Top 24  Sales Strategies in Artists Business

Sales Strategies in Artists Business : A successful fine art career depends on many factors.

The strategies I will share here are certainly not the only ones that are important for an artist to consider.

But these core strategies will have a huge impact on your success.

I invite you to consider these factors and to explore the other posts on the blog.

If you find this information helpful,

sign up for our mailing list to receive free updates in your inbox that will help you build a better art business.

And so my post today is going to center on principles that have helped artists become more successful in selling their work.

I want, however, to acknowledge that sales are not the only worthy goal for an artist.

With that said, this post is directed to artists who wish to sell more work.

It’s also important to point out that achieving success in any of the areas listed above takes time and tremendous effort.

An artist should be prepared to work hard and make sacrifices in order to achieve success.

Sales Strategies in Artists Business
Sales Strategies For Artists …

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Top 24 Sales Strategies in Artists Business in Nigeria

1.  Always know what Success Means to you

Before we can even begin talking about how an artist can build a successful career.

I understand that the definition of success can vary dramatically from one artist to the next.

For some artists, success has nothing to do with money.

Success for these artists can come from the satisfaction of creating work that is unique and innovative.

Other artists enjoy the thrill of sharing their talents with others and the adulation they receive for their work.

These artists seek the intangible benefits that come by sharing their creativity.

The greatest success can come to an artist who achieves a balance of all three,

but achieving success in all three areas can take a lifetime.

Sales Strategies in Artists Business

2. Determine where your motivation lies

Determining where your motivation lies will help you prioritize your efforts.

For example, an artist who is focusing on artistic excellence may put all of her effort into studio work.

She may spend very little time attempting to expose or sell her work.

This artist may have to find other ways to subsist – taking jobs on the side to survive and buy supplies.

For an artist who is pursuing recognition, the priorities will be different.

Sales Strategies in Artists Business

3. Always share with the audience

No artist creates in a vacuum, and many would argue that no work is complete.

Until it has been shared with an audience.

Many artists hunger for the opportunity to share their work.

Art is communication at a very emotional and elemental level.

For some artists, the prospect of an award or critical praise of their work

Is more important than any monetary gain that might come from the sale of the work.

For some artists, I’ll call them entrepreneurial artists.

It feels most natural to focus on creating work that will appeal to a broad audience.

These artists align their passion and sales efforts and focus not only on creating.

But also on getting work in front of potential buyers.

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Sales Strategies in Artists Business

4. Determine your underlying motivation

Determining your underlying motivation can help you direct your efforts for exposing your work.

If artistic excellence is most important to you, you may focus on sharing your work only to mentors,

critics and museums – you might not even try to sell the work.

Artist’s interested in recognition might focus on applying

To shows and on achieving signature status with national artist societies.

Again, sales may not be the highest priority.

An artist is he, who is seeking to build a business of his or her artistic work,

will pursue opportunities to sell artwork.

Art festivals and gallery representation might be the highest priority.

Only you can decide what success means to you.

See related; 17 Tips to Successful Art Gallery Business in Nigeria

Sales Strategies in Artists Business

5. Learn to implement the Strategies

Decide what your primary motivation is using the Venn diagram.

Your motivation will help you set your priorities.

Sales Strategies in Artists Business

6. Be Dedicated Regularly

As I mentioned above, building a successful career as an artist takes time and hard work.

A lot of time and a lot of work.

If there’s one common trait I’ve seen among successful artists.

It’s that they aren’t afraid to work.

Successful artists are dedicated to their creative efforts.

They are consistently and constantly in the studio producing.

Selling art is a numbers game.

In order to generate steady sales.

You need to have your work in front of a large number of potential buyers.

In a variety of venues (more on this below).

Sales Strategies in Artists Business

In order to sustain multiple venues.

You have to have a strong, large body of work.

Ultimately, the best way to achieve this is to pursue your art full time.

The vast majority of successful artists I’ve met over the years had taken the plunge.

To produce their art full time before they found financial success in their career.

I understand that pursuing art full time is a tremendous challenge.

And sometimes the demands of life and family commitments.

won’t allow an artist to leave steady employment to pursue art full time.

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Does this mean an artist who can’t work full time on art should give up on the dream of a successful art career?

Not at all. I would encourage you to look at your available time.

And to set a schedule that allows you to both create and meet your other commitments.

Carve out specific, regular time that you can dedicate to creating.

It will take a tremendous amount of discipline to create on weekends or after you have spent a long day at work.

That discipline will be invaluable in helping you produce a body of salable art.

The discipline you establish now will make you incredibly.

productive when you are able to take the leap and focus on your work full time.

Plot out your weekly schedule on a calendar or spreadsheet.

Block out time that you can dedicate to your art.

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Sales Strategies in Artists Business

7. Always Share your schedule with family and friends

Share your schedule with family and friends, and ask them to help you protect your creative time.

Tell them how important your art is to you.

If you can get their buy-in, you are far more likely to stick to your schedule.

I’m often asked how many works of art an artist has to produce to be successful.

This is a difficult question to answer because the number varies pretty dramatically from one artist to the next.

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Some artists produces over 100 pieces per year, while others produces fewer than 30.

Some artists work quickly, but some art requires intensive detail.

Instead of giving you a specific number to aim for.

I encourage you to look over the last year and calculate the number of pieces you produced.

Once you know how many works you produced during the last year.

Set a goal to increase your production in the next year by 25%.

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Sales Strategies in Artists Business

8. Always pursue subject matter

As an artist, you are free to create whatever you want.

You can pursue subject matter that captivates your imagination.

And depict your subject in a style that excites you.

I have found that artists who create work that they are passionate about are the most successful in the long run.

The challenge, especially for an artists who is in the early stages of an art career,

is finding what it is you are passionate about.

While some artists develop a clear artistic vision right away.

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Most artists have to experiment and explore before discovering where their passion lies.

Some artists will try their hand at various media as they are getting started.

And others will explore a wide range of subjects and styles.

This exploration is healthy and necessary in an artist’s professional development.

As an artist begins moving toward generating sales and building a professional career around his or her art.

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It becomes important that the artist begins focusing on a cohesive, identifiable body of work.

If you look at the work of commercially successful fine artists.

You will find that almost all of them have developed a recognizable style

And have cultivated a consistency in their work that ties the work together.

This doesn’t mean that there can’t be some variety in your work.

And it also doesn’t mean that you are going to spend the rest of your career.

Producing the same artwork over and over and over.

It simply means that if you want to successfully sell your work.

You need to develop a style that your collectors can easily identify as yours.

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Sales Strategies in Artists Business

9. Always be consistent

When I look at an artist’s work for consistency, I use a simple,

although admittedly subjective, metric that I use to judge consistency. I look at six criteria

  • Subject Matter
  • Style
  • Theme
  • Palette
  • Medium
  • Presentation

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If the artist has achieved consistency in four of the six criteria across the work that is being presented to me,

I will typically find the work to be consistent.

This means that you can have some latitude for variety in your work.

If your subject, style, theme and palette are consistent.

You can work in several different media with a variety of presentations.

Conversely, if you’re medium, presentation, palette, style and presentation are consistent.

You can explore a wide variety of subjects and themes.

Looking at several examples from among Xanadu Gallery artists.

We can see how consistency is achieved in a variety of ways.

Carolee Clark has a very consistent style, palette, theme and presentation.

And all of her work is done in acrylic.

This allows her to explore a range of subjects but still maintain consistency in her work.

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Look at your last ten pieces and ask yourself how consistent they are in terms of the six consistency criteria.

Determine which pieces are most consistent and strive to make your next ten pieces consistent with these works.

If you are having a hard time judging your consistency.

Bring an objective observer into your studio to look at the work for consistency.

Ideally this would be someone who has some experience in the art world.

A fellow artist whose work you admire, a gallerist or an interior designer.

Sales Strategies in Artists Business

10. Always organize your Business

This strategy may be the least exciting to read about.

But organization is critical to the long term success of your art business.

If your goal is to make sales, or if your ambition is to make a living from your art.

You will need to view your art-making as a business.

Some artists find this idea distasteful.

They may feel that art and business don’t mix.

And that introducing business into the equation may somehow taint the purity of their art.

I would encourage you to look at it a different way.

Building a well-run, well-organized business around your art.

Will allow you to avoid the disarray and frustration that surrounds many artists as their work begins to sell.

By being organized you actually free yourself to focus on creating.

The artists I work with are very organized about the business end of their art.

They’ve implemented systems that allow them to keep track of all of the moving parts of their art business.

The most important areas to focus on are:

  • Inventory Tracking
  • Accounting
  • Shipping/Logistics
  • Marketing

In other posts on this blog, I’ve shared some of the tools we use to organize our business.

As well as tools artists are using.

Every artist is going to have different business needs and will find different tools that will work best for meeting those needs.

The important thing is to make a commitment to organizing these key areas so that you can scale up your business as sales increase.

It’s also important to note that a number of the artists I have worked with over the years recognize that organization is not their strong suit.

These artists have brought in assistants to help them tackle the business.

Sometimes the assistant will be a spouse or other family member.

For other artists, hiring someone to come into the studio several times a week to help is a better option.

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Sales Strategies in Artists Business

11. Learn to evaluate your art work

Evaluate your current ability to track your artwork.

Your finances and you’re shipping.

Do you have robust systems and routines in place that allow you to track your business activity?

Make a list of the requirements of any system.

That would make it ideal for tracking your business.

This list of requirements will help you evaluate potential tools.

Sales Strategies in Artists Business

12. Always receive massive exposure

Successful artists understand that in order to sell art, the art has to receive massive exposure.

To a certain extent, art sales is a numbers game.

In order to find buyers who will be interested in your work and in a financial position to purchase.

In order to reach those buyers, you need to have your artwork on display in a variety of venues.

Always worked very hard to put your work in front of potential buyers.

Many started their careers by participating in outdoor art festivals and shows.

Art shows are an opportunity not only to display and sell work.

But an opportunity for you to build your contact list and develop salesmanship skills.

Sales Strategies in Artists Business

13. Always carry out research

Successful artists also look for other opportunities to sell their work.

In addition to art festivals, many of these artists have participated in art organizations that host open studio tours and put on other shows.

Ultimately, many successful artists have approached galleries with their work.

Building relationships with galleries gives artists something that shows or personal promotion can’t,

constant, long-term exposure backed by a professional sales staff.

Most successful artists are not only showing in one gallery.

They are showing in a variety of galleries in diverse locations.

Besides the broad exposure this strategy creates.

Showing in a variety of markets can help stabilize your sales.

It’s often the case that if sales are down in one area, they may be up in another.

  1. Always get prepare to present your work

As you prepare to ramp up your art career, look for opportunities to show your work.

Seek shows and venues that successfully attract qualified art buyers and have a track record of generating sales.

Prepare to present your work to galleries by creating a portfolio of consistent, high-quality work.

Research various art markets and the galleries that serve those markets ,

In order to find those galleries that would be the best fit for your work.

Sales Strategies in Artists Business

15. Get a business plan

If you are serious about selling art and having a successful art business.

Then you need a business plan.

Every business needs a plan including businesses in the arts.

A plan will help you organize your business and give it a much better chance to succeed and grow.

Many successful artists and galleries have told me that when they started their business.

They now wish that they had spent more time to create a formal plan.

They felt that having a plan would have enabled them to grow faster and make fewer mistakes – take their advice!

Whether you are starting a new art business or have an existing one.

Make sure that the planning process is a part of your business life.

A major benefit of the planning process in addition to the plan itself,

is developing a way of thinking about your business and the environment it operates in.

You will begin to see things differently and uncover opportunities and threats before others see them.

Most people spend more time planning their vacations than they do in planning for their businesses –

don’t let this happen to you.

Set some time aside for planning in your normal course of work –

planning should be a normal part of your work!

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Sales Strategies in Artists Business

16. Get the Planning Process

In keeping with the “planning your vacation or trip” theme, planning for your business is quite similar.

The planning process is really quite simple and consists of four basic questions.

Finding the answers to these questions is a little more complicated and will require some time and effort on your part.

Sales Strategies in Artists Business

17. Get the Situation Analysis

Sometimes this step is called a Situation Analysis in that you are trying to get a feel of where you are today.

And to identify the internal and external factors that affect your business.

Key parts of the Situation Analysis include:

Sales Strategies in Artists Business

Company Summary – a brief description of:

  • Your company
  • Products
  • Markets
  • Competition
  • Form of organization
  • Key players
  • Your story

Sales Strategies in Artists Business

17. Get to know the Strengths & Weaknesses

When you analyze your strengths and weaknesses you are taking a look inward at your business.

Because strengths and weaknesses are internal to your business you have some level of control to alter or change them.

When you find an area of strength, you should capitalize on it.

When you find an area of weakness you should remedy the situation or make its impact less on your business.

Some ideas of areas to look for strengths and weaknesses:

  • Your art, products and services you create or provide
  • The skill of the people in your organization (this includes you!)
  • Your marketing efforts and your brand
  • Your studio and facilities
  • How you create or produce your art
  • Your financial and accounting systems
  • How your company is organized and managed

Sales Strategies in Artists Business

18. Know the Opportunities and Threats

Opportunities and threats are factors that are external to your business.

Unlike strengths and weaknesses you will probably have little power to change them – only adapt.

You should strive to take advantage of opportunities and minimize the effect of threats on your art business.

Some ideas of areas to look for opportunities and threats:

  • Changes in consumer behavior, fashion and trends
  • Changes in technology that may affect how you sell and produce your art
  • Government regulations
  • Changes in availability of supplies / materials
  • The state of the economy
  • The size of the market and growth trends

Sales Strategies in Artists Business

19. Get to know the Competitive Environment

Your business doesn’t live in a competitive vacuum.

It is likely that you have a large number of competitors.

These competitors may be in your neighborhood, city or town, country and now ever increasingly all over the world.

Don’t confuse the fact that your work may be unique with not having any competition.

There are very few products or companies in the world with no competition!

Some areas to look at in analyzing your competitive environment:

  • The number and quality of competitors
  • Geographic dispersion your competitors
  • What makes your competitors strong/weak?
  • Competitor’s actions and reactions
  • What can you learn from your competitors?

Sales Strategies in Artists Business

20. Get to know the Competitive Advantages

After you have looked at your competitors you should analyze what your competitive advantages are.

What makes you stand out in the marketplace and insures that customers think of you first?

A good question to ask yourself is, “What is your “secret sauce”?

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Sales Strategies in Artists Business

21. Try to develop your mission

When you plan a vacation one of the things you do first is decide on where you are going.

And what you will do when you get there.

Planning for your business is really no different.

If you don’t know where you are going then you may end up in a place that you don’t want to be.

In business planning you answer this question by developing our Mission.

AVision of what the future should look like; and Goals & Objectives to focus your attention on key business areas.


  • The what, why, how and to whom for which your business exists
  • Your mission guides your everyday business actions.


Conceptually the Vision Statement helps you describe why it is important to achieve the Mission,

the overall reason(s) the business exists, and what you are trying to accomplish

Sales Strategies in Artists Business

22. Try to set Goals & Objectives

A goal is a broad term for the things you want to accomplish in your art business.

Objectives are typically defined as goals that have been “quantified” in terms of time to complete,

cost, and other resources that can be measured.

You will need to develop objectives for the major areas and initiatives in your business.

Goals & Objectives need to be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time and/or Cost Based

Sales Strategies in Artists Business

23.  Get an action plan

Once you have developed your overall goals.

You will then need to develop strategies and action plans.

to describe the various steps necessary to achieve your goals.

Strategies are somewhat broad in nature.

And the day to day activities needed to achieve them are translated into “Action Steps”.

Your strategies and action plans are similar to a map and itinerary when planning a vacation.

You will need strategies and action steps for:

  • Your creative and product direction
  • Marketing and sales
  • Finance & Accounting
  • Production & Operations
  • Facilities, studio, workshop
  • Management & Organization

Sales Strategies in Artists Business

24. Try to get to your destination

When you are on a vacation it is easy to know when you have arrived at your destination by the signs or points on your map.

Business is no different but the signs are in a different form.

In business we know we have arrived at our destination or completed our goals and objectives by:

  • Tracking our progress on a calendar or schedule
  • Measuring key initiatives to see if they were effective and accomplished our goals
  • Monitoring our financial statements to see if our revenue and expenses are meeting our expectations.


Planning your art business is a must for success.

You don’t need to go to business school to learn the basics of business planning and as you plan you will become better at it.

I suggest you check out more tips on BusinessHAB which contains everything you need to create a winning business plan for any of your business.

Once you are done with the planning process you are ready to start over.

You should develop a business planning “state of mind” and make it an ongoing activity.

Remember a lot of the value of the planning process is not the plan itself but a way of thinking about and running your business.

You will find most of the tools you will need to develop a great business plan for your art business here in BusinessHAB.

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