Converting a customer call-in – how to get past the price

A Continuing-Education Series from Chalk & Vemilion Fine Arts, Inc.


General for-instance scenario: You place an ad in a newspaper or magazine, featuring a landscape artist and an image of a garden. You get several calls from people who are not regular customers, asking about the piece.

Chances are, one of the first questions they will ask is "How much is it?" If your answer is "$2500" and their response is "Oh, I see. Thanks.", you may have just missed the opportunity to build a relationship and make a salte.

The desired outcome of such an inquiry, besides of course the ultimate goal of making the sale, is to:

  1. Start a dialogue and begin to build a relationship

  2. Impress upon them that you are friendly and helpful; make them remember you.

  3. Get them into your gallery

Your objective is to learn about their desires and needs and then make a recommendation as to how to help them.
Let's take these one by one.

Start a dialogue – Try to ask them some questions to get them talking before they have a chance to ask you how much it costs. Try to ask open ended questions, ones that can't be answered with simply "Yes" or "No."

Caller: "Hi, I saw your ad with the picture of the garden."
You: "Oh, great. He's one of my favorite artists. Tell me, what did you like about the painting?"
Caller: "I just love flowers and gardening, especially roses."
You: (who wouldn't be caught dead gardening) "Oh, I know what you mean. Growing roses is so rewarding."

You are trying to establish a commonality, lay the groundwork for a relationship, and get them to feel you are interested in them and the reason for their call.

You are friendly and helpful – Eventually, of course, they will ask you the price of the art. If they were actually in your gallery, you could talk about the quality of the print, the quality of the framing, etc. One the phone, you want to give them another reason to continue to talk to you, and put them in a positive frame of mind so they'll open up, share information with you willingly, and subsequently listen to you.

You:"How much were you thinking you might spend for this art?"
Caller:"Well, I thought it might be around $200 or so." (Now you know the subject matter they are interested in and their price range)
You: "I have several other floral prints – they're not the same quality as this one, but they are very attractive and, framed, would fall into that price range. I'd like to invite you to come by the gallery and have a look around – I think I have something very similar that you would really like."

You have come across as friendly and helpful and created a framing opportunity, and that may get them into the gallery – Once the customer is there, not only will they see the beautiful art you have on the walls and your quality framing, but you have a chance to educate them about the quality of the original floral piece, show them the difference between that and the less expensive alternatives, and keep building that ever-important relationship. Even if you don't succeed in getting the customer into your place, they will remember you as helpful and may come to you when the next opportunity arises.

All this being said, it's easy to say this and hard to do when that call comes in and you have a customer with a problem in front of you, another potential customer wandering around your gallery, and another call on hold. We know, it's not easy, but it's better to have a plan for success when these calls come in than to have no plan at all.

55 Old Post road #2, Greenweich, CT 06830 (800) 877-2255

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