Six Art Career Production Problems

Stop waiting to fix production problemsProduction problems can kill your art career.

You already know continually making great art that gets the attention of your prospective buyers is not easy. This is especially true when you are working on production deadlines. If you are a producing artist making a living from your work, or that is your goal, then you don’t have the luxury of spending endless hours on each piece. You need to know when to quit. When good is good enough. Following daily rituals are part of the process and production capabilities of successful artists.

You have to make it before you can sell it.

Production is about keeping the horse in front of the cart. By that, I mean working on art marketing projects before you have your production issues under control is pointless. Learn to get a handle on making a sufficient amount of art annually so you can accurately predict your income and adjust your marketing to meet your production and sales goals.

Your production capabilities inform your marketing decisions. Get your pipeline filling processes refined, and then work progressively on creating demand to move your inventory.

Do any of these art production problems resemble your situation?

  1. Your work is so intricate and time-consuming that you can never make or charge enough to make a living.
  2. You have too many other competing interests in your life such as a full-time job, demanding family life or other compelling pursuits.
  3. Your disorganization blocks you from getting as much done as needed.
  4. You have not perfected an art making system with a process and a plan that allows you to move efficiently from one logical step to the next without hesitation.
  5. You lack concentration, or find yourself easily distracted by your computer, television, cell phone or other things that sidetrack you from your work.
  6. You don’t have the big picture, which means you lack a long-range plan for your career.

Any of those issues or combination of them can stop your career in its track. None of them are insurmountable so long as you are willing and flexible enough to make necessary changes. It comes down to what you want from your career, and how important the success you dream about is to you.

Take Control of Your Art Career

Each piece of art should be part of a bigger plan.

You need to recognize that the individual pieces you make are simply small cogs in your big career plan. If completing the piece you are working on is your big goal, your career is screwed.

It starts with discipline.

For those of you struggling with how to get things done, you need to look at what you are doing. Ask yourself:

  • Are you giving yourself enough time to create all the work you have scheduled?
  • Are you working efficiently, so you waste as little time and motion as possible?
  • Do you have set hours for concentrating on getting your work done?
  • Are you able to keep distractions from family, friends, and Facebook from disrupting your time?
  • Are you set up to start working once your walk in studio or workspace immediately?
  • Are there other things going on personally or professionally hindering your production?

If you relate to any of the questions above, or have other problems with creating enough art so that you can supply the demand your plans require, then you need to stop everything. Make sure you have identified your issue and fix it.

Once you have mastered your production needs, or at least are seeing a significant improvement in your process for getting them under control, you can start to think about how to get your work sold.

Do not spend time marketing your work until:

  1. You are making work that potential customers will purchase regularly.
  2. You are capable of turning out enough work to satisfy the demands your marketing will create.

It makes no sense to spend any time or money on marketing until you are ready. This does not mean you need 100 pieces in your inventory to get started marketing your art. (The number of pieces, of course, will vary depending on your media and other things. Sculpture, for instance, will have much lower numbers.) As a painter or photographer, you may need a dozen or more ready for immediate sale along with the knowledge and confidence you can steadily continue to make more pieces to match your marketing efforts and career goals.

Improving production comes differently to every artist.

There is no one clear-cut method for ramping up production. If you are having problems, you should already be aware that you are. Your best sources of help are other artists. Any problems you have are not unique to you. Improving production is much the same as improving your technical skills. You learn from others, and through your own trial and error. Just keep getting better and faster.

You should know on average how long each piece you create takes to finish.

With that easy stat, you can project how many pieces you can create in monthly and annual increments. It makes the rest of your business plan work. If you can make 80 pieces of art in the next 12 months, then you can investigate what you need to do to get those pieces sold. It is all part of a journey and process to move your career along to the place where your results match your vision for your big picture.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Some links in the post may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.

How to Sell Your Art Using Buyer Social Styles

There are four basic buyer social styles.

Four Basic Buyer Social StylesYou can learn to improve your art sales and your people skills. Learning how to sell your art is a necessary and mostly an acquired skill for artists who want the greatest success for their career. Incorporating sales training and ethical techniques to sell products effectively and efficiently is not unique to artists. Every business, from the large to the small, requires steady sales to capitalize the operation.

You need these elements working properly for success in your career.

While there is an argument that there will be no songs to sell if there is no one to write them is accurate, the flip says production minus sales equals scrap. There you have it. Simply put, you cannot have production without sales and vice-versa.

Top Three Factors for Art Career Success

As a small-business owner in a creative field, your success is determined by many factors. Arguably, the most important are these three:

  1. Creative output – you need to make work people want to buy. If it pleases you and few others, you have either a problem or a hobby. Additionally, you need to produce enough work to fill your pipeline and satisfy demand from your buyers, distributors and galleries.
  2. Getting found – it is not enough to make great work. You need to work steadily at getting your work seen by potential prospects and qualified buyers and distributors.
  3. Steady sales – the exchange of money for your work is the result of activities around marketing and selling your work. Even artists who primarily sell through galleries and third-party distributors need adequate selling skills.

For the purposes of this blog, we presume our readers utilize the multitude of available resources to help them with their art creation duties. We do, however, spend considerable time providing useful information on getting found and making sales. You will find among the nearly 600 posts produced for this blog, and the five books I have written, nearly all are aimed at helping you to get your work found and with tips and techniques on how to sell your art.

How to Recognize Different Kinds of Art Buyers

Recently, my co-broadcasting partner, Jason Horejs, owner of Xanadu Gallery, and I presented another free broadcast for our artist friends and followers. This time, we discussed How to Recognize Different Kinds of Art Buyers. Here is a replay of the broadcast.

Artists who are attempting to learn what kind of customers they encounter have multiple things to consider. Understanding and recognizing social styles gives you a huge advantage.

You can break down buyer social styles into four main categories:

  • Driver
  • Expressive
  • Amiable
  • Analytical

Rather than doing a synopsis, I suggest you learn about these various social styles on this link. I further recommend you take this free personality profile. If you are like me, you will be amazed at the accuracy of the test. Click here to take the test.

For those of you who are interested, I am a Diplomat ENFP personality. According to the test, as one of the Diplomats . I am

An empathic and idealistic individual who enjoys exploring interesting ideas and prizes morality. One who is known for my enthusiasm, optimism and intuitive skills

The ENFP personality is a true free spirit. They are often the life of the party, but unlike Explorers, they are less interested in the sheer excitement and pleasure of the moment than they are in enjoying the social and emotional connections they make with others. Charming, independent, energetic and compassionate, the 7% of the population that they comprise can certainly be felt in any crowd.

How does knowing about buyer social styles help to sell art?

That’s a great question. Glad I asked it. Here is what to do.

When you are in a social situation, step back from the crush of the moment and use your powers of observation to help you get a read on your prospect. Most of us wear our styles on our sleeves, so it is not really that hard to make a quick, accurate judgment.

The whole point is to help you adjust your style to match that of your prospect more carefully. When you address them in the manner of their social style, you will find progressing a conversation to closing a deal much easier with less friction.

Driver -

Let’s start with the Driver style. This person is assertive, quick to decide and expects to be treated with respect for his stature and most likely his time. Many CEOs are Drivers.

With a Driver, you want to get to the point fast, state your facts clearly, move to a close as soon as possible. Make sure they understand this is your best work and worthy of them owning it.

Expressive -

With an Expressive, you want to paint a picture for them. Let them know how much joy they will gain from sharing this fabulous piece of art with others. Compliment them for their inherent ability to quickly pick the best art from among all available. Paint them a picture of how this art will express their great taste where it is on display.

Amiable -

With an Amiable, you want to let them know this art is widely popular. Explain to them that this artist has a vast following of collectors, fans, friends, and social media contacts. Assure them they are making an excellent choice in their purchase. Let them know that many people just like them are jubilant having purchased similar work by the same artist.

Analytical -

With an Analytical, you want to take the time to explain the history of the artist, how the prices for the artist’s work have steadily risen over the years. You may want to give them the exact dimensions and ask them for details on where it will hang. You want to give them as much background information on the art and artist as possible. Let them know you have a return policy and give the specifics of it. Likewise, be specific about how you will ship or deliver the art, and so forth.

Understanding an art buyer’s social style gets you deeper into a trusting conversation or relationship.

The point of learning about buyer social styles is for you to gain confidence in your ability to do these things:

  • Use your social style knowledge to observe your buyer’s perspective.
  • Recognize your art buyer’s social style.
  • Apply the information by acknowledging your buyer’s social style.
  • Move to an effective closing situation by resolving your buyer’s needs based on their social styles.

Recognizing social styles and understanding how to respond to them will help you sell more art. You will find there are other broad characteristics into which you can group your customers. Some of these are self-evident. Nevertheless, being able to recognize a characteristic and then react to it is to your advantage in selling your art.

You can lump most buyers into one of these four categories:

  1. Informed buyer – they come into your gallery, exhibit booth or studio armed with knowledge about the art market, and maybe even your art history. Show them respect for their knowledge. Don’t challenge their assumptions. Like the simple buyer below, they may be an easier sale, but it won’t happen if you take their knowledge and interest in art for granted.
  2. Suspicious buyer – these buyers are the opposite of informed buyers. They are cautious either because they don’t have any knowledge about the art market or how to buy art. Be calm, but not too authoritative. Offer as much information as needed, but don’t overdo it. You don’t want to intimidate this kind of buyer further. Get to know them first, then seek to help them learn more about your art and how to buy it.
  3. Simple buyer – to be clear, a simple consumer in this context means they are ready to buy. Their mind is made up. You just need to ask for the close and consummate the deal. It might be an impulse buyer, or one who has desired owning your work for years. Don’t make the mistake on easy sales like these of not offering additional pieces. Learn to suggest a suite of works, a commission, or other add-ons to enhance the sale. The only sales you will ever lose in these situations are the ones you did not ask for.
  4. Indifferent buyer – we know these types of buyers. Some are just Lookie-loos whom you can quickly dismiss; others are those who don’t know what they don’t know. Others are moderately interested in looking at art, but have no front of mind intentions about buying it. Before you blow off an indifferent buyer, it is good to engage long enough to see if you can inject some enthusiasm into showing them your work. Assessing their social style will help you with this. It is a great challenge and a wonderful reward when you convert this type of buyer. If you hone your skills to the point where you can actually sell to indifferent buyers, I believe you will have the greatest success with other types of buyers, and in your selling career overall.

Spending styles are different than social styles.

Spending styles fall into three broad categories and apply across all social styles:

  1. Tightwads–they are personified by B.B King who sings these lyrics: “But you know, if I ever get my hands on a dollar again
    I’m gonna squeeze it, and squeeze it till the eagle grins.” Prying a sales from them is always a challenge. Like working with indifferent buyers, if you can master selling to tightwads, your success is enhanced.
  2. Spendthrifts–the dictionary says these are persons who spend money in an extravagant manner. Those who love your art may be among your most prolific collectors. It happens. Be grateful for sales from eager buyers who seem to have no budget constraints. They make up for the added effort it takes with more difficult buyers.
  3. Average buyers–fortunately, this type of spending style is most common. Show them great art, relate well to their social style and ask them to buy. Sounds simplistic, but details aside, that’s about all there is to it.

 November 21 Deadline for How to Sell Art to Interior Designers book & mp3 bundle special offer.

How to Sell Art to Interior DesignersHow to Sell Art to Interior DesignersThe deadline for you to take advantage of the special offer for the book and mp3 bundle is November 21. If you want to give the book as a gift, or plan to use it to help you develop a new source of repeat buyers, CLICK HERE for more details.

The book is chock full of useful ideas you can use to help you get started marketing your work sold in the interior design market. It also offers insights and practical advice you can use to find corporate art consultants. While most interior designers need a few pieces of art at any time for a single project, corporate art consultants are often sourcing for large installations such as medical facilities, resorts, hotels, restaurants and corporate office buildings.

ORDER NOW before the November 21 deadline and you will receive your book and a free nearly hour long mp3 download. The audio is between Dick Harrison, my co-author, and me. On the audio download, we talk about the unique perspectives our careers dealing with designers, working in design centers and dealing with corporate art consultants.

Dick spent more than 20 years selling art to interior designers all over Florida. His database included more than 1,000 design contacts. He annually sold tens of thousands of his own art and a selected group of other artists to his contacts.


How to Sell Art to Interior Designers

Some links in the post may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.

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