5 Ways to Shift Art Browsers to Art Buyers

With it becoming more and more competitive for artists to gain representation in commercial galleries, many artists are faced with selling their own work. With this comes the great responsibility or turning art browsers into art buyers.

In this post, I’ll explain five ways you can convince art browsers to justify making the purchase of your art—TODAY!

1. Make it easy for them

You will only get a few chances to win the sale of your artwork. Whether it be during your opening reception, on your website, or on a personal visit to your studio–it’s up to you to make the purchase simple, identifiable and clear.

This doesn’t mean you need to have a big “sale” sign at your event or gigantic flashing button on your website. What is does mean is that you need to always be prepared for a sale and never leave them wondering “how can I pay?”


• Have a healthy-size cash float: $200 in bills and $20 in change is a good mix.

• Be prepared to accept credit card/debit card payments. Shop around for different bank rates, watch for high transaction fees. We pay less than 2% in in merchant fees and get our debit machine w/credit card feature for less than $30 per month. If you have internet access, Paypal can be setup almost immediately, the transaction fees are very similar to bank merchant fees, and there are no monthly fees. Check out there Website Payment Standards for more details.

• Post a sign showing what cards you accept. Hang it in a place your visitors can’t miss. Hand-letter or paint a unique looking sign for a more artistic look for your space.

• Offer payment terms. Accept post-dated cheques (50% down, 25% at 30 days month, 25% at 60 days). It’s good practice not to release the artwork until the final payment clears your account.

• Post your prices, or have a price log/sheet in a predominant location. Keep it simple, if you charge tax, include the tax inside your price.

2. Give them safety in numbers

People like to be confident in their buying decision. Keep a journal of comments from your current exhibition (and previous exhibitions) on display. Frame articles and reviews about your work for hanging at events, tradeshows, studio and exhibitions. Be sure to include these on your website and as a hard copy with your artist bio for handing to guests at your events.

3. Give them a guarantee—make it risk free

Yes, I am suggesting that you let them take it home and see how it looks in their space. Let them know that they can return it—no strings attached. This is done with a 100% payment, a limited date for return (eg. 10 days) and importantly, a signed receipt that specifies your return policy.

4. Give them a sense of urgency

Everyone likes to get a deal. Offer a special price for Opening Night purchases or “Limited Time Offer” that may include a small “gift with purchase” such as a set of hand painted gift cards, calendar or a deal on framing (e.g. 10% off, pre-arranged with your framer). Another idea is to promote that you will donate a percentage of the sales from a “specific days sales”. If you charge taxes, offer to pay the taxes for sales made that day.

5. Tell them your story

Help your audience identify with you by sharing more about yourself and the selected artwork(s). Post stories about each piece next to your artwork, and/or display a binder that documents how you approach your work, what inspires you and why you became an artist. Take the time to have this edited by a professional, it needs to be authentic, heart-warming and leave the reader feeling attached to your work.

If you have any tips about how you approach sales as an artist please share them with our readers by commenting.