Artists, Should You Lower Your Prices?

by | Jun 26, 2007

From my inbox:
On Jun 14, 2007, at 12:30 PMPDT, Nicole Strasburg wrote:
RE: Why lowering your prices doesn’t work and how to resist the urge
You’re wonderful. Thank you for addressing this issue. You are incredibly succinct in describing the bigger picture on pricing. I have this conversation often with other entrepreneurs. Thank you for the “tool” to pass along.
I learned the hard way about pricing and discounting. One major thing I noticed about discounting is where it comes from in your body. Feeling the need to lower prices always comes from feelings of lack and/or combined with a fear of standing by the value of what you are doing (a biggie for artists). Expectations of outcome can crumble the vulnerable artist standing at an outdoor show. One thing I always remind myself about any exhibition is this: it is a marketing opportunity. It is a chance to talk about your work, give out cards, meet new potential clients and massage your verbal skills (especially after long stints alone in the studio). Anything more than that is gravy.
I hear groans already, before I’ve even sent the email. I know a business needs to make money to survive and thrive… that is why it’s important not to pin high expectations on any ONE venture. One bad show does not mean that you work is unmarketable, conversely, one great show does not mean that every show will be profitable. It is all cyclical.
I have come to think of art marketing like fishing, you have to keep casting out… it is definitely better to have more than one pole in the water AND most importantly, there is a time to be quiet in the boat. Stomping around in the boat does not attract the fish.
I thank you again Molly. I will save, cherish and share this with anyone willing to take the time.
Nicole Strasburg, Contemporary Landscape Painting
My response:
Hurrah for you! I love that you see the opportunities in shows and look past immediate gains. Buying a piece of art is a special transaction, and it’s no wonder that people want to take some time before they make a commitment. Lowering your prices while your patrons are getting to know you is confusing (and maybe insulting) to them.
Be well,
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