Though on the surface the resemblance may be unclear, the connection tying the selling of art is directly related to career management. Professional relationships between buyer and seller or employer and employee, involves a great number of factors. What happens when disconnects occur, morphing positives into negatives?
“As an artist, is it easy to deter someone from buying a painting that they love by your actions or words? If so, how do you think an artist should represent themselves or their work?”
Persuasion in Transactions
As an artist who paints not just for herself, but to share her inner visions with the world, the necessity of actually selling my work has become an experience which brings a commingled sense of joy and tension.
On the one hand, I find myself thrilled that this person whom I have never met is interested in actually paying money for the privilege of owning the fruits of my brush. On the other, I have come to realize that I cannot help but ponder upon the reasons why they are desirous of the purchase in the first place, and by extension, wrestle mentally with the possibility that I might not approve of their intentions towards my work once it becomes their property.
Career Tip: Accepting a job offer means accepting the corporate culture, attitudes, ethics, and intentions. In other words, make sure you don’t join a team that goes against your moral and ethical principles.
Perhaps I am not being too clear upon my meaning here. You may be wondering ‘how does one have undesirable intentions towards a piece of art?’ It would seem a valid question, and it comes with an answer which is only fully understandable when it is your own creation to which the price tag is attached.
Imagine pouring your heart and soul upon a canvas to create a vision of which you are proud to offer for sale, and when a serious buyer offers up the desired amount you are told the painting was intended to serve as an art-class example of what a painting ‘should not be’. Or worse yet, they want to add their own “finishing touches” to your completed work. I have seen both happen, but not to me personally.
Insulting to think of, is it not? What would you do in such a situation? I know what I do. I call it negative persuasion.
Career Tip: Working environment plays a huge factor in your psychological state; in order to increase job satisfaction, ensure mutual respect is part of the environment.
Negative persuasion is a technique I use in order to talk a potential buyer out of a potential purchase of my art. I do this when I do not feel right about letting that particular person obtain a small shard of my soul in the form of my art. Maybe I feel uncomfortable about their intentions toward the piece, (as aforementioned), or sometimes even when I just get a negative vibe from their personality and judge that they are not worthy of my work, regardless of any offered remuneration. Negative persuasion is my saving grace when their money cannot purchase my peace of mind.
Career Tip: If you feel an intense sense of negativism during interviews, you may want to reconsider the desire to be part of the company; after all, rough estimates claim that over 75% of all employees are not satisfied with their current job… if possible, prevent yourself from being in that number.
When it comes to selling art, the process of not accepting the offer is both simple and difficult to teach and employ. In essence, you are changing their mind, or ‘talking them out of it’. How you do this, though, will by necessity be different in each arising case. Sometimes it is easy, sometimes it is very difficult.
The trick is to not make your desire to change their mind too obvious. To do it well, you must make them think that it was they themselves, and not you, who changed their minds about the purchase. I guess that the easiest way to explain it is that negative persuasion is an art unto itself, and like any incarnation of art, it must be practiced to be mastered.
Career Tip: Don’t burn potential bridges by being rude or discourteous. If offered a position you don’t want to accept, reply with a professional letter informing the hiring manager of your decision. Doing nothing at all or ignoring an offer may come back to haunt during your job search.
Submitted by: Artist’s Square Member Rhonda Newhook. View her work at:
Thank you Rhonda for your helpful insight.
Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
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