Post image for Going the Extra Mile | How Enthusiasm Can Boost Your Art Sales

Going the Extra Mile | How Enthusiasm Can Boost Your Art Sales

by Jason Horejs on 01/28/2014 · 17 comments

I have discussed the importance of going the extra mile in previous posts. Elaine, Xanadu Gallery’s Director, is the embodiment of providing customer service above and beyond what a collector might expect. Over the holidays we received a lead from the Scottsdale Gallery Association that several women were looking to buy a gift certificate for their parents. Elaine responded with gusto. In spite of the fact that a number of other galleries also replied, we got the order. The email we received after the parents had come in and completed the purchase helps explain why.


Hi Elaine;
So sorry for the late reply! I am just now getting caught up after the holidays.

My mom said she absolutely loved your gallery and that I made an amazing choice! I’m so happy they were able to find some peices- she also told me they’re planning on acquiring more from you. Apparently Jason measured the living room wall and they would like a large landscape for that spot. How exciting!
Thank you for all your help. I just knew as soon as you emailed me back that you were the right fit for my parents. I received over 15 responses from other galleries in Scottsdale but you were so friendly and went above and beyond in offering your services. Candice asked me how I picked galleries, and I said I just had a feeling about you. Once she spoke with you on the phone she said she understood completely!!
Thanks again for making this Christmas so memorable. I look forward to meeting you next time!


It can be difficult to maintain a high level of energy for every potential buyer. We all know that many leads end up being dead-ends. It’s tempting to become complacent. Elaine’s approach proves, however, that a positive outlook and enthusiasm can make all the difference. Every sale counts, and it behooves all of us to work with 100% of our energy 100% of the time.

I should also note that the parents ended up buying work well beyond the value of the gift certificates and have additional spaces we are working to fill.

Way to go Elaine!

How Has Enthusiasm (or Lack of Enthusiasm) Impacted Your Sales?

Have you seen enthusiasm help you make sales happen? Do you have a hard time generating excitement in the sales process? Share your experience and thoughts in the comments below.

Photo: Erie 2 | Linza | 44″ x 12″ | Acrylic / Steel

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Jason Horejs is the Owner of Xanadu Gallery, author of best selling books "Starving" to Successful & How to Sell Art , publisher of, and founder of ARTsala. Jason has helped thousands of artists prepare themselves to more effectively market their work, build relationships with galleries and collectors, and turn their artistic passion into a viable business.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Catie Barron January 28, 2014 at 6:58 pm

Great post Jason and Bravo to Elaine!

For me, enthusiasm is everything. I am so excited and grateful everyday to be doing this, that I exude it everywhere I go. People tend to be interested in artists, therefore they want to know you better and being able to show a strong interest in what you do with excitement makes the conversation better and memorable. I believe that every artist should believe in their work and be engaged in their journey. After all, if I don’t believe in my work then how will a buyer?

I have found, this past year especially, that people buy my work because of me and the imagery…not just the painting. I feel artists should tell their story, share their journey, and do so enthusiastically. That is how people will remember you; by being engaged and by being a truthful version of yourself.


Eric Armusik January 28, 2014 at 10:42 pm

The more you can be the problem-solver and the expert to the buyer the better you are to receive sales. That doesn’t mean try to be everything and anything. Play to your strengths. Look at what you have experience in and use it as a tool to help you stand out among other artists / galleries when driving your sales. The more you stay true to what you know you’ll always have that distinct advantage to make the sale.


Kellee January 29, 2014 at 6:48 am

Enthusiasm has made all the difference for me. I started showing in the fall of 2012 and my art community could not believe how quickly I found my audience. I never stopped being enthusiastic. I respond to each email with gratitude and graciousness. I try to be as inclusive and accessible as possible. The brooding artist and stand-offish gallery is a thing of the past. The internet means we get to know the story behind the art and that gives the artist every opportunity to reach out to his or her audience and bring them into their circle of creativity, to help the collector be as enthusiastic about art as we art about creating it. No time for prima donnas, no space for attitude, no room for ego. Enthusiasm is infectious, and it is my path to success… my humble opinion, of course!


Bob Clyatt January 29, 2014 at 7:26 am

Can’t deny Mom and Apple Pie. My question is, who’s work is hanging in the alcove in the picture above? It is a delicious work, but pertinent to all you (should be) standing for– the artist’s name at a minimum and information on the piece should be easily found next to the image. Thanks.


Dineen January 29, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Mine! He’s got it listed a little below the text. It’s steel and Plexiglas reverse painted. Lemme know if you have any other questions. ;D


Marie January 29, 2014 at 8:48 am

Enthusiasm works for me. In a conversation with client about me doing a commissioned piece for him I quickly became very enthusiastic just for him asking me. The two of us were like a couple of dogs wagging thier tails. I asked questions and he shared a story about his son and how the two of them had been riding horse back down in Arizona. I followed up with him through out the drawing. I wanted him to feel a part of the progress of the painting instead of him just giving me the facts and that was that. So enthusiasm has to take place to make the selling and the painting a part of the whole engagement work for both parties.


Bill Tomsa January 29, 2014 at 9:24 am

“Enthusiasm is a state of mind that inspires and arouses one to put ACTION into the task at hand. It is the most contagious of all emotions and transmits the impetus towards agreement and action to all within reach of your words.” That was written by Napoleon Hill back in 1967 and he devoted an entire chapter titled “Enthusiasm-and Something More” in his book “Grow Rich! With Peace of Mind” (First Plume Printing, June 2007). I have been re-reading this book while I walk on my treadmill each day and just finished the above mentioned chapter a few days ago. How appropriate I then receive this from you in my email today! Jason, I (enthusiasticly) encourage you and your readers to get a hold of a copy of this book and, if you read nothing else, read this chapter to learn, entirely, what Mr. Hill had to say on the subject of ENTHUSIASM! By the way, I’m certain Mr. Hill would have whole heartily agreed with the last sentence in Kellee’s post, however Kellee would be interested, I think, to learn what he has to say about attitude and ego in his book.


Joyce Wynes January 29, 2014 at 9:26 am

I have to say that I think that Elaine must be great with clients but I must compliment her because she is also great with artists. When I worked with her recently for selling some pieces of my art, by phone and email, I felt her enthusiasm, warmth, excitement and trustfulness through our encounter. And even though I have never met her I know I would also like her very much in person. She is a great asset to your business.

I think it is important to have a positive attitude in life and that is what I try to do. I always feel that things will work out but I don’t count my chickens before they hatch. If you love what you are doing, it shows in your work. Many people tell me they feel at peace and my work gives them comfort. That is very satisfying to me because my work is all about bold, colorful, non-static shapes all designed to work well together. But if it can all boiled down for the viewer as peaceful and comfortable then who am I to complain. Being enthusiastic but authentic is the key. People know when you are authentic..


Aletha January 29, 2014 at 10:04 am

I used to assume that the old masters could do anything. And they could! But even in their being able to leap over tall buildings with a single bound they still bent to earth and did things in ways that afterwards might strike us as normal. It’s challenging for me to apply the emotion that I feel for the great art of the museums to my own painting, and yet it is that level of skill and breadth of vision of the great past art that I’m seeking for my own.

And gradually I’m learning to let go. Not of the glorious great art of the past … never! But of this sense that the collector thinks about things in the same way as I do. We each experience art through the prism of our own lives. So the enthusiasm that I’m seeking to evoke is the spectator’s own longing. I am learning to interpret what I do in more evocative language, leaving room for enough mystery that the spectator can find room for his or her own longing.

I love your advice, Jason, about the power of silence. As someone who has been known to talk too much, I need to develop the skillful use of a kindly and generous silence. Perhaps more challenging, I’m striving to learn its use in writing as well. There are ways to create resonant, silences in writing too ….


kathryn January 29, 2014 at 11:57 am

not sure if enthusiasm has closed any deals for me like Elaines experience, as a slew of my sales are through the internet and gallery shows, when i am not there. but hopefully my enthusiasm and great love for animals and art show in my drawings and on my social media sights! i am very excited about my work, and love talking to like minded people about animals, nature my art, whether that brings me sales i can’t say…but it certainly can’t hurt!!!


linda January 29, 2014 at 12:04 pm

I too would like to compliment – Elaine. While visiting Phoenix recently I meandered around the gallery hood when I had a few hours to kill. I look fairly normal- but not obviously affluent. No other gallery owner / minder bothered to engage me as I wandered through. However Elaine involved me immediately when I entered Xanadu- not in a pushy obnoxious way but just with her obvious warmth and charm.


Dineen January 29, 2014 at 1:12 pm

Yay! So exciting that one of my pieces was chosen for this month’s newsletter. Thanks for all your(and Elaine and Mj’s) hard work!


April Rimpo January 29, 2014 at 4:26 pm

I admit I can get nervous and be on the quiet side when in new situations, but when I relax and engage with potential customers it has led not only to the sale of the piece we were discussing but sometimes more than the buyer planned. Recently I was in one of those relaxed sales situations and a customer saw a photograph I had of a commission painting I had done. I talked a bit about the making of that commission as just part of chatting during the sale. I wasn’t thinking about a commission from this client, but clearly my enjoyment of the process must have come through. That customer is now considering two commissioned paintings. I am sold on the importance of enthusiasm, I just have to be better at turning it on at the right time.


Lorna January 29, 2014 at 5:24 pm

Our friends recently moved to Scottsdale and the only thing I knew about Scottsdale was Xanadu Gallery! We were there over New Years and a visit to Xanadu was top on the list. I just want to tell you what a pleasure it was seeing the gallery and meeting Elaine!
I really enjoy your Red Dot Blog!


Lisbet Damgaard January 30, 2014 at 12:44 am

Congratulations on very sucessfull saleswork! We have to be professional in our saleswork if we are to qualify for the business. This story leads me down a slightly different trail of thought. Many artists have created their best artwork facing adversity , and some do right now. If enthusiasm comes across on the canvas and not so much in the saleswork – partner up with the right gallery. I am tempted to say “That is why galleries exist” – to do the professional saleswork of matching art with clients, advising clients, presenting and displaying art. We all have a mission in life and a specific skill set. We should strive to be realistic and invest our time where we get the best results. If an artist is by nature introvert or dealing with too many issues to come across as “enthusiastic” find a helpful spouse, or friend to get that portfolio made and sent out to some galleries. Let your artwork talk and then let the gallery do the talking for you while you create great art. Be authentic – that is an art.


Julieann knox January 31, 2014 at 7:08 am

I loved everything in this blog…very insightful. I am a part time artist…just starting to sell and appreciate all your tips
And insights in selling art!! Your blog always motivates me….nice to know what other artists are doing and thinking.


Matt Durant March 3, 2014 at 7:04 am

So true and true again. Nice to see all the comments anchor this idea with more real life examples. Of course this applies to just about every sector- not just the arts, but it is particularly important in any entrpreneurail venture, even an artist.


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