art insider | Feb 22, 2018 |
How to pitch art to your clients

This week’s column will be less technical than last week's column on what to include in an art budget—but it will more practical.

The two common mistakes designers make when pitching art to clients are sending too many options and sending options via email.

When you overload clients with options they’re likely fall into a a common psychological phenomenon I call "analysis paralysis." The sad result is they avoid making a decision. The best way to motivate people to buy art is to present them with an edited list. My preference is to offer three to five solid recommendations per space at a time. Maybe some will resonate and others won’t, but getting feedback on the first round and providing a tailored list of alternatives is more effective than sharing everything under the sun all at once.

Once you've made the short list, you should meet the client in person with iPad in hand in order to review together what a digital image alone does not convey—scale, texture, the story behind the art, etcetera. These factors are hugely important in a client’s decision-making process; they help him or her to envision it in the space and feel personally connected to it. Talking through these points force clients to consider them rather than forming conclusive opinions on an inherently uninformative digital image.

My last pro tip on this subject is to bring measuring tape and painter’s tape with you to every presentation. It’s hard to imagine what a 40-by-30-inch art piece will look like over the sofa, and how that scale works proportionally within a space. Any sort of physical assistance you can provide without having the art in the space is useful.

Up for next time: How to talk about art (in a way that resonates). And send us any specific challenges you face.

Katharine Earnhardt is the president and founder of Mason Lane Art Advisory, a Brooklyn firm that styles walls nationwide.

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