We had a lady come into our studio a couple of weeks back for a town Art Crawl. We were serving goodies, wine, cheese, punch, etc. We had a new three pot fountain we were finishing up on display. A really nice piece. It includes a large bottle form, about 24" tall, a large vase form (about 26" tall), and a large bowl form (about 18 inches in diameter). Each form sits on a base inside a pond. We provide the mini pond, container, all of the plumbing, and we make the pots and bases. It's really a nice piece of work.
So, this lady starts to ask what goes into making a piece like that? So we talk about throwing the forms on the week, glazing, and such. She asked about how much time goes into those steps. And, I ask if she was interested in making a purchase. She said maybe, how much does it cost? I told her we planed to sell the fountain for $3,975. She about collapsed on the studio floor, gasped and said that was outrageous; she didn't think we deserved that sort of price. I must be insane to ask for that amount of money. She said I would be the highest paid, on an hourly basis, potter in the history of the world. To which I replied... I don't get paid by the hour, but by the beauty I bring to your home. She was not a buyer, she would not have bought at $397, or $3.97... She was a wanna be. Someone enamored with the world of creative people but couldn't believe their value was equal to hers in the corporate world. I don't think I could have sold her a coffee cup.
The next night at out grand opening I was discussing the same piece with another woman. She asked about the price of the fountain. Again I replied $3,975.00 She asked if she could get a customized version? Something slightly larger? Yes, but that will cost more... How much? Not sure, we'll need to agree on the design, but there will also be a design fee, would you be willing to work with me on the design? Yes she says... Do we install? Yes... But, installation would be additional. That makes sense she says...
So, I asked here about where she would want it placed, next to her front door... What's the color of the trim around the door... the color of the door? Is the door a double or single entry? Does she see it on the left or right side? on the walk or in the garden? Does she like the sound of falling water? And, eventually... when can we meet to work out the details of the design... Next week of course... She's a customer, a very very good customer.
Everyone has a target market that can afford, and is interested in their work. The trick is to find that target market and make them very happy by solving their problems and fulfilling their desires. Qualify non buyers out with price, if someone walks on price they should shop at a box store, not at a gallery, studio, or art show. And, you should celebrate when the walk, you just moved one step closer to finding those who will pay your price by learning who won't pay your price.
A buyer in my target market will not be afraid of price, and will engage in a visualization dialogue. Note the questions I asked after price. They are designed to get the person to see the item in use in their life at their home. This isn't by accident. When a person "sees", "feels", and "hears" it in their life they are 10 times more like to part with their money and be a happy customer. Now go back to the first person who didn't "think" we deserved the price we were asking. Art, gifts, luxury items, are usually purchased with the heart not the head. She was thinking herself right out of that purchase.
Just a thought, or two, or three, or maybe that was rant?