What I also learned is people want to talk to me about my work, but they love for me to ask them, “Well, what do you see in this art? Why do you love it?”

It’s definitely a two way street. It’s a conversation. It’s friendships that develop. It’s real relationships.

Susan Kassin

Artist, Saint Paul, Minnesota

How can you sell more of your art?

(Transcript)

 

What’s your challenge as an artist?

00:02 I would honestly like to make more money and I would like to get my art in front of people who, who want to see it. Right. I’m doing fairly well, but I need, I need to do better.

What’s your other challenge as an artist?

Don’t know how to reach a wider audience. The people who like my art really do like it and they do collect it and they follow me, but I guess I need more of those people and I’m not really sure how how to do that.

What happened?

Somewhere we’re along the line. I ran into you talking about like a gratitude party for the people who buy the work.

Then what happened?

I really liked the idea and it kind of like, I think it had a simmer I guess in my brains hopper because sometimes when a really good idea like that comes along, I almost need to process it or let it percolate organically.

How did it go?

00:50 It was a giant success, but it really was because you mentioned that, that that I put it all together.

How did it happen?

The summer before last I had posted one of my newest paintings on Instagram. I love Instagram. And almost immediately someone said they wanted to buy the painting. I didn’t know who this was, but she, you know, put a comment down. And so I started chatting with her online and she lived in my neighborhood. It turned out and so we met for coffee and um, it turned out this person had been a volunteer locally and one of the oldest theaters, community theaters in the twin cities for like 20 years. She had been a volunteer for them and she does their media and their marketing. And she told me that in this theater. And um, they have a lobby where they actually show art and they change the art for every play, every production that they put on.

01:38 And she liked my art so much that she wanted to talk to the person who was in charge of the little theater gallery and have me talk to them about showing my art there and having an art show at the theater. And that was so great because they don’t take a commission. I mean, it’s all Goodwill. It’s a really nice group of people.

How did you put it together?

I found out all the plays that they were going to show for that season. And um, my art is kind of dark and their season was kind of dark and the darkest play of all, they were going to show us the birds. And so I, I asked, I begged if I can’t show my art in conjunction with their production of birds. And they happily said yes. And so I pretty much went overboard. I read the short story, the birds was based on, I watched the Alfred Hitchcock movie at home and then because my husband and I have family in the Bay area, we’re out there frequently.

02:28 And so we took an extra little side trip out there and we actually went to the Bodega Bay where Alfred Hitchcock had filmed The Birds. So I put together probably the best show I’ve ever done.

How did you create more value?

To thank me for doing that. The theater gave me 12 free tickets that I could give to anyone. I wanted to, to see, um, the dress rehearsal of the birds. And this is, this is actually a cool gift on their part. And so then I flashed back to your gratitude party and I thought, wow, is this ever a great thing? Because not only can I say thank you to my collectors, I can get them, I could direct my own little party of people who like my work and get them together in the gallery. And we could just, we could just talk and we could just look at art and, and there you go.

Who did you invite?

03:15 I thought really hard about the mix of people that I was going to put together and I, you know, picked some friends who liked my work and then I picked the people who are really serious and had bought my work before and nobody turned down a free ticket to the play. And it just turned out to be such a great event because I had that little gallery to myself for half an hour before the play open. And there was just this great collection of people and I, it turned out I sold three pieces. Yay. Yes, it was awesome. I got a commission for the future and thank you. And the Goodwill that came from this was just worth, it’s worth a lot. It’s worth the money I paid for the course.

What did you learn?

03:55 Just be grateful and be nice and talk to people. What I also learned is people want to talk to me about my work, but they love for me to ask them, well, what do you see in this art? Like, why do you, why do you love it? It’s definitely a two way street. It’s, it’s a conversation. It’s friendships that develop. It’s real relationships. Exactly. Relationships equal revenue. Yeah. You know, and I mean genuine. I don’t mean relationships like transactional, you know, interactions. I’m talking about real relationships. You showed generosity, thoughtfulness, healing me. You did that, I think made this a success and more even more of it. You really, you thought carefully, you added value. I always talk about ways to add value, right? You added value by getting 12 tickets, getting this inspiration. You create this whole experience instead of just sticking your art on the wall and saying, come buy it.

04:55 You know, you didn’t do that. You were, you were and you were thoughtful about the people you picked. Because there’s no sense in inviting anybody in unless they’re really going to be a potential customer or ideal referral. So it doesn’t surprise me that this was a success because you were so thoughtful about it and it was so much fun. It was really a joy to do it. This is what I was born to do. I really do feel that all you’re going to do is rinse and repeat. You know, you take that, you take that thing that you created and you learn from that. You learn the parts that work, you learn the parts that you can improve. And you know the, the, you can have another appreciation party. You can ask people to bring a plus one so you can start to expand your circle.

05:46 But I’d be very deliberate and you’ll get to this and the, in a selling course in the program where we talk about how you ask for referrals and I’ll just give it to you now so you don’t have to, but when you sell something to someone and they’re expressing gratitude or appreciation for for the, for the sale, that’s a best time to say, you know what, I, most of my business comes by way of referral. And so can you think of one or two other people like you who would also be interested in my work? I would like to invite them to my next appreciation party. That is such a great idea. That’s a fantastic idea. Yeah.

06:28 Cause I also have this little side business where I submit poetry for poets and um, two different magazines and referrals are how I get my business there as well. People who I am successful with will pass this information onto their friends and say, Hey, she’s really good at this, blah blah blah. You know, you should contact this person. That’s a very good idea.

How do you ask for referrals?

Let’s just try this experiment on you. I’ll say, Hey, can you think of some people who would like to apply to enroll in the making art making money program now stop there now I’ll say Hey, can you think of one or two other people just like you who would benefit from applying to enroll in the making art making money program? Yeah, it changes. Yeah. Yeah. You just thought of one or two other people and if you haven’t you’re going to, I’ve learned up front that I really do need to focus and I need to say no a lot.

What advice do you have for other artists?

07:21 I think that’s more of my problem. Um, I don’t want to be too scattered. I don’t want to say yes to every opportunity that comes along if it’s, if it’s not the right thing, you know, that’s really what I learned. I have to know when to say yes and I also have to know what I don’t want. I have to learn to say no, find your people, find a bigger or community and be part of that because that’s what I did wrong. And also like you’ve said so many times, you know, art school lets you down, they teach you how to draw, but that’s it. And so I was really lost after art school and it took a whole bunch of time for me to get back to do what I really want to do. But that would be, that would be the advice is find your people. Just be determined to find them and stick with them. I wasted a lot of time. Um, but I’m in a really good place now.

What would you say to other artists who are considering applying to enroll in the Making Art Making Money program?

I would say, I believe I found this person who speaks really honestly. She’s kind of a no bullshit person. Um, if you really are interested in marketing your art and in finding that audience, I really can’t think of a better program out there. There’s a lot of crappy programs. And this one to me seems this is the real deal.

Don’t know how to reach a wider audience. The people who like my art really do like it and they do collect it and they follow me, but I guess I need more of those people and I’m not really sure how how to do that and we’re along the line. I ran into you talking about like a gratitude party for the people who buy the work and I really liked the idea and it kind of like, I think it had a simmer I guess in my brains hopper because sometimes when a really good idea like that comes along, I almost need to process it or let it percolate organically.

00:50 It was a giant success, but it really was because you mentioned that, that that I put it all together. The summer before last I had posted one of my newest paintings on Instagram. I love Instagram. And almost immediately someone said they wanted to buy the painting. I didn’t know who this was, but she, you know, put a comment down. And so I started chatting with her online and she lived in my neighborhood. It turned out and so we met for coffee and um, it turned out this person had been a volunteer locally and one of the oldest theaters, community theaters in the twin cities for like 20 years. She had been a volunteer for them and she does their media and their marketing. And she told me that in this theater. And um, they have a lobby where they actually show art and they change the art for every play, every production that they put on.

01:38 And she liked my art so much that she wanted to talk to the person who was in charge of the little theater gallery and have me talk to them about showing my art there and having an art show at the theater. And that was so great because they don’t take a commission. I mean, it’s all Goodwill. It’s a really nice group of people found out all the plays that they were going to show for that season. And um, my art is kind of dark and their season was kind of dark and the darkest play of all, they were going to show us the birds. And so I, I asked, I begged if I can’t show my art in conjunction with their production of birds. And they happily said yes. And so I pretty much went overboard. I read the short story, the birds was based on, I watched the Alfred Hitchcock movie at home and then because my husband and I have family in the Bay area, we’re out there frequently.

02:28 And so we took an extra little side trip out there and we actually went to the Bodega Bay where Alfred Hitchcock had filmed The Birds. So I put together probably the best show I’ve ever done to thank me for doing that. The theater gave me 12 free tickets that I could give to anyone. I wanted to, to see, um, the dress rehearsal of the birds. And this is, this is actually a cool gift on their part. And so then I flashed back to your gratitude party and I thought, wow, is this ever a great thing? Because not only can I say thank you to my collectors, I can get them, I could direct my own little party of people who like my work and get them together in the gallery. And we could just, we could just talk and we could just look at art and, and there you go.

03:15 Thought really hard about the mix of people that I was going to put together and I, you know, picked some friends who liked my work and then I picked the people who are really serious and had bought my work before and nobody turned down a free ticket to the play. And it just turned out to be such a great event because I had that little gallery to myself for half an hour before the play open. And there was just this great collection of people and I, it turned out I sold three pieces. Yay. Yes, it was awesome. I got a commission for the future and thank you. And the Goodwill that came from this was just worth, it’s worth a lot. It’s worth the money I paid for the course.

03:55 Just be grateful and be nice and talk to people. What I also learned is people want to talk to me about my work, but they love for me to ask them, well, what do you see in this art? Like, why do you, why do you love it?

What else did you learn?

It’s definitely a two way street. It’s, it’s a conversation. It’s friendships that develop. It’s real relationships. Exactly. Relationships equal revenue. Yeah. You know, and I mean genuine. I don’t mean relationships like transactional, you know, interactions. I’m talking about real relationships. You showed generosity, thoughtfulness, healing me. You did that, I think made this a success and more even more of it. You really, you thought carefully, you added value. I always talk about ways to add value, right? You added value by getting 12 tickets, getting this inspiration. You create this whole experience instead of just sticking your art on the wall and saying, come buy it.

04:55 You know, you didn’t do that. You were, you were and you were thoughtful about the people you picked. Because there’s no sense in inviting anybody in unless they’re really going to be a potential customer or ideal referral. So it doesn’t surprise me that this was a success because you were so thoughtful about it and it was so much fun. It was really a joy to do it. This is what I was born to do. I really do feel that.

How are you going to sell more art?

All you’re going to do is rinse and repeat. You know, you take that, you take that thing that you created and you learn from that. You learn the parts that work, you learn the parts that you can improve. And you know the, the, you can have another appreciation party. You can ask people to bring a plus one so you can start to expand your circle.

05:46 But I’d be very deliberate and you’ll get to this and the, in a selling course in the program where we talk about how you ask for referrals and I’ll just give it to you now so you don’t have to, but when you sell something to someone and they’re expressing gratitude or appreciation for for the, for the sale, that’s a best time to say, you know what, I, most of my business comes by way of referral. And so can you think of one or two other people like you who would also be interested in my work? I would like to invite them to my next appreciation party. That is such a great idea. That’s a fantastic idea. Yeah.

Why do referrals matter?

06:28 Cause I also have this little side business where I submit poetry for poets and um, two different magazines and referrals are how I get my business there as well. People who I am successful with will pass this information onto their friends and say, Hey, she’s really good at this, blah blah blah. You know, you should contact this person. That’s a very good idea. Let’s just try this experiment on you. I’ll say, Hey, can you think of some people who would like to apply to enroll in the making art making money program now stop there now I’ll say Hey, can you think of one or two other people just like you who would benefit from applying to enroll in the making art making money program? Yeah, it changes. Yeah. Yeah. You just thought of one or two other people and if you haven’t you’re going to.

What else have you learned?

I’ve learned up front that I really do need to focus and I need to say no a lot.

07:21 I think that’s more of my problem. Um, I don’t want to be too scattered. I don’t want to say yes to every opportunity that comes along if it’s, if it’s not the right thing, you know, that’s really what I learned. I have to know when to say yes and I also have to know what I don’t want. I have to learn to say no, find your people, find a bigger or community and be part of that because that’s what I did wrong. And also like you’ve said so many times, you know, art school lets you down, they teach you how to draw, but that’s it. And so I was really lost after art school and it took a whole bunch of time for me to get back to do what I really want to do. But that would be, that would be the advice is find your people. Just be determined to find them and stick with them. I wasted a lot of time. Um, but I’m in a really good place now. I would say, I believe I found this person who speaks really honestly. She’s kind of a no bullshit person. Um, if you really are interested in marketing your art and in finding that audience, I really can’t think of a better program out there. There’s a lot of crappy programs. And this one to me seems this is the real deal.

One Response

  1. This is such a great story, thank you Ann for sharing it as it’s inspirational! You never know who you talk to, so just be nice with everyone you meet. Also the gratitude party it’s the best idea ever.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.