About This Series of Essays
This series of essays features real-life experiences that Alain and Natalie Briot had while selling Alain’s fine art photographs. Each story exemplifies a specific aspect of the buying and selling process.
The goal of these stories is to show you how fine art photographs are sold and what happens when they do. The goal is also to demonstrate some of the most important aspects of marketing and salesmanship. To this end each story focuses on a specific aspect of the selling process.
Story 1 - Making Your Customers Feel Comfortable
Money is THE most effective means of keeping score. Dan Kennedy
Making a decision about purchasing art can be difficult. Making your customers feel comfortable will help them make decisions regarding purchasing your work.
We always greeted everyone when they walked in our booth at the El Tovar Hotel in Grand Canyon National Park. In the morning, people were rested and ready to get going for the day, so we just chatted with them while they stood in front of us. They usually took a look at my work, told us they would be back later on, then started off on their sightseeing schedule for the day.
In the late afternoon the same people often returned to our booth, after a long day seeing the sights. Most of them had spent hours walking along the rim and some had hiked part way down one of the trails that go into the canyon. Needless to say, by the time we met them they were tired and thirsty and needed a break!
Most of them were interested in taking a second look at my work, as they mentioned in the morning, but we could see that walking all day long had taken a toll on them. After looking at a couple of pieces they showed signs of exhaustion and were ready to leave without making a purchase.
This is when we stepped in, aware that we could make or break the sale depending on what we were going to do next. We started by offering them to seat down and take a break. There was a huge bench on the porch of the El Tovar Hotel. During the day we used this bench to store supplies, organize prints and conduct other business activities. However, in the afternoon we made sure that the bench was empty so customers could sit there and take a break.
We also offered them something to drink. We carried bottled water for this purpose. We never had anyone turn us down when we offered them to take a seat and have a drink of water. Everyone was thankful to be given the opportunity to do so.
Because making sales was our goal, we had displayed our largest and best selling panoramic photograph of the Grand canyon right in front of the bench so that clients could look at it while they sat down and relaxed. For many, this was the piece they were considering purchasing. While they relaxed we told them where the photograph was taken, what was unique about it and how I created it. When we worked with a couple we left them alone at that time so they could talk to each other and make a decision.
Most of the time, being seated, having a drink of water and relaxing while admiring a beautiful photograph of the Grand Canyon did it. More often than not the answer was “We’ll take it!” Making our customers comfortable, letting them relax and catch their breath after a long day sightseeing, and giving them an opportunity to reflex and make a decision, had done it.
Being comfortable makes it much easier to make decisions. Providing seating and refreshments to your customers creates a relaxing environment that is propitious to sales. Customers who feel good working with you will often make larger purchases than if they feel rushed and uncomfortable.
About the photographs featured in Alain's essays...
My photographs reflect my artistic vision. To this end, rather than present the raw images captured by the camera, I alter the colors, contrast, forms, contents, format, dynamic range and other aspects of each image. Depending on the image items may have been removed or added or several photographs may have been collaged together. As a result the images you see here and elsewhere should not be construed as showing something that truly exists. They are intended to be seen as representations of my creativity, artistic intent and desire to create his unique world rather than as documentary evidence of the world we all have access to.
Alain Briot - NPN 2054
Alain Briot creates fine art photographs, teaches workshops and offers DVD tutorials on composition, conversion, optimization, printing and marketing photographs. Alain is also the author of Mastering Landscape Photography. Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity and Personal Style and Marketing Fine Art Photography. All 3 books are available from Amazon and other bookstores as well from Alain’s website.
You can find more information about Alain's work, writings and tutorials as well as subscribe to Alain’s Free Monthly Newsletter on his website at http://www.beautiful-landscape.com To subscribe simply go to http://www.beautiful-landscape.com and click on the Subscribe link at the top of the page. You will have access to over 40 free essays by Alain, in PDF format, immediately after subscribing.
Alain welcomes your comments on this essay as well as on his other essays. You can reach Alain directly by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.