One of my clients, Anook Cleonne from Holland, went to a big art fair a few weeks ago.
I gave her a list of questions for her to use as conversation starters.
Because – say after me – the sale always happens inside of a conversation.
I asked her to tell me which of them had proven most effective, and I thought I’d share her findings with you.
They work when dealing with people in real life, but you can also adapt them and use them in emails, on the phone, or even Facebook Messenger.
But, they are the most useful when you’re showing your work ‘in the field’, so to speak.
Remember, when you ask questions, they are not meant to be used as icebreakers, for you to go off on one and tell your story.
No, these (and all questions, in fact) are intended for you to get the other person talking, so that you can express an interest in them, and they can tell you what you need to know in order to get them more interested in your person and your art.
1: What brought you here?
Actually a dead giveaway, but I’ll bet it’s very underutilised.
Perfect starter though.
You might get a plain answer, like: “Passing by, saw the sign, and figured I’d have a look”.
That’s not a dead-end, it’s a perfect setup for another question, such as:
“Interesting. What kind of art do you generally come across, when you take a chance like that?”
2: If they look at one painting for a long time (or return for another look): What do you see?
Anook said many people laughed or chuckled at that question.
Then she did something clever, which I hadn’t even thought of.
3: “When was the last time you saw art that made you laugh?”
Or, if the people tell you it touches them, inspires them, moves them or whatever else:
“When was the last time you had that reaction to art?”
4: When you buy art, is it a mind decision or gut decision?
These are just the top 4 from her experience.
In practice, your art or the actual situation might call for different questions.
But a question is most always the best way to start a conversation and start building a relationship, and set the situation up for a sale, another appointment, or – excellent choice – asking them if they want to stay updated by email.
Get people talking.
It endears them to you, it builds relationships, and: it will give you clues on why people buy art, which you can then use in your own answers to their questions.
That way, you enter the conversation that’s going on inside their head.
So, I’m curious: what questions do you like to ask people when showing your work?
Hit reply, let me know.