One of your biggest enemies in building strong relationships with collectors is time. Your customers may never stop liking you and your work, but they may instead do something far worse: stop thinking about you.
Of course, there are ways to prevent this. Marketing is as much about retaining former customers as it is about gaining new ones. So keep at your newsletters, your postcards, your open-studios – whatever it takes to stay in front of your buyers. We all know, however, even the best marketing can start to get stale after a while.
Want to do something that will put you both front and center in a collector’s mind and generate a boatload of good will? Try this:
Pick up the phone today and call a past customer.
“Hi, this is _______________, you purchased a piece of art from me called _________________ about 18 months ago (or however long it’s been). It’s about time for the piece to be cleaned and I wanted to set up a time that would be convenient for you when I can stop by and do some basic cleaning and maintenance on the piece. It will only take about fifteen minutes, and there’s no charge, what does your schedule look like later this week?”
I’ve called clients with this approach in the past and the response has been excellent. I’m not doing this as an overt pitch to make sales – that’s really not what it is – I just want to provide excellent customer service to my clients and I want them to think about me the next time the urge to visit a gallery strikes.
I remember that one customer I called was thrilled with the offer but wanted to know how much it was going to cost him – when I told him there would be no charge he was shocked – I think he must have said “thank you” about a dozen times.
While this obviously works best with local clients, as you travel you can look for opportunities to visit with out-of-state clients.
A dust rag and a can of compressed air (from Costco) while wearing white kid gloves ought to make the process look technical enough. If you can, take the painting off the wall to check the wire as well.
Try this and let me know what happens!
Service, Service, Service!