So what do you do if you have a potential customer who doesn’t seem ready to buy?
This comes up a lot in art businesses. The customer emails you about a painting that’s a bit pricey. And they ask a few questions. And after you reply, you don’t hear back. Or worse, they tell you they’ll “let you know”. And then…
Ok. So here’s where you went wrong.
You gave them the baton. You put the ball in their court. You said, “here, you’re in charge.” And that would be great if they were as invested in making this purchase as you are… except that if they were that invested they would have already made the purchase.
Since they’re clearly not as invested as you are, they’re not going to get back in touch. Almost certainly. You definitely can’t hinge your next big sale on it.
Instead, if you don’t hear back from them, contact them again.
It doesn’t have to be formal or sales-y. It can just be a casual, “hey how’s it going?” The point is to help them remember about their potential new art and make a decision – not to sell them or force them to buy your art.
There are two potential pitfalls here.
First, you can sound too formal or too sales-y. It can just be a casual, “hey how’s it going?” The point is to help them remember about their potential new art and make a decision – not to sell them or force them to buy your art.
Second, you can come off as desperate. Desperation comes out most often in awkward phrasing and in leaving the customer in control. If you’re careful to relax and talk to the customer honestly and like a friend, then they won’t view this as desperation.
You might feel uncomfortable, like you are pressuring them, but it doesn’t come across that way.
They actually view you as a professional, someone willing to take charge, someone who is confident and not desperate for a sale.
To avoid both pitfalls, you have to wrestle control from them and ask the question you so fear – do they want it or not? But it doesn’t have to be too scary. You can just say something like:
“Why don’t you talk to your husband about it and I’ll check back with you on Tuesday to answer any more questions you have or help you make the decision.”
And when there’s nothing more to talk about, but they still haven’t made the decision, you can say something like:
“So, let’s have it. Do you think you’re ready to buy this piece? I can have it out in the mail as soon as Wednesday.”
It’s always up to you to take things from, “I really love this piece. Everything about it is so perfect.” to a firm, “Where do I pay?” or, “You know, thanks for all your help, but I’m not going to buy this piece.”
Your relationship with your customers centers around you not pressuring them to buy something they don’t want, but rather helping match them with the art that’s right for them. You can’t help them do that if they forget about your art. And they’ll forget about your art if you don’t follow up with them until they make a firm decision.