Selling prints is a tricky business with seemingly infinite reasons for someone to decide they don't want to purchase your image. But one simple question can dramatically increase your odds of convincing a potential customer to pull the trigger on investing in your art.
"What Is Your Budget?"
It's a straightforward question that can be uncomfortable for many people to ask, particularly artists who usually traffic in emotion instead of numbers. But it's a powerful question that can give you, the business owner, a great deal of leverage in completing a potential sale.
Unlike a painter, whose finished product can only be sold as is, we photographers are lucky in that we can print any image in just about any size (within reason, of course). We can also print it on any number of materials. And that versatility is our biggest advantage when talking to a customer.
There are several considerations an art patron must take into account when looking to purchase a photograph. What kind of space they are looking to fill will determine the size that best meets their needs. Do they want a classically framed image, or something more modern such as an acrylic mount? Will the image be housed in a brightly-lit room where reflections will be an issue? All of those considerations are important, but they're all completely secondary to one thing: the customer's budget.
And because we can print the same image at almost any size, on almost any medium with various finishes that can reduce glare, we can meet any of those desires. The only need we absolutely must meet is the customer's budget.
That's why I've taken to asking customers nearly up front how much money they are looking to spend. Of course, I try to connect with them first. I talk to them about the art, what they like about it, why I made the image, how I made the image, and so on. But I don't wait very long before asking what their budget is. It's the apex question in a sales triangle: How much?; What size?; What medium?
In much the way ISO, shutter speed, and aperture play off each other when making an image, price, size, and medium play off of each other to create a sale. I can't make a 40x60-inch print face-mounted on acrylic for $200. I would take a bath on the sale. But I can fit a 12x8-inch acrylic mount into that budget, or perhaps a 40x60-inch unmounted print. Or maybe even a 16x24-inch canvas print. The point is, I can make some sort of a print to meet just about any budget as long as the customer is willing to consider various sizes or print materials.
Once you have a customer saying "yes" to the most important part of the sale — the price — it's easier to find compromises on size or medium to reach a deal. And a customer who wants your image on their wall will do just that — compromise — if it means getting your art into their home at a price they are comfortable with.
So next time a potential customer inquires about your pricing, ask them first how much they're looking to spend and see if you're able to convert the sale.
Do you have any tips for making more sales? Drop a comment below and let us know how you get your customers to say the all-important "Yes."
Lead image by Steve Kampff and used with permission.