A message about art marketing from Eric Rhoads

I used to cringe when anyone suggested I go into sales.

To me, a salesman was sleazy, slimy, coldhearted, and filled with lies.

I did not want to become that, and that’s why I resisted sales for many years.

Then one day a mentor pointed something out…

When your doctor is recommending surgery, she is selling. But you don’t look at it as selling, you look at it as prescribing.

A fresh way to look at selling is serving.

You and I buy hundreds of things in our lifetime that we did not know we needed, yet turn out to be some of the best things we ever bought.

I resisted a dishwasher when I was first married. Washing by hand is easy, and fun. But someone talked me into a dishwasher, and now I’d never want to live without one.

Was the person who sold that to me being sleazy, slimy, or coldhearted?

Of course not.

They offered a service, walked me through the benefits, listened to my issues, answered my questions, and helped me realize how much I really needed it.

I’m living in the greatest house ever. I did not want it, because of the price. But once the benefits were pointed out, I bought it, and it was one of the best decisions of my life. It’s brought years of joy and has been even more perfect.

Was the real estate agent being sleazy?

Many artists are resistant to the idea of selling their work because they cannot self-identify with the idea of being a seller.

The reality is that 99% of people selling something are simply trying to help people find products and services that they know will help them. Sometimes they have to help people see the light.

Selling is serving.

Perhaps 1% of the people selling fit the mold of high-pressure, obnoxious, sleazy, slimy, and coldhearted. 

Sometimes people need some help making decisions. Pointing out the joy and benefits of buying your painting is not evil. Some people just need a nudge. 

As I look back, I can think of a few paintings I wish I had bought, but fear got in my way because of the amount of money. I now wish those people had nudged me a little more, made it easy to see the benefits.

One painting I almost bought for $1,400 recently sold for $150,000. I’m wishing I had been talked into it. And though I never get talked into something I truly don’t want, I often allow myself to get talked into something I want. Sometimes I need a nudge.

Selling isn’t evil. Selling is serving. If you’re doing your job, you’re helping others see the benefit of owning your artwork.


PS: Remarkably, the entire auditorium will be filled at 6:30 in the morning when I offer three mornings of Art Marketing Boot Camp at the upcoming Plein Air Convention. Each year is different content designed to give you the latest ideas and techniques to sell artwork. I’ll see you there. 

Yes, I’d like to attend the Plein Air Convention and the bonus Art Marketing Boot Camp sessions.