To increase revenue for your fine-art gallery, a solid annual sales plan is a must, and yet few art dealers take the time to put such a plan into writing. A gallery sales plan will help keep you and your staff focused and organized. By sharing the overall strategy with your artists, you will increase their confidence in their relationship with your gallery.
Setting Sales Goals for Your Gallery Business
A sales plan is different from a marketing plan and should focus specifically on increasing gallery revenue. Your gallery’s sales plan should be tailored to your specific needs and take into consideration the location of the gallery, the high selling seasons, your exhibition schedule, and the gallery’s program.
Start setting annual goals by identifying four or five major areas of focus and setting quantifiable expectations for each. For example:
- What are your annual expenses, i.e rent, utilities, salaries, marketing, events, travel, etc.?
- How much profit do you want to generate from art sales and from services?
- How many new collectors do you want to bring into the gallery?
- Who are your existing collectors that you want to increase business with through art sales or services?
- Which artists will you focus on to help meet sales goals? This might be driven by the exhibition schedule or by which artists bring the highest prices or maybe by who is historically a top seller for your gallery.
Once an overall gallery sales plan has been created that defines revenue goals, specific opportunities for sales throughout the year, and the resources available to achieve these goals, it’s time to share the plan with sales and marketing staff.
Each person involved in selling art for your gallery should have an individual annual plan for achieving specific sales goals. Sales associates should take a day away from the gallery to get organized and focus solely on creating their plan to align with the gallery’s sales goals. Below are suggested elements for each person’s plan.
Achieving Your Gallery Sales Plan Goals
With annual goals established, now it’s time to determine how you are going to accomplish them. A good place to start is to get organized. Spend time improving your database of collectors and prospects by filling in additional information in the collector database and by ranking or tagging the top sales opportunities from your prospects.
The next step is to create a plan of attack to help you meet your annual goals. Break the annual goals into monthly objectives and assign specific action items to each objective. When setting each month’s plan, consider the following:
- Exhibition schedule: What shows have the greatest sales potential, and which need advance collector education to maximize the opportunity? This could be helpful if a body of work is more conceptually challenging. Which prospects have the greatest sales potential for each exhibition?
- Top sales prospects: Of the sales leads you ranked, who are the top prospects for an immediate sale and who do you need to start a new dialogue with? For each prospect, what will be your strategy? Determine the best way to contact them about an opportunity and to generate some excitement.
- New collectors: What opportunities do you have each month to meet new collectors, and what will be your strategy for nurturing them toward a sale? How many new collectors will you put special focus on each month?
- Appointments: How many appointments do you want to make each month to get leads into the gallery or to show work in their home or office? Which prospects would be the most willing to set up such an appointment?
Having monthly goals and detailed action steps is a great way to keep yourself on track and prevent yourself from feeling overwhelmed. You can even break the goals down further by week or by day. Whatever works for you.
Schedule regular times throughout the year to assess your progress meeting your sales objectives. If you get behind one month, update your sales plan with ways you can regain traction and achieve your annual goals.
To the Point
People with a plan almost always achieve more then those who don’t. Create a sales plan that works for you and your gallery. Infuse the plan with as much detail as possible, breaking your goals into smaller clearly defined steps to avoid being overwhelmed from all your other duties being a fine-art dealer. You may be surprised what you can accomplish with a little well-considered planning.
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