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  1. #11
    NikoSperi's Avatar
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    Disclaimers: I have NO experience on the sell side of the photography

    Just a thought, but is it possible that the photographer might be the worst person to sell his own photographs? Without stretching the truth or indeed blatantly lying (say, about the author having suddenly given up all form of imaging), many potential buyers are looking for the vindicating push of the trend setter or similarly authorative opinion. Perhaps one should deny even being the photographer in the gallery in order to provide that comforting ideal that "someone other than the author" thinks this is valid work.
    Thoughts?
    If you tone it down alot, it almost becomes bearable.

    - Walker Evans on using color

  2. #12

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    I can't see dishonesty being a valid policy to sell your work. I like to form a relationship with the buyer, so starting off with a lie is counterproductive to future sales, assuming you make one in the first instance.
    Graeme Hird
    www.scenebyhird.com

    Failure is NOT an option! It comes bundled with your software ....

  3. #13
    John Bartley's Avatar
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    I have NO experience selling art in any form. I have decades of experience in retail sales and service. My experience is this :

    1) Not everyone is cut out for sales. If you're not comfortable it shows and that discomfort transfers to the customer - find someone to sell for you.

    2) People HATE being "pushed" almost as much as they dislike being ignored. I've always made it a point to say "hi" to customers when they came in, then left them alone until the body language said that they had a question.

    3) Most customers (at least the ones I liked to deal with), hated BS. Just answer the questions in an honest straightforward manner and then quit talking. The ones who "needed" a push (and almost anyone can be "pushed") weren't always the best customers later on down the road.

    4) If you're the one selling, the easiest way to make a sale "when the time comes" is to ask for it. "Yes Ma'am, I'm glad you like this item, may/can I sell it to you?" When the sale is over - say "Thank you" very clearly. Customers like to be appreciated.

    Just my $0.02

    cheers

  4. #14
    NikoSperi's Avatar
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    No, I wasn't saying that. That was just for the sake of exageration. I was wondering if it wasn't better for the photographer NOT to be involved in the marketing and salemanship, but rather be distanced from the work to provide (by his absence) a sort of second neutral opinion that the work is valid.
    If you tone it down alot, it almost becomes bearable.

    - Walker Evans on using color

  5. #15
    NikoSperi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graeme Hird
    I can't see dishonesty being a valid policy to sell your work. I like to form a relationship with the buyer, so starting off with a lie is counterproductive to future sales, assuming you make one in the first instance.
    Who exactly is the one forming a "relationship" with the buyer? The Graeme that offers the wine glass and the canned smile at the gallery, or the one that spends lonely hours on a hilltop waiting through the night to catch those epic lightning strikes on film? Can you be good at both? And more importantly, do you want to be?
    If you tone it down alot, it almost becomes bearable.

    - Walker Evans on using color

  6. #16

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    Niko,

    You suggested denying being the photographer or in some other way misrepresenting one's relationship with the photographs. I call that dishonesty, but you are free to disagree.

    As I mentioned earlier, my gallery is essentially my retail outlet. There are no "openings" with wine and canned smiles. We open 6 days a week during normal retail hours. Much as I'd like to give out wine to all our customers, I think the Liquor Licensing Board might have a thing or two to say about it. I'm the same person in the gallery as I am when I'm out making photos, running workshops or at home with the family (or for that matter, typing over the internet).

    Anyway, enough of my defencive stance. My wife runs the gallery for 6 hours a day, Monday to Friday. She doesn't have any better sales ratio than I do, even though I'm intimately involved with each photo (which is why I stated the photos sell themselves). She is a good example of the "slightly disassociated" person who is trying to sell my work. Neither of us have ever worked in retail before this venture - we simply interact with customers in the same manner as we would with anyone - as friends.

    Do I want to be good at marketing my work? You bet!!! Then both my wife and I can make a full time living from it (only she does at the moment).

    Cheers,
    Graeme Hird
    www.scenebyhird.com

    Failure is NOT an option! It comes bundled with your software ....

  7. #17
    chuck94022's Avatar
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    I too do not sell photos for a living, but I have been a potential customer in a gallery. Does that count?

    Here is what I think: If you approach a random person at the opening and ask them if they have any questions, that is certainly intimidating. The reason is that many folks might not feel educated about the art and might feel that they'd be asking a dumb question. After all, you are the guy with your name up on the wall. Plus, they don't know you, so there is the natural intimidation of starting a conversation with them on your terms rather than theirs (you are setting the terms by basically saying "ask me a question").

    I think there are a couple of other approaches to put them at ease. If you really want to engage someone at random, or the gallery owner introduces you, ask them something on their turf, like "I'm so glad you came - how did you hear about my show?" and then follow with simple questions like "what kind of photography do you like?". If you want to qualify them as a buyer, you might ask "what kind of photography have you purchased in the past?"

    If you want to start with a "warm" customer, you might hang back and wait until you see someone lingering over a photo. Then approach them, introduce yourself, and rather than ask them to ask you a question, perhaps volunteer some information about the photo - why you took the shot, or perhaps an interesting story about taking the shot "I took this shot right before the truck drove through, hit a puddle, and drenched me and the camera!" - tell a story that makes you human in their eyes, rather than the Very Important Guy with his name on the wall.

    Anyway, just my thoughts...

  8. #18
    Mateo's Avatar
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    I don't sell pictures for a living but I've had more than a couple of openings and here are my thoughts:
    1. I hate openings and am happy if the car breaks down on the way there
    2. Drink something early and often until you don't care that the car didn't break down
    3. Become more interested in the possibility of seeing something nice in a little black dress
    Don't know if this will help you sell something but who likes a salesman anyways?
    "If I only had a brain"-Some badly dressed guy made of straw in some movie I think I saw

  9. #19
    Aggie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mateo
    I don't sell pictures for a living but I've had more than a couple of openings and here are my thoughts:
    1. I hate openings and am happy if the car breaks down on the way there
    2. Drink something early and often until you don't care that the car didn't break down
    3. Become more interested in the possibility of seeing something nice in a little black dress
    Don't know if this will help you sell something but who likes a salesman anyways?
    LOL, Mateo, I can see you being quoted in some magazine about this is how to deal with gallery openings. This whole thread seems to be headed that way.
    Non Digital Diva

  10. #20
    chuck94022's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aggie
    LOL, Mateo, I can see you being quoted in some magazine about this is how to deal with gallery openings. This whole thread seems to be headed that way.
    And what magazine might that be, Emulsion maven...

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