In the Art Marketing Minute Podcast, you’ll learn how to sell your art, how to market your paintings, and everything else you need to know in order to have a successful art career. 

In this week’s Art Marketing Minute, Eric Rhoads answers questions about planning to be a premier painter, and what to do when someone says they can’t afford one of your paintings.

The Art Marketing Minute Podcast has been named one of the 2023 “Top 25 Art Business and Marketing Blogs on the web” by FeedSpot.

Listen to the Art Marketing Minute Podcast: Episode 128 >

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What questions do you have about selling your art? Visit or e-mail Eric at [email protected] (include your name and where you’re from) to hear your question answered on an upcoming Art Marketing Minute Podcast.

FULL TRANSCRIPT of the Art Marketing Minute:
DISCLAIMER: The following is the output of a transcription from an audio recording of the Art Marketing Minute. Although the transcription is mostly correct, in some cases it is slightly inaccurate due to the recording and/or software transcription.

This is the Art Marketing Minute with Eric Rhoads, author of the Amazon best-selling book, “Make More Money Selling Your Art.” In the marketing minute, we answer your questions to help your art career brought to you by, the place to go to learn more about marketing. Now, here’s your host, art magazine publisher, Eric Rhoads.

Eric Rhoads
Our goal is to help you learn to sell your paintings in one form or another. And if you learn marketing, you embrace it. It will help you we have questions that you send in sometimes we record them if we get a chance, you can send them to [email protected]. And we have a great website you can look at, which is a terrific place for lots of stories on how to market your art. Okay, what’s our first question, Amandine?

The first question is from Joanna Pyramind. From Glenwood Springs, Colorado. My goal is to be the premier local landscape artist in my Colorado ski town in five years. But my art isn’t ready yet. How would you work smarter to improve your art if you knew your art wasn’t ready. I also want to use this time to plan, save and understand marketing so that I’ll be ready when the time is right. What should I be doing? Lastly, with selling “underbaked” art be a bad idea.

Eric Rhoads
All right. Well, Joanne, thank you. I love the fact that you have goals. And I think it’s important to have goals. But you know, it’s a, it’s potentially a big, audacious goal. And I think it’s good to have big, audacious goals. But if you are not selling your art today, and you think that five years from today, you’re going to be the best artist in your town, you better hope the best artist in your town is someone you can easily overcome, right? I mean, there are painters out there who’ve been painting for 40 or 50 years who are brilliant. And brush time does matter experience does matter. And we want everybody I want to encourage you, we want everybody to dig in to study to learn, and to practice. So, you know, there’s there’s a lot of issues here. So I’m going to touch on some of these things. But first off, you got to do the best thing you can to make yourself as good as you can. And I don’t know what that is for you. Because I don’t know where you are. But what I like to do, I, I don’t just ask anybody, because my mother would tell me how good my paintings were even when they weren’t. And you know, it’s like, no, I need to know what I’m doing wrong. And so you need to get your paintings in front of somebody who will tell you the truth. And you’ve got to give them permission to tell you the truth. And the only way I do that is I say look, I don’t want to hear anything good about it. I just want to hear what’s wrong with it, tell me how to fix it, tell me what I need to be working on. Because you know, when I go and study with somebody, oftentimes they’ll say bring a couple of your paintings or some slides or your work or something some you know pictures on your phone, because they can instantly see where your weaknesses lie. And you know might be composition might be values might be brushwork might be who knows what, so you need somebody to give you some feedback. So you need a couple of trusted people to give you feedback. And I include in that somebody who would be a gallery owner or to not to not to get into their gallery, just be upfront say look, I you know, maybe I’d like to be in here in the future. But right now, I just need to know what I need to work on from their perspective. Now they’re gallery owners aren’t painters, but they can see things because they’re around art all the time. I think that the most important thing for you to do after that is to say okay, well what’s my target look like if your goal really is to be the top painter in your, in your small ski town in five years, you know, where’s the bar and what do I have to be? And who’s going to be judging that how are you going to know when you’ve accomplished it? And so, you know, I think studying I don’t really think in terms of competition and painters because you know, I don’t look at my goal isn’t to try to beat another painter out at its you know, or to be I just want to be the asked I can be, and, you know, I think what you’re really saying is I want to make a living equal to or better than the best painter in my town. And that’s a handsome goal. So you need to kind of get the details, you know, if, if that’s your goal, why is it your goal? Why is it important to you? And then what are the specific keys to that goal? What do I have to do to match it? Well, you know, what kind of sales? Do I have to do, you know, yearly, monthly, weekly? And is that really the right goal? I mean, it might be, but you got to figure that out. Now, if you are not ready, and you know that you’re, you’re on the right track, I mean, sometimes I painted for a lot of years, and I still struggle. And I know I’m not as far along as I could be, if I if I could find the time. And you know, if you can put in 810 hours a day, just painting, it’s gonna, you know, I’ve watched Richard Lindenberg, who went from a full time job to a full time painter, two years later, by painting eight hours a day, he was phenomenal. And he just continues to get better and better, you know, and is he had a level of some of his mentors. He’s pushing on it, but he’s not there yet. But most of us aren’t most of us, you know, we’ll never get to those levels, because those mentors are always pushing themselves and getting better and better. So, you know, don’t don’t compare yourself to other people, I think that’s the biggest way to get frustrated. If you’re not selling, and you want to be selling, I will tell you this, there’s no second chance to make a first impression. And if you, if somebody perceives you as a bad painter, they’re going to hold on to that for a long time. And so before you start putting your work out there, make sure that you’re comfortable with it, make sure others who you trust are comfortable with it, because, you know, nobody expects you to be John Singer Sargent, or under Zorn, but they do expect you to have a certain level of quality. Now, different galleries have different levels of quality, different buyers have different perceptions of quality. So you know, you can kind of ease your way in, get used to it get known by some people develop an audience. And you know, just continue forward as you grow, but just be ready. That’s the best advice for you in terms of marketing. You know, marketing takes planning, it takes strategy, I think, you know, really, if I were to bring it down to a nutshell, number one, be the best painter you can be. Number two, be the kind of person that people want to help, you know, some people come in and say I deserve to be in this art gallery will look at you. And that’s not nice, you know, people want to help nice people. So work on that, if you’re not, because you need people to help you out along the way, I wouldn’t be where I am. And others wouldn’t be where they are without the people, they’re helping them. You need people. So start working on relationships, you know, if you if you target a gallery in five years, start getting to know them, help them out, hang out with them. But don’t ask for anything, just help. You know, I think that matters. And then what’s number three, ultimately, it’s about visibility. Visibility gives you a critical advantage be everywhere in network and involved, when the time comes advertise like crazy and never let up. Once you decide to be a professional painter. Advertising is a cost of doing business for the rest of your life. You have to admit that and but advertising is almost like cheating. You can’t cheat painting, because you got to learn it. But you can cheat advertising, I don’t mean to be dishonest. I mean, the fact is that you can if you do it, right, you have really great creative, and you have really great buying, and you spend the right amount of money to hit the right audiences. You know, we do very targeted audiences at my magazines, you know, with rich art collectors, for instance, a fine art connoisseur. So the idea is, you gain every advantage from visibility. So you got to enter every show, you got to win as many shows as you can. Even if you win as a finalist in something, you got something to talk about on your website, you got something to talk about to other people. All that builds up into becoming your brand and who you are. Getting into the right shows is a big booster. You know, some of the shows that one big artists told me he applied nine years in a row to get into a major show and he didn’t think he’d ever get in and boom, one time he was in and now he’s in forever. Winning top awards is going to build visibility. You just got to do a lot of different things. Don’t focus on tactics, focus on strategy, you know, learn where you want to be. Learn what you need to do to get there, and then figure out what the steps are. Next question.

The next question is from Judy app from Canada. When a person says I can’t afford that when they have expressed interest in a piece, what they are really saying is, I disagree with the value given to it with dollars. How do you make a person understand what those dollars are really paying for in original art?

Eric Rhoads
Well, Jody, I think that people say a lot of things when they’re trying to get out of a purchase. And you may be assuming that they’re saying I disagree with the value given to it in dollars, right? They may not be saying that at all, they might be saying, I just want to get out of here. I got lunch in five minutes, I gotta get out of here. You never know people, people tell you things to get out of purchases. There are Little White Lies We all tell. You know, like, when you’re shopping and a salesperson approaches you can I help you, you say what, I’m just looking right? Little White Lies. And it’s just because you don’t want to be bugged. You’re gonna find what you want. And sometimes you’re going to ask, sometimes you’re not people have excuses they use including the excuse if I can’t afford it. And that’s a pretty hard one to come overcome. Because if you if you can’t afford it, you can’t afford it. So that doesn’t mean they don’t value your work, it means that they can’t afford it, or they’re lying to you. So you can’t necessarily change people’s minds. Now, selling begins with the word no, or I’m not interested. Because if you push a little further, you might help somebody break through, you can’t change their mind, but they can change their mind. So if you ask questions that help them change their mind that can help. I like to understand, do they really want it? And can they truly not afford it? Or can they afford it? And so how do you get there, you ask questions, I don’t ever want anybody to feel pressured. But you can lead them to a solution that works for them. Sometimes I can’t afford it might mean I’m looking for a better price. Or it might mean I’m just not fully committed yet. Or it might mean I need a creative solution, like a payment plan or something. So I might say, you know, Mrs. Jones, I hear that a lot. Some people say they can’t afford it, because they’re really looking for a better price. Other set, because they really just don’t want to say no and don’t want to hurt my feelings. But you know, either is okay. Because after all, not everybody’s a buyer and you know, I have thick skin. So which are you? Are you really looking for a better price, you really can’t afford it, or is this just not for you, that sometimes flushes it out, pause and listen, if they say it’s not for them, thank them for being honest, tell them that you hope to have a great day and that you hope they’ll find something eventually. And by the way, if you send me your email, I’ll put that on my newsletter. And that way, if you see something you like, eventually, maybe it’ll come back in and get something you know, just very low key, you know, only 20% of the people are ever ready to buy at that moment. It’s that continual exposure and contact that brings them back in eventually. Sometimes that takes years. Sometimes it takes weeks, sometimes it takes days. And you know, you can give them a postcard or calendar something to remember you by if you want to. If they say I truly can’t afford it, then you can say something like this, I understand that that’s not unusual, I find that sometimes I have to work with people. And I do it when I can. Sometimes people just need to put it on their credit card and make payments that’s planting that idea. Sometimes they make payments to me, sometimes they pick it up once it’s paid off, you know, whatever works for you, you know, I’m pretty flexible. If that route doesn’t work for you then simply ask, well, what can we do together to make sure we can hang this in your home tonight? Ask him you know, where do you think you’re gonna hang out, get them visit, envisioning that a little bit and listen, don’t talk. And then they might add, let them make an offer. And you know, if you’re far, far apart, you say, well, that doesn’t work for me, but this works for me. And understand that whatever you say they’re going to come back and come back with half of that. So, you know, I really can’t make that price concession. Now, anytime you do give a price concession always give an answer a reason. Because if you just give a price concession, it feels a little dirty sometimes. But if you say like, well, you know, my accountant has told me I can never discount prices. But once in a while, I really see somebody that I know they really want it and I just want to help them out a little bit. So he has given me or she’s given me leeway, I can do it three times a year, but I can only do it three times a year. And I haven’t done it this year. I haven’t had to but I’d be willing to do a little bit of a concession if if that’ll help you and then you know, maybe pay me in return in the future by buying something else or you know, whatever. So sometimes little things like that, you know if the if the number is too low, say here’s here’s what I can live with. And sometimes you just have to say I can’t take that I apologize and walk away And you know what, I’ve walked away from deals, thought about him come back and bought things I have. Sometimes I thought about him for weeks and come back and bought things you just never know. So I think it’s, it’s a good idea to just get some practice. Now some of us just are not good at that we’re uncomfortable with it. So a really good way to do it is if you have a friend, like have them work at your booth at an art show and have your and you work their booth so that you’re talking about them that way. You know, I can’t give you a discount because the artist isn’t here. But you know, here’s what I can do. Here’s what I’m allowed to do. They’ve allotted me 10% or something like that. Anyway, I hope that works for you. That’s the art marketing minute.

How to Submit Your Art Marketing Questions: What questions do you have about selling your art? Submit it at to hear your question answered on an upcoming Art Marketing Minute Podcast.