lose a customer to poor service they will tell other people. If you take ownership, apologize and try to fix the problem and the client leaves anyway, at least you kept your integrity and high, customer care standards in tact.

5. Listen. Customers who’ve purchased are the best tool you have for growth. If you are constantly talking about yourself or your product, you don’t know what you client needs or what they like about your product/service. In order to understand why your customers buy from you, get them talking and hear how they articulate things themselves. And if they complain about your service or product, don’t offer excuses or get defensive. Instead, listen. You may learn something that you can improve upon.

Social Media for Artists

private client once told me that he doesn’t keep lists of people who buy from him.  He doesn’t ask them for their name or email/phone so he cannot contact them directly. My heart sank. He’s losing out not only on increased sales but potential wonderful relationships.  Many people that started out as my clients have become friends and that’s even more valuable than a sale.

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