The fear of selling

I think I’m nearly ready for the Pelham Art Festival. Here’s a big picture from Friday’s article:

Me! Now available in Technicolor!
Me! Now in Technicolor!

Mind you, now that I’ve cut my hair short I look nothing like my picture, but hopefully people will still recognize me? Yeah, that was probably a bad marketing move, but really, my hair needed cutting. It’s not like my face changed or anything.

I’ve ordered all my prints, cards and plastic bags. I’ve got a table. I’ve got a carpet. I’ve got chairs. I’m buying some candy. I’ll burn some CDs of my images (low resolution only, for those collectors who are most interested). I’ve got business cards. I’ll print more handouts.

I still have no idea what I’m going to wear, but I’m sure I’ll figure something out at the last second.

The only major expense I have left is frame the painting of “Megan.”

Then I’m ready.

Arghhh, selling

So while I absolutely adore talking to people about my art, I absolutely suck at selling to them. I just can’t seem to get to the whole “Would you like to take this home?” question.

I don’t want to feel like a sleazy car salesman. I’m afraid that if they buy my painting they won’t be able to eat for a month.

Admittedly, if they were that broke and bought one of my paintings, I suppose I’m not responsible for their stupidity, but I’m pretty sure I’d still blame myself.

The conversation in my head

Me#1: Oh my god, if they buy my art, they’re not going to be able to eat.
Me#2: They wouldn’t buy it if they couldn’t afford it.
Me#1: But what if I force them into it!?
Me #2: Oh yeah,  because we’re exactly like that. We beat people into buying stuff from us all the time.
Me #1: Well, we might start! We might get power hungry and try to take over the world!
Me #2: Seriously though, it’s an art festival in Pelham. Three people live there. I doubt that we’ll suddenly be taken over by the urge to take on world domination. And I mean, even if we did, that’d probably good for us. We might actually sell something.
Me #1: Are you mocking me?!?
Me #2: Yes.
Me #1: Oh. Okay. Umm…why?
Me #2: Because in case you had forgotten, we’re not actually the devil. And our work is important and beautiful and meaningful. It might really help someone. They might love their home more, or it might help them, or it might give them hope. Maybe, just maybe, the meaning that we’re giving through our art is worth so much more than the dollar value we’ve put on it. And seriously, who are we to stop someone from buying something they love? Then we would be jerks.
Me #1: Shit. Good point. Oh my god. We were probably jerks last year. We probably totally stopped people from throwing money at us.
Me #2: I’m actually almost positive that we did. So maybe this year, could we just assume that the person wants to buy and try to make that easier for them?
Me #1: Okay. I think I could do that. I’ll try!
Me #2: Thank god you.

Last year, Me #1 won the argument

And it sucked. I got so worked up about the sales process, that I couldn’t  just relax and enjoy it. I couldn’t just enjoy connecting with people, because oh my god, what if none of them bought anything?

Today though, I read an article by Kelly Parkinson at Copylicious (yes, the winner of my Mother’s Day Giveaway) and it completely changed how I look at the sales process. She talks about assumptive selling, which means you just assume that the person is going to buy and then try to make that easier for them.

Duh, I thought. That’s so much nicer. And so much less stressful. I mean, I’m really good at being a nice person! I’m really good at putting people at ease. All I have to do is get out of my own way. (Like that’s not a recurring theme.)

So now I’m feeling better about it. I think that this year, I’m going to totally rock the socks out of the Pelham Art Festival. And I’m going to enjoy every second of it!


  1. says

    I’m so glad you feel better about this, because you’re right, this is going to be fun. You can be your normal adorable self, ask people lots of questions about themselves, maybe wear a gigantic button that says “Why YES! I AM the ARTIST!” Too much? Okay, so never mind about the button. I always approach selling like I’m going to go help someone do what they already wanted to do. I don’t know who that person is in advance, so my job is just to figure out who already wants to buy, and help them do what they already want to do. It will be fun, like being a detective! Good luck!