I’ve been guilty of judging people by their appearance.

Not so much in an “I’m better than you” kind of way (or maybe it is, I just don’t think of it like that). But more in an “I don’t want to add to your stress” kind of way.
Let me explain…
 
Back when I worked in Brampton, this guy came into the store… scruffy, kind of unwashed – but not smelly. Fly away, crazy-looking crazy hair, face scruff, floppy, ill-fitting clothes… just generally unkept.
My first and almost unconscious impression of this guy was that he was likely unemployed and had no money.

Now, before we all point fingers and throw stones at me, understand that that’s part of my job. As the Manager, my responsibility is to serve the needs of artists, but also to assess the likelihood of someone stealing or engaging in shenanigans in my store.
So… I went to “chat” with hobo-guy.

He got a basket and started to load it with art supplies.
Even though he appeared ready to pay for a lot of materials, I continued to direct him to introductory, lower-priced items because I was unconsciously trying to save him money.
He turned out to be really cool, very intelligent and knowledgeable about many and varied topics.
We had a nice little chat and even agreed to meet for drinks after to talk more.

***I’d agreed to see this guy after work, but I still couldn’t shake my impression that he had no money &/or was homeless, and I assumed I’d have to give him a drive to the pub.***

Even when he pulled out his credit card to pay for a pile of materials worth several hundred dollars, I was balking in my head about finishing the purchase, because I assumed he couldn’t afford it.
This is so stupid. For so many reasons. And is so common in sales. Especially art.
 
The truth about this guy was…
  • He was a working, selling artist.
  • He also worked full-time in a day job in web and graphic design for a very successful firm.
  • He made 3 or 4 times my salary (at LEAST).
  • His car made my car look like something abandoned in an empty lot.   
  • I’d wasted the opportunity to double or triple his sale by not offering him best quality, accessory and related items.
  • Which he most likely would have bought because (as I learned later), he’d only used up about a third of the materials budget he’d allotted for this particular trip to my store.
FAIL.
 
WE DO THIS AS ARTISTS ALL THE TIME.
  • We pre-decide someone’s budget before we make the sale.
  • We assume that someone is in the same financial situation as we are, so we direct them to lower priced items.
  • We always assume that someone wants to save money and get a deal – but this doesn’t always mean the cheapest thing, or a discount off of one item. Consider that your collector may have the means and want to buy several of your pieces.
  • A deal could be a deal made on quantity, not lowest price point.
  • Why not go into every sale assuming that your collectors have gobs and gobs of expendable income that they want to use on your art? That’s flattering, for you and for your client.  
  • It’s not up to you to determine your client’s budget.
  • It’s not up to you to manage their finances or determine boundaries.
  • It’s not up to you to decide what they’re willing to do to own your originals.
  • It’s not up to you to say no.
 
Make the offer.
Offer your art. Offer your best pieces, your biggest pieces, multiple pieces...
Offer whole series.
Make the offer. Make the suggestion.
Then it’s the collectors’ perogative to say no, or to counter your offer.
 
Just make the offer. Then you never have to worry about leaving money on the table because you judged a clients purse by their appearance or viewed a client in the mirror of your own financial situation.

You can’t sell it if you don’t show it.
Just make the offer.  
 
 
Take good care,
Lezley
 

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