1. Business

Sales: Keeping It All in Perspective

Intro by Skip Cohen

Before some of you roll your eyes because of what we’re all going through with the pandemic, sales aren’t gone forever. Things will get back to normal, and even if it’s a “new” normal, the value of a great family portrait isn’t going to disappear.

Bev Walden’s put together the mini-handbook of sales in this recent post. But as you read it, even though it’s written more for direct sales, think about your approach to a potential client online.

Life is different now, but that doesn’t mean your value as an artist has evaporated. Just like stretching exercises before you work out or jog, keep your sales skills fine-tuned. Be ready when the day comes this difficult chapter is behind us.

By Beverly Walden


Of all we do in this industry, I believe selling has the most potential for failure and also for success. We MUST be successful in sales if we are to stay in business. For that reason, I’ve written out some of my VERY FAVORITE tips I follow when doing a sale with the hope that they will help you to conquer your fear of sales and enhance your abilities.

Here we go!

Modify your speech…

  • Stay on track, know when to speak and when to shut up!
  • Do small talk at the beginning of the sale, but just enough to break the ice, find common ground, make them comfortable and set the stage.
  • Too much conversation at this stage will derail the train and get you off track.
  • Save the deeper topics or extra chit chat until after the sale is closed.

Match your speech, posture, and personality to the client...

  • Quiet people make me quieter.
  • Talkative people make me talk more.
  • Creative people allow me to open up alternative ways to display their images.
  • Traditional or more logical personalities demand a more polished approach, but it must still have emotion.
  • Match your presentation to the client.
  • Dress to match the image of your studio. I dress one level up from casual on sales days.
  • Grooming needs to be impeccable.   

Create Relationships…

  • Always compliment their children!  People love to talk about their kids. You can see their faces light up.
  • Note the child’s characteristics they mention and point out the images where those are highlighted.
  • Talk about the value to THEM!  How do they benefit from buying your work?
    • Memories/legacy-kids grow up so fast.
    • History-family history is so important.
    • Feelings-they will feel strong emotions as they look at the images.
    • Artwork-to decorate their home.
    • Love people, respect them, listen to them and find answers for

The “moment of truth”…

  • This happens in every sale where the next one to speak loses. Know when this moment arrives and be quiet!
  • Be sensitive to the client-learn to read body language and facial expressions.
  • Give them space and private time if needed to talk over their thoughts.
  • Write decisions down from major to minor.  Don’t ask too many questions or chat much at this time.  Be very businesslike during this fragile time.  When you have written the order down, put it into your system, then check it with them for accuracy.  If they see it in invoice form, it becomes real to them and they most likely will not alter it.

Most of all…

  • Love and respect your clients for they are the reason you can open your doors every day, play, be creative and get paid for it!

And finally…

“Become the person who would attract the results you seek.”

Jim Cathcart

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