Art Fair Insiders

Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals

I am fairly new to festival selling. The last time that I exhibited was 2007 & 2009 as an emerging artist at the Des Moines Art Festival, which is a super festival for sales/attendance. I have to be honest, I got a little spoiled by both the sales and the fact that I really didn't have to do a lot to sell my work. People were just buying.

Now that I am back on the scene here in 2016, I have been to a few smaller festivals (which might be part of the issue), but I am struggling with sales. I get a TON of love your work, so beautiful, wonderful palette, ect. but I can't seem to land the sale.

I did a search for selling techniques here, but I couldn't find anything concrete. The one suggestion that stuck out to me was someone made the comment "Selling isn't Telling" and suggested getting the customer to talk more. Sounded like an AWESOME suggestion, but there were no actual examples of how to do that.

When people come into my booth now, I do start with telling them about the work, but that is not working. Any suggestions on what exactly I might say to get people interacting? Do I say something like "what piece speaks to you" or "what is that piece saying to you" I was hoping someone had some real life suggestions that didn't sound so lame.

Just a few concrete suggestions to get me started would be helpful.

Thank you!


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Precisely, Cindy. It is not about you or your work, unless they are asking you about it, but about them -- "what brings you here today ... " asking questions and listening to the answers. The more you talk, the less you will make the sale. If they are talking the relationship gets started. Here is a podcast I did on that topic: Selling Art Face to Face,

Interesting discussion. Connie, I don't know if you allow links to products (and if so please delete this) but I recently recorded a video course for Interweave called "Sales Success for Artists & Makers - Sell Your Handmade Work at Retail Events"

I completely agree with the earlier comment that Bruce Baker has some great content. I worked with him for years as a speaker for us at The Arts Business Institute, but the last time we spoke the manufacturer who produced his CDs was out of business and he is no longer selling any educational products that have sales strategies.

That said, there are also a lot of great ideas in this thread that any artist can use. You must be proactive, know your story, and understand how to talk about what you make. Most people will find it fascinating!


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