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Getting to the Sale

Early in my career as quiltmaker, I sold my work.

I took commissions, I did juried craft shows, and I was the only quilter in a fine arts co-op with a storefront.

I saw my share of objections to sales. I still see them today. And, today, with the coronavirus changing our sales process, you might even see more objections.

The price is too high. I need to talk to my spouse first. I can’t make a decision today. I need to look at other items. I need to touch the fabric or see it in person. I’m not sure I have space in my house.

I’m sure you’ve heard some of those and others.

Here are some ideas on how to get past buyer objections so you can get to the sale.

Anticipate objections

Whatever the objection, you can think of it as an opportunity to educate your buyer.

Look at the most common objections you get and address them early in the sales process.

For example, if you are often asked how to hang your art, talk about that before it comes up. If your sales are wholesale, explain your terms. If someone wants to see if your art fits in their space, let them know if this is/is not possible. If someone wants a different color, are you amenable to reproducing your work? You may even have written material that answers some of these questions with the display of your work at a show or gallery.

If you sell directly from your website, create a FAQ that addresses common questions. In addition to how to hang the art, you might include your refund policy, how to clean or care for the art, how to insure the work, any shipping costs, a try-out period, a payment plan. Of course, your FAQ will be specific to your art.


While you’ve prepared a response for most objections, take time to listen to your customer.

When you do that, you may uncover a concern that you didn’t know.

For example, your buyer may talk about price. With further conversation, you may discover that it’s not really the price but the size of the work and where she wants to hang the art. You can then show the buyer something smaller at a different price point.

Remember your value

When you get objections, particularly on price, it’s really not about the price. It’s about the value you provide.

When you wonder why Artist A can sell a piece of art for $250 and Artist B can sell a piece of art for $2,500, it’s about the perceived value. You need to “sell” the value of your product and yourself.

When people buy art, they are also buying the artist. You need to know your value and stand behind it. Understand the benefits and value you offer and learn to convey that.

Ask for the sale

After you’ve had a sales conversation, you need to ask for the sale. Lots of artists feel reluctant to do this. You can feel so close to your work that it becomes a personal rejection if someone doesn’t buy. Or you think if someone loves your work, they’ll tell you they want to buy.

Remember, you can’t get to yes, if you don’t ask.

Here are some ways you can ask for the sale:

Which piece would you like today?
Do you have any other concerns before we write the order?
Did you want this set in gold or silver?
Did you want this gift wrapped?
We take cash or credit cards. Which works for you today?

It’s Your Turn

What has been your experience dealing with buyer objections and how have you handled them?

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2 Responses to “Getting to the Sale”

  1. Kim Johnson said:

    Excellent information! When I had my shop in a co-op, the response I heard the most was, “I can buy it cheaper at WalMart”. I’ve never been able to persuade someone to order a custom-made quilt when they lead off with this comment. Even after explaining the cost of fabric, and leaving labor costs out of the equation, they could not justify spending more than $50-70 on a quilt. I concluded that those customers are simply looking for a utility bed-cover. Has anyone found it profitable to try to convince the box-store shoppers?

  2. Morna said:

    Kim, I was lucky in that our co-op really had high-end crafts, so people didn’t come in looking for bargains. Wonder if maybe a display with fabric swatches (quilt-shop quality vs the other) and a written explanation of costs. I’d include labor in that, too. It’s educating the buyer. Unless we make it clear what goes into something, it’s hard to compete. Of course, competing with goods made overseas is near impossible on price.

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