The Art of the “One-liner”—Learn how to sell your art in under 30 seconds
Some call it the “elevator pitch”–I like the term One-liner. I’m not referring to a slimy sales pitch or slap stick comedy. What I’m talking about is 25 carefully crafted words used in that first 30 seconds you have to make a fabulous first impression.
In this post learn how mastering the Art of the One-liner will help you sell your art and leave everyone talking about you and your art for days to follow.
I was recently reminded about the importance of “the one-liner” when I attended a business networking event in my hometown. Our meeting started with everyone getting 30 seconds to describe what they or their business offers. It was VERY clear which individuals had prepared and rehearsed a one-liner to effectively describe what they do and the services they offer. What was really interesting was that these were the individuals I observed to be most professional, who’s names I could remember and who’s businesses I could re-describe to someone else. By engaging me in what they were about they added “me” to their referral network. And we all know what a good referral is worth.
Being able to communicate what you do (in your case, what art you create) in a short concise, easy-to-understand format is critical to your business success.
Can you describe your art (or art business) in 25-30 words?
Whether you are at a friend’s dinner party or mingling at a public event, you will evidently be asked “what do you do?” or maybe “what are you working on?”
What will your answer be?
Why Artists Need a One-liner
The one-liner is your opportunity to share your art (something you are passionate about) with another person (and maybe even a few others listening in and waiting to hear your response).
Don’t waste this golden opportunity to introduce yourself and your art by fumbling through your words or boring your audience with a lengthy monologue. You have 30 seconds or less to make a great impression and get your message out.
Where to Use Your One-liner
• Use on your website and/or art blog. Capture your visitors attention so they stay and browse your art collections
• Be professional when you are interviewed by the media, by being concise about your work
• Use it in all your advertising, exhibition posters, announcements about groups shows, etc…
• Use for answering questions about your work at art fairs and tradeshows
• Use for introducing yourself on the phone when you are approaching a dealer or gallery
• Put your one-liner on your business card and mailers. Many artists are using over-size cards (almost postcard size) for their business cards. This can be done inexpensively at places like www.vistaprint.com or www.moocards.com.
How to Create Your One-liner
This is where I turn you over to the uber-experts.
Darren Rowse, editor and founder of the wildly popular, “Pro Blogging Tips” and “Digital Photography School”. Darren knows a thing or two about networking and building a business. Successfully turning his hobby into a full-time business, Darren has over 167,000 subscribers to his blogging tips website and an amazing 500,000+ subscribers to his digital photography school website! Read what Darren has to say about creating an effective elevator pitch.
I also direct you to sales and marketing guru, Susan Friedmann at www.tradeshow.com. For over 25 years, Susan has traveled the world helping business people put their best foot forward at public events. In this article Susan shares her very easy approach to “crafting” a personal one-liner.
Some Other Helpful Tips
• Don’t use industry jargon or “artspeak” to describe your art. This may make you sound pompous and will not help your audience understand what you are saying—meaning, they can’t tell anyone else what you do—losing your referrals.
• Do use industry jargon/artspeak, if you are speaking to an art dealer, collector or someone with an academic art background. Be careful with this one, as you could come off sounding pompous or worse describe your art incorrectly. Be confident that you are using the correct terms and references.
• Create a visual aid. If you find yourself uncomfortable and get tongue-tied when speaking to a crowd, load images of your art on your iphone or ipad. Use these as a short slideshow of your art. These images will serve as a visual prompt for your words.
Tip: Select only 3-5 of your very best images for this purpose, don’t add music. And be sure that the environment is good for viewing the art in such a small format (e.g. A sunny day at the soccer park, may not be the best place to present a backlit visual).
• Close your one-liner with an invitation to see your work or attend your next show
• Include a request to add the individual to your email list
Last but not least . . .
Practice, practice, practice.
Your one-liner, should roll off your tongue. It should feel comfortable and be in your own words. Practice in front of a mirror. Rehearse with a friend, use a tape recorder or speak into your telephone answering machine. Practice until you can say it without note cards and it feels natural.
Thank you to Susan Friedmann and Darren Rowse for their fabulous articles on how to prepare the one-liner/elevator pitch. I have been a subscriber to both these blogs for almost two years and have found them both great business resources and invaluable for building our art business.
We don’t get a second change to make a first impression. Make the most of your first 30 seconds by crafting a brilliant one-liner. I hope you found this post helpful and that the next time you get asked “what do you do?”, you will have a just the right thing to say to promote your art business.
Related Fidelis Posts Business
“Elevator pitch 101, Intro to writing a 30 second elevator pitch” by Tomas Carrillo at www.theclosetentrepreneur.com. Tomas has some more tips plus some great links to other resources around the web.