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Marketing Monday: The Holy Grail

Over the past few weeks I’ve talked about the customer courtship part of marketing, how knowing your perfect buyer can help them find you, how knowing that your stuffs solves important issues for them and finally how they can become your evangelists. What we …


Over the past few weeks I’ve talked about the customer courtship part of marketing, how knowing your perfect buyer can help them find you, how knowing that your stuffs solves important issues for them and finally how they can become your evangelists. What we didn’t talk about is the meat, the holy grail of all this effort…THE SALE.


We aren’t talking about the sleaze bag process we all have expereinced that left us ready to lose it in the nearest waste basket.

Just because I want your stuff doesn’t make you better

We are talking about an altogether new way of looking the process…a way that builds on what we know of that perfect someone, and leapfrogs over the old and assumed way of doing things. This way when added to what we already know helps us create an even stronger following of people ready to buy our stuff because it is based on connection, trust and equality.

Just so you can  understand how this approach to sales is different we as artisyfartsy types have to understand what makes our artsyfartsyness so important that we are so special from other biznesses. Especially those kind that sell stuff in real buildings with things like shelves and even music. Just because we sell stuff, we could easily say we’re like those guys who have buildings so let’s just copy them and bam be on our way. Well…hold on. I’ll be brief just because you sell stuff, doesn’t mean you can use the “retail model” there are many differences… here is a quickie list, summary….whatever of what makes you Ms artsyfartsy so special:

    • You sell in a lot of different places, like a tent in a street or like in some artsyfartsy gallery;
    • You make the stuff you sell and you put a lot of blood sweat and tears into making it all ust right;
    • You make is a small line of products which may or may not be different each time you make whatever it is you make.
    • You carry a small inventory, sometimes all different but all mostly made do one or two things special
    • You are limited (or at least have been) to ways of talking to your buyers
    • You are subject to random acts of one time sales

And this is important why? Well without knowing this you’l most likely keep doin’ what you’ve  been doing and getting the same results. It is also important because you need to know how different you are so you can develop a sales process that really fits your business and those folks who want your stuff. Finally it is important because it is the culmination of all your marketing going’s on…everything builds on everything else to get here.

There is a process

The form of this process is the outcome of how you did or did not design your business to work or in MBAese your business model. The model is not something you build from a kit it represents how all the cogs and wheels in that thing called a business work, what they need, how often they need it etc. Here is an abreviated one that fits most artist’s businesses.. It is made up of:

    • The offer…what kind of stuff do you have to sell
    • Who are you trying to sell that stuff to
    • How do you let folks know you have the stuff they want and how do they get it
    • What kind of relationship do you want to have with folks who buy and or have your stuff
    • What do you need to do pull all of this off
    • Where’s the money going to come from and how is it going to get to your sweaty hands
    • How much is all this going to cost to pull off so you can move out your Aunt Martha’s basement.

OK…you already kinda know this stuff, but at this stage we need to go a little deeper and take a look at some of the things within the sales phase you as an artist need to pay attention to.

They aren’t the enemy

Before we go any further though let’s clarify or better yet debunk a myth we artists have tended to hold near a dear, actually, other ittybizes  problably also feel the same way. When we make a sale we tend to look at it as a victory…yayyyy somebody bought our stuff!!! They actually gave me real money for something I made! Ya know what that’s really not what happened…what really happened was that superific most wonderful person didn’t take pity on you nor did she engage in battle with you. What did happen was she had a need (remember we talked about this awhile ago) and you were there with the right thing that would meet that need. So there was no victory, no need to cheer…she had a problem and you were there with your stuff to solve it for her. That sounds  more equal to me.

This sale thing couldn’t happen like this without all that sweat leading up to this very moment. Because by doing the work we as artists are acknowledging our needs as well…we do need to buy more supplies, food and oh there is that little thing called  a place to sleep also. Unfortunately, there is often an ugly,nasty thing that gets in the way…it’s called by any number of names…but we’ll call it guilt for now. We feel guilty about needing to make a living wage by making our stuff. Well…I have three words for that right now…Get Over It!!! Until you do, you will always have an unbalanced interaction with your buyers and in the process you’ll likely be seen as someone who you are not and in the process not really be taken seriously as someone who makes wonderful stuff that comes magically out of his heart.

Now that we have all of this clear, over the next several weeks we’re going to look a little more closely at this so called  “artsyfartsy business model” outlined above and how it plays into this act of the play. Next week we’ll talk more about why you as an artist are so special to have a different business model and we’ll look at what the first part of that is and how fits into your offer, and a secret method for finding out just how to price your stuff. We’ll also talk about some other secrets that have to do with being smart about raising prices and how fries are very important.
Until then look over the bizmodel framework above and see if you can fit your biz to it.


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By TheArtistsCenter

Bill Weaver is an award winning photographer, visual artist and designer. Bill has worked as an artist, designer, teacher and photographer beginning at a very young age. His mother was a prolific painter and his father was an architect/engineer and inventor. Bill began photography at the ripe age of 8 when he successfully talked his father into letting him use one of his WWII “liberated” cameras from then on he has seldom put a camera down. He was recently informed by his 89 yr old father that the circa 1930 enlarger he used through college was still available! He also started drawing and painting at an early age using everything from watercolor to charcoal. He combined his visual awareness in graduate school where he first learned his love of design.

Bill Created The after 15 years as a working clay artist and photographer led him to question the standard ways artists market their work. In 2004 along with 3 other artists, Brenna Busse, Erika Mock,and Frank Barr, he explored ways to educate the public about the value of hand made work and fine art. Brenna and Erika are contributing writers to The ARTISTScenter.
He also can be found on his photography blog and his photography site

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