5 Habits of Highly Effective Artists Who Sell

Artwork Archive | January 31, 2018

Some people have sales in their blood.

We all know those artists. They’re charming, outspoken, friendly, eloquent, and it seems like their artwork practically flies off the easel because of it. But the truth is, these traits are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to being successful in art sales.

The people who find success selling art do so because they’ve learned “what works,” and they work extremely hard to keep after those good habits.

The good news? You can, too, no matter what personality type you have or what type of art you create.

So, what does it take to become art-selling savant yourself? Check out the five essential habits of artists who sell, sell, sell:

They are prepared.

Instead of diving right in (which sounds pretty scary if you ask us), successful sellers will tell you upfront: they have a plan!

No, it’s not luck, it’s not magic—it’s a well-thought-out selling strategy.

And the first order of business when it comes to getting prepared is identifying your target audience.

Really dig deep to understand what kind of art customer you are trying to reach, because not all buyers are created equal. Not every art buyer will have the same tastes, just as not every art buyer will be able to afford the same works.

The buyers you should be trying to reach are the ones most likely to buy your work, right?

The other secret to getting prepared is giving yourself enough time to actually develop your selling strategy and carry out all of the administrative and marketing tasks that come with it, which leads us to our next habit…

They are picky.

Just like you wouldn’t want to waste time trying to reach customers who don’t want to buy your artwork, don’t waste time on marketing activities that won’t bring you any sales. And when you have limited time, as busy artists tend to have, you must prioritize the opportunities that deserve your attention.

But how in the world do you figure out what is right for your art business? The answer lies again with your target audience. (Okay, maybe it’s a little magical!)

Let’s do a little Q&A exercise:

How do my customers like to communicate? Or in a similar vein, how do my customers like to receive information? Older clientele may prefer traditional phone calls or emails, whereas trendier audiences may stick to social media.

Where do my customers prefer to shop for art? Art fairs, galleries, in stores, online—one or more of these options might be right.

What are my customers’ tastes? Take clues from your art (is it light-hearted, colorful, expressive, etc?) and translate that into your message to potential buyers.

Expert sellers know one thing to be true: if you aren’t reaching your target audience, you won’t be making sales and all that precious time spent on marketing will be for naught.

Put these ideas into practice, but be sure to keep tabs on what’s working and what’s not. You never know until you try and you should always adjust your selling strategy if need be.


They make it easy for collectors to say “yes.”

From the minute customers come in contact with your art business, you have to make their buying experience as effortless as possible.

Consider what questions need answering before collectors make a purchase.

It could be about who you are, price, shipping, the installation, a certificate of authenticity, etc. So, give the people what they want! Think about the best time and place to address these questions. Is it on your website, in a perfected sales pitch?

Having more options may also result in more sales. So many potential buyers who are head over heels for your work have to walk away because an artists’ work doesn’t fit their budget. Make it easier for them to walk away happy by offering art for sale at multiple price points.



Here are some more tips to avoid that dreaded “no, thank you”:

Have a clean, quality and functional website. Only use high-quality photos of your art. Make sure all your links work properly. Make it a breeze to find your social media handles. Answer emails regularly and enthusiastically.

It may seem unfair, but if any of these don’t happen, buyers may move on to an artist who does. Remember, it’s all about that effortless buying experience.

And you know who is more likely to say “yes” to your art? The collectors who have already fallen in love and purchased a piece! That’s why so many artists swear by their contact lists.

They follow up.

Top selling artists are always in the habit of jotting down a few notes after a promising conversation, so they remember who exactly they were talking to and how they should be following up.  

Because people who love your art are worth building a relationship with.

It’s one of the golden rules of selling: the more times interested contacts see your art and get to know you as a person, the more inclined they will be to purchase your work. And if you say you are going to follow up, you need to keep that promise. Otherwise, it’s as good as money down the drain.

That’s where stellar contact management comes in.

Who hasn’t kicked themselves after forgetting to follow up on time or not being able to remember who’s asking about what? Sticky notes are notorious for getting lost.

Staying on top of interested clients with an art inventory software like Artwork Archive can help you keep track of these important details. You can record their contact info, make notes on where you met the person (e.g. an art fair or a gallery show) and link them to a specific piece in your inventory they are interested in.


They know their product.

Any smart salesperson (artist or not) will tell you, the power move of selling is: know your product.

You’re probably thinking, “Of course I know my artwork, I created it!” But there’s always more to a piece than meets the eye. We’re talking about the story behind it—your inspiration, the process, the places it’s been, the entire narrative of how it came to be.

And, it’s one thing to know it, but another thing to be able to convey it to a potential buyer.

Do you know the exact dimensions of that piece you created last January? Can you recall when that juried piece will be available for purchase? Because the buyer standing in front of you wants to know this information and being able to present those answers at the opportune moment can make all the difference.

All of these habits ultimately boil down to one thing … staying organized. 

If you want to get prepared while understanding your selling strategy, your art, and your audience, you absolutely must find a quick and easy way to do so.

The solution? An art inventory management system like Artwork Archive.

This cloud-based software lets you access your art inventory from any device with a wi-fi connection, so you can sell your art at a moment’s notice. Whether you need to know a potential customer’s contact info, important details about your piece, or which locations are selling the most work, these insights are at your fingertips.


Closing an art sale has never been easier! See for yourself and sign up for your free trial of Artwork Archive today.


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