Ask A Gallery Owner | What to Do when You Ask for the Sale and Get a “No” – RedDotBlog

Ask for the sale, no thanks response

You’re talking to a potential buyer who seems head over heals for one of your pieces. Your conversation is going well, so you decide to take the leap and ask for the sale, but you don’t quite get the response you were hoping for. What next?

Here’s an email I once received about this situation. Comments and questions from the emailer are in black, my responses are in red – names and locations have been changed:


Thanks so much for webinar. Very informative. I have a gallery at a monthly art walk here in XXXXXX and tried using the techniques. Everything seemed to be going super well each time until I said, “Can I write that up for you?” I froze when they didn’t say yes.
Three times in the night I got to that point:

1. One woman said it takes her awhile to make a decision.

I would respond “Of course, I understand – it’s important to take time with a great piece of art. What is your decision making process?”

Depending on what she said I would offer to deliver the piece to her home so that she could have an easier time making the decision. I would let her know that there is absolutely no obligation and that you will make all the arrangements to deliver the piece and pick it up once she has had a chance to live with it.

2. Another said too expensive for her right now ($2,395). I suggested a payment plan and she said she would think about it.

“I can tell you love the piece. It’s our philosophy that we want to help the art find a great home. We can be very flexible in making that happen. Are we a long way off on the price for you to consider taking the piece home tonight?”

Basically I would want to discover how close we are on the price. A little digging might reveal that price isn’t the real issue, then you can start dealing with the real concern, or it might be all about pricing and you can then start to negotiate in sincerity to find if there is a price at which the piece would work, or if a payment plan would work.

Upon offering the payment plan I would show her, on paper, how affordable it would be if the payments were split up over 3-4 (or even more, if necessary) months.

2. Another said she had to think about it. I suggested I was flexible, what was she thinking on price. She said she would get back to me ….

Same advice as above.

You basically just want to keep digging until you get to the heart of the matter, and then start getting the client to commit to small steps – seeing the work in their home – letting you work up a negotiated price or payment plan.

Great work though – and had you not asked for the close those three would simply have wandered off and left you wondering why.

Alas. I will study more before next month. But I was heartened because the techniques got me a long way! Now if I can get to through the closing phase I’ll be doing good.


Have You Run into This?

How would you recommend moving forward when a client doesn’t say yes when you ask for the sale?

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