Inking the Deal
6 steps for selling yourself and your tattoo services
One of the rewards of being a tattoo artist is being able to do what you love. But here’s the hard truth: all the talent and skill in the world won’t bring you success if you can’t close the sale. Given the growing acceptance and popularity of body art, means more competition, and more choices for potential clients. Selling tattoos can be just as hard if not harder than creating them, so here are a few tips to get you master the art of (pardon the pun) inking the deal.
Know your client
Along with knowing your art form comes knowing your client. Is this their first tattoo or do they have their entire body covered with ink? Why have they come to you for their tattoo? You should know their what motivates their choice and understand how you and your shop fit into the decision. When you know the “buying habits” of your client, you can use that info to develop a more comprehensive plan—that means repeat business. Put yourself in the best position to get a “yes” by focusing on what most concerns your prospective client.
Believe in yourself
It’s an age-old sales maxim that believing in your product or service is essential. It’s the same whether you’re selling toasters or tattoos. You will never be effective selling something you do not believe in — and that includes yourself. When you exude passion and confidence — without being an a-hole rockstar — you break down the wall of doubt and earn the trust of your client. It is your ultimate goal to have a client believe in you, trust you, and see that you’re coming from some place much deeper than just making money. Once you achieve this, you will absolutely, positively be more successful.
Sell the relationship
It’s especially true in the tattoo community that relationships are more valuable to both you and your client than a one-time session. For the artist, relationships bring repeat business, the ability to explore a wider variety of projects, increased referrals, and the ability to charge a premium because of the higher perceived value of your work. For the uncertain client, relationships help build trust and let them know they will not be abandoned after the tattoo is finished. Tattoos are for life, and ultimately, the client is buying a unique relationship with you and your studio, not something they can get from every other shop in town.
Stick to your price
There is no perfect formula for pricing your work, but one rule to remember is don’t cheat yourself. Charge what you feel comfortable charging, but err on the high side. Low pricing often signifies to clients that the artist doesn’t have confidence in their work. Prices can go up, but they should never go down.
No too clients are alike in regard to what they want and what they can afford. Keep your prices consistent, but offer options that fit their budget with sacrificing quality. Maybe a different size, style or less detailed design. Instead of giving your clients a choice between you and a competitor, you’re allowing them to choose between you and YOU. People are going to price shop; it’s unavoidable. You want to ensure they’re price shopping in your shop only.
Don’t seem desperate!
Everybody has their slow days, but do yourself a favor and never appear as though you’ll do ANYTHING for a buck. Smart customers avoid used car salesmen willing to say or do whatever it takes make a sale. So, don’t make a deal just to fill the chair or offer some cheesy tattoo at a next to nothing price simply to stay busy. Remember that you’re giving your client something special that will make their lives better, and your attitude ought to reflect that. Make your client feel like you’re helping them — not that they’re helping you!