Graphic designers, painters, sculptors, musicians and chefs from throughout North Louisiana gathered in Shreveport on January 30, 2016, for a new WIPLA-workshop, "Sell Your Art Today!" taught by veteran salesperson and popular local painter Joey Corsentino.
Creative professionals generally do not receive sales/marketing training in college and trade school. WIPLA provides free business development workshops to cultural workers across North Louisiana, providing them with the tools necessary to build successful, sustainable businesses.
Corsentino's interactive presentation was peppered with questions, insights and advice. Highlights from her workshop include:
Some people create for fun; some create to make a living. Decide what you want from your artistic endeavors prior to marketing your work.
Actively selling your work doesn't make you a peddler or a "slick salesperson." You are a professional who is marketing excellent work to a buying public.
People buy emotionally and rationalize logically...and they buy from people they like!
You are the expert on your work. No one knows more about your art than you. And remember: no one has your best interests at heart more than you do! Don't rely on others to sell your work for you.
Sales is about asking the right questions, and listening to the buyer. Don't talk too much about your work unless you are asked...you can talk yourself right out of a sale. This is why you have two ears and one mouth.
Be confident (but not cocky!) when approaching a new buyer; people sense desperation. The best time to sell your work is right after you've made a sale.
Your time is valuable. Don't let others waste it. You are a busy professional!
Self-motivation is the key to success. Remember, you are your own boss when selling your work.
Make realistic sales goals. Research your market. Find out how other successful creative workers are marketing their work. Get involved and help with other artists' projects; this will lead to a sharing of business ideas and a culture of cooperation, not competition.
Often, potential buyers may feel excluded from the art world. They mistakenly think creative work is too expensive, or is unapproachable and complex. If possible, have work readily available for buyers with varying budgets and tastes.
Never judge a book by its cover. You never know who might be interested in buying your work.
Let customers make up their own minds about your work. Don't presume to know their motivation for buying, and don't project your thoughts/ideas onto the buyer. Listen, answer questions, and let your work speak for itself as much as possible.
Don't try too hard. Avoid rehearsed "30-second elevator speeches." Be yourself, and establish a strategic (not forced) rapport with your potential buyer.
You have to cold call. Buyers will not come to you if they don't know you exist. Deliver your business card, give out samples, or personally distribute a marketing flyer that features your work.
You must have a social media presence if you want to sell your work. Get a Facebook page. Build a website. Use Instagram and Twitter. List your social media links on all of your marketing materials.
When pricing your work, do not devalue it by pricing it too low, and don't price it so high that people in your target market can't afford it. Do some market research to learn what prices your target market can bear, and what other creative professionals in your field are charging for their work.
When closing a sale, ask the potential buyer, "Will you be buying from me today?," then close your mouth. Don't speak. Let the buyer commit to buying from you, and don't talk yourself out of a sale!
Always thank your buyers. Sending thoughtful thank-you notes can turn buyers into collectors & loyal customers.
Finally, ask for help! Joey is available to answer your questions about sales and marketing. Email Debbie@WorksInProgressLouisiana.com and ask for Corsentino's contact information today!