I’ve covered the “can I get a discount on your art” question before, but it’s apparent that it still haunts too many desperate artists so it’s worth covering again.
When a potential patron asks if you will offer them a discount you should say “no” or some form of “no.”
I can hear it now. “Well they are a good friend.” or “They are a repeat collector.” Yes. That’s nice. Shoot yourself in the foot, if you like.
“Good friends” don’t ask for discounts.
And if they are a repeat customer and you want to acknowledge your appreciation, fine. But do it in some other value added way, like complimentary shipping, framing, or installation.
Why do I put such a fine point on this? Because it is costing you money.
And collectors are already confused about what amount they are paying for art and why. Your lack of confidence can undermine theirs and that can compromise or squash the sale.
So have a price sheet of your art at the ready. A written price is not as easy to negotiate as the one you speak.
Art is a luxury good. Don’t forget it. During the recent economic downturn a number of luxury brands threw themselves under the bus when they desperately discounted to stay a float.
The Hermès Group, founded in 1837, didn’t dare. They took the long view. What happened to them? They’ve maintained the luxury market’s respect and they’ve gained significant market share.
An art consultant I know, who has dealt with hundreds of artists over the years, confirmed that those artists that allowed her to discount their art sold significantly less work than those who maintained a policy to never discount.
Take the long view. Build your brand. Don’t discount your art. In the end, it will be worth it because you’ll sell more art.