I have one claim to fame and that is I have been friends with the wonderful artist Lisa Hooper for a very long time. So when I was asked to run a sales skills seminar for Lancaster’s Creative Freelancers Network, it was a great excuse to do a Q&A with her.
Lisa is the owner of Hoopoe Prints and you will have seen her work on RSPB Christmas cards.
I asked Lisa some of the most common questions that come up for people struggling with sales..
*What are your thoughts / feelings about the whole sales process? Selling is definitely an art and there is an argument for leaving it to the professionals. I can now see the difference between galleries which are good at selling my work and those who don’t bother. The difference is phenomenal and can be down to one individual.
*Do you feel that you are good at selling? I think I am quite good at marketing but less good at selling. I just have to rely on my natural instincts and common sense.
*What are your strengths and weaknesses in this area of your business? Having worked in communications as a public servant for nine years I think I am quite good at thinking about things from point of view of the customer. Also I am a confident writer and buyer of printed materials. Having images to adorn work is very helpful. As an artist you can, uniquely, sell your promotional material (greetings cards for instance) which is a huge advantage. I have sold thousands of cards, all with my contact and web address on them over the years and I have now managed to get a commercial card printer to distribute 9 of my card designs. I also do charity christmas card designs which have enormous print runs.
Very occasionally I have misquoted a price (in their favour), or failed to raise a price and had to let it go. Better record keeping would help.
*Any other recommendations to artists on selling with confidence? Always choose galleries with work that is at least as good as yours and avoid selling in cafes and garden centres.
I never bother with chip and pin but you can hire it at shows or for short events and get some good deals running them off smartphones. For some types of selling it’s essential.
Lisa’s thoughts on on-line selling
So for me I think all this shows that personal contact, whether through a good gallery or directly, and good service is more important than the mechanics of the transaction.
To find out more about Lisa and see her fabulous art go to www.hoopoeprints.co.uk/