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I struggle with the 'sales' talk, any advise?
I struggle with the 'sales' talk, any advise?

Tips and tricks to help artist get that sale across the line

Kate Revill avatar
Written by Kate Revill
Updated over a week ago

Sales isn't a strong suit of everyone - sales negotiations can be a little overwhelming, we get that. From our years of selling art we like to think we know a thing or two, so we've compiled below some tips and tricks to utilize to help artist snag that sale.


This is probably the single most important aspect of any sales enquiry. Clear, informative, polite communication allows you to build rapport with the buyer, and building that trust is more likely to result in a sale.

  • Always be quick to respond. Responding to buyers within 1-2 hours max of receiving their enquiry is what you should aim for. If you don't know the answer (or don't have the info just yet), just reply and say - "Thank you. I'll find out and get back to you as soon as possible". This lets them know their message has been received, its being looked into/addressed and you will be following up.

  • Ensure communication is polite and professional at all times, even if your being asked something a little cheeky (e.g. to give a bigger discount). It is best to address the concern/request in a professional manor. Stay away from oversharing and using inappropriate language. If your unsure put yourself in the buyer's shoes and ask yourself would you be happy being spoken to in this way/manor?

  • If you're unsure of what you are being asking - phrase their comment as a question back to them and ask if this is what they're asking (i.e. so are you looking for an original work in a size of 30 x 30cm?)

  • Offer to help answer any other questions or concerns they have.

  • Limit your follow up messages to 3 max across a few weeks.

    • Buyers can and do drop off after an initial reach out to artist for one reason or another. We strongly recommend not over messaging them, this can put buyers off. We recommend the first follow-up after 3-4 days after your initial response. Second after 7-8 business days and the last follow up after 2 - 3 weeks after their last follow up.

    • Each email should have a different motive and some new information. A good example is to ask them if they had any concerns that you can help them with in your first email. In your second email, maybe send some additional photos of the artworks so they can see more detail. And last - you can either ask for the photos of their wall - so you can do a 'digital hang' or the most effective (if you're open to it) - see if pricing is an issue with them and if a discount would do the trick. End the last email by saying - no rush and feel free to come back when you're ready - as collectors have come back after months from their first enquiry to complete the purchase.

  • If you're not able to help its best to politely let them know. For example if you are unable to do commission something like "Thanks for the reaching out and thinking of me for your commission. I'm afraid due to other commitments I am unable to take on commission work at this time. I wish you all the best in your hunt for your perfect work!"

  • Try and answer all the buyers questions or concerns to the best of your ability. Some buyers may ask more questions than others. Questions mean they are very interested but just need some concerns addressing to build that trust. They also might want to know more about the story of the work creating an emotional connection with it.

  • Communication that goes through our site can be seen by us so we can step in and help when and where needed. Any communication that not on Bluethumbs site is not covered by any of our terms so its best to stay safe and keep it with us.

  • Set expectations. If your away or will be delayed in shipping something be upfront about this before the sale so the buyer is aware and it doesn't lead to a cancelation. Being honest and upfront builds trust with everyone, not just buyers.

What's the best price you can do on this?

Unfortunately this is one of the more common questions we all get from collectors. We stay away from freely flogging discounts and 'Make an offer' features on the site to discourage this behaviour - but people ask regardless.

We always suggest keeping at least 10-15% margin in the pricing of your work for such situations but you may want to consider more depending. By listing on Bluethumb you do allow us to offer buyers upto a 15% discount on a sale on site. For more information on discounts with us please read the FAQ Does Bluethumb offer buyers discounts or promotions?

  • How to say 'Yes'? - If you're okay to move a bit on the price, offer them a % discount and let us know (we can then make the codes for you unless you have the Pro Plan and you can make these codes yourself). We'll create a unique code for them and you can share it with them to use on this order. Make sure you understand the impacts the discount will have on your payout and that you are happy to receive that amount.

  • How to say 'No'? - If you're not open to negotiations, no worries. Here's an example of how to phrase it - "Hi there, unfortunately this is the best price I can offer for this piece at the moment."

How to NOT say 'No'? - When saying no to a negotiations, stay away from explanations similar to the ones below:

I can't reduce the costs because Bluethumb takes a commission

This sounds unprofessional and also shows that you don't have a good relationship with Bluethumb as a gallery. This reflects negatively on Bluethumb. Professional artists understand and value the relationship with their agents and galleries as the lead / potential customer has come through their agent.

If they've offered a price - consider it and if it's too high, don't hesitate to go back with a counter offer.

It can be a little bit disappointing to get unreasonable offers - try and take it as a compliment as someone who can't afford your work is stretching their budget so they can have your work in their home. If unsure - talk to Bluethumb's team. There's always a solution and a sale is always a sale.

Using Commissions as an alternative to reducing price

Commissions are a great alternative to offer a client if your struggling to meet on price. You can offer a commission, in a similar style/design to the original enquiry but setting the price to the buyers budget or needs. It means they get to have an original work they love, within their budget, but it also means you sang the sale that you could have missed out on.

Be sure to communicate clearly what this means for the buyer in terms of differences to the original work (e.g. will the work be smaller? will the quality differ? will the surface be different). Communicating the commission process (they may have never done one before) and the input they can have.

For more detailed info on Bluethumb Commission process please see our FAQ Commissioning an artwork for a collector

Things to avoid talking about with potential clients

There are some areas/topics that are best to avoid talking to the buyer about. This topics could lead to the buyer

  • Pricing breakdown - do not break down costs to them e.g. shipping costs, Bluethumb's commission, your over heads, your profit etc. Keep it simple discussing the full price only.

  • Why are you charging what you're charging

  • Direct offers - sending people off Bluethumb site to personal websites or other galleries, this is a breach of our T&C's.

  • Sharing your personal email or phone number to discuss pricing directly


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