The #1 Reason People Aren’t Buying Your Art

By Jessica Craddock

Dec 18

What am I missing?

Most people think money is the #1 reason someone decides not to buy art from you. That is simply incorrect.

The #1 reason people aren't buying your art is a lack of trust.

If I told you this blog post cost $20,000 to read, you would leave faster than a mouse being chased by a hungry cat - unless you were 110% convinced reading this post would make you $40,000 - then you would pay it immediately even if you had to borrow the money from your mean uncle.

Not having established trust is almost always the reason a person won't buy from you. It isn't that you are too expensive - its that you haven't convinced them of your value.

As an artist, this means something a little bit different than being a service or necessary product provider.

Build trust by convincing the buyer that your art holds significant value to their quality of life and/or as an investment.

How do I build trust as an artist?

Speak directly to your niche

Choose a select group of people ​you want to sell to, then speak their language. The more interactions you have with them the more they will relate and want to get to know you. Make your audience feel like a friend and they will be much more likely to buy.

Related: ​Marketing 101: How to Choose Your Genuine Target Market


​Capture what people say about you, whether it is on social media, on a postcard or in person. Use these phrases on your website or emails. Nothing sells better than another person recommending you.

Keeping up with the Joneses

Find a prominent business or individual in your niche and offer to give them a sample ​of some of your best work. This will act as free advertising and add value to you and your art. If a trendsetter has your art, others will follow.

Professional Interactions

​Every interaction you have with a potential customer should exude professionalism. Have an email signature. Know your prices. Be able to tell them what you do. Have a system for collecting their money. Follow up with a "thank you" note.

Related: Marketing 101: How to Price Your Original Artwork​

Having a system in place for all your interactions will make your business legit and build trust in you as an artist. It won't hurt your testimonials, either!

​Related: Marketing 101: How to Write a Focused Elevator Speech

Supply and Demand​

​"If you've got 50 unsold paintings, I'd avoid putting them all on your website at one time. Post only your best, since viewers will judge the entire body of your work by your least successful piece." - Lori Woodward.

Having too many unsold pieces on display can give the appearance that you ​are not in high demand. If it seems that no one wants to buy, how will you ever make a sale? Intermix artwork marked SOLD with your available works to create a eagerness to purchase before their favorite is snapped up.

About the Author

I’m a mentor for intuitive visual artists to sell more work, more consistently, at higher prices — with better work/life balance. Founder @ The Artist Market Co.

  • Your articles are so very helpful. I am just starting to sell online and it is so different from selling at the art festivals. Thanks for the the great advice.

  • >