Who or What Is A ‘Client’ Anyway For Artists & Makers

by Mar 24, 2018C5 - CLIENTS, Client Types, Dream Clients, Fans, Followers & Voyeurs, Gold-Dust Clients, Who Is Your Client2 comments

Who or What Is A ‘Client’ Anyway For Artists & Makers

So Who or What Is A ‘Client’ Anyway For Artists & Makers?
It sounds like a stupid question really, but hear me out cause its NOT a straightforward answer.

What Are You Going To Call ‘THEM’

So first of all, what do you call ‘these people’ – these ‘clients’ and people who love your work? You might not use the word ‘client’ – so what terminology do you use instead?
I’m a jeweller and I have clients or customers. But I’ve worked with fine artists who call them their ‘audience’, ‘following’ or ‘collectors’ and I know musicians who call them ‘fans’. Maybe in your art discipline you call them supporters or maybe you use the more ‘trendy’ and modern terms like your ‘tribe’ or ‘club’.
What aligns with what you do? When I looked up the thesaurus I got other terms like: applicant, buyer, consumer, patient, patron, shopper, believer, purchaser, prospect, clientele, user, representative…
AND for example, when I’m out doing my Sepsis advocacy within health care – as a survivor I’m called an ‘end user’. I think this is a totally UNpersonal term and I keep telling them they need to rethink it lol! I’m NOT an end-user, I’m a human who was a patient and survived nearly dying! Pick something that at least has some personality to it – patient and survivor is just fine – or in fact I just invented a new term and call myself a ‘Sepsis Warrior’!
So what term do you feel comfortable using to describe your clients, audience or fans? There’s no right or wrong answer, its up to you! But choose something that sounds authentic and that you are happy to use in your business!

Who Are Your Different Client Types

On one hand it doesn’t really matter what the actual term is you choose to describe your clients or audience, its all the same principle when we come to trying to decipher ‘who’ these people are, where we are going to find them and how do we get them to BUY our work!!! But thats a blog post for another day!
On top of that, even just deciding on ‘the word’ to call ‘them’ isn’t enough either, because the meaning can be split down further again into FOUR client ‘stages’. Every art and maker business (actually every business) will have a selection of the following at different ratios and at different times. These make up our entire ‘client base’ and its important to know the difference and be able to decipher which is which – as some will bring you in money and some are time wasters!
So here’s my four types:
  1. So first we have our Dream Client or Ideal Client 
  • So this the ‘target market’ YOU choose to direct all your efforts to.
  • Now over the years I’ve done heaps of traditional ‘client profiling’ BUT that ISNT the same as Dream Client work – which I will tackle in more detail in another post
  • Your Dream Client is THE ONE PERSON who is your MOST ideal client – the dream, the client you would looooove to be working with – it can be anyone you want as after all thats the point of them being your dream client, lol.
  • BUT it is very targeted and selected and niched down to be able to describe ONE type of person.
  • There are loads of exercises to help us with this but for now we have to try to have picture in our minds eye who those people are.
  • This is also one of the hardest exercises to get our heads around.
  • I spent an entire year several years ago just trying to argue this ONE client type as I thought I had ‘many’ client types.
  • But the saying goes, that if you are talking to everyone then you are talking to NO-ONE.
  • So start thinking about this today – if you could choose anyone as your most fabulous long-term client who loved everything that you do and bought from you again and again over the years, who would that be?
  • It is these clients whom we have to track down,  find and build a conversation with – thats the hard part!
  1. Then we have ‘Actual’ Clients (Gold-Dust’ers)
  • So these are the people who have ‘actually’ BOUGHT a piece of your work.
  • I call them your ‘Gold-Dust’ clients.
  • Now my opinion differs a tad here to some because in my experience over the past 25 years as a jeweller has shown me that the people who are buying my work AREN’T always those I have identified as my ‘Dream Client’. And sometimes that is good, but sometimes that is bad, especially if they are a ‘difficult’ client, lol – and I’ve had plenty of those too over the years!
  • Of course having said that I will now totally contradict myself and tell you that my ‘current’ target market is most definitely my Dream Client (because I have spent years refining who this is) but sometimes we sell work to all different types of people.
  • I think its really really IMPORTANT to analyse THIS client type the most – your actual buyers – as this gives you statistics about them and who they are and provides you with a sales history.
  • Often we have had either personal and / or face-to-face interactions with our actual buyers and this gives us invaluable and direct feedback which you can use to ananluse your client better, why they like and buy your work and indeed, why they like YOU!
  • How does your Gold-Dust client differ from your dream client – and is that good or bad?
  • Do you need to shift the definition of your Dream Client so that its more in-line with those that buy your work. OR if your actual buyers really aren’t who you are after then you have to decide why you are attracting these people or how you can get in front of your dream client more.
  • So you see, client deciphering is NOT an easy task!
  • However the statistics go that it is EASIER to sell to an EXISTING client than it is to find a NEW one – so really guys, thats WHY I call this set of buyers your ‘GOLD-DUST’ Clients!!
  • Your Gold-Dust clients deserve your time and effort AND that you continue to build your relationship AFTER they have purchased a piece of your art!
  1. Next are our Fans & Followers
  • OK so these are the people who follow you on social media or perhaps they are the ones that come to see you regularly at exhibition openings or events you do.
  • They can of course also be friends and family.
  • BUT they HAVEN’T bought ANYTHING – so they aren’t a client YET!
  • This isn’t to say that they won’t become a client, quite the opposite these are the ‘sets’ of people who support you and are responsive to what you are working on and producing.
  • Your task here is to work out better ways to get these fans and followers to buy.
  • Its likely you already have a large following of these in your social media channels – these are invaluable to you but you will have to work hard to convert them into someone who will buy your work…and this takes TIME!
  • It is your fans and followers who will BECOME your Gold-Dust clients. So you have to be patient with them, keep talking to them and building your relationship and trust!
  1. And then of course there are ALWAYS the Voyeurs
  • OK so this group of people – and we all have them, trust me – are the lurkers, stalkers, viewers (possible friends, family and other makers lol)
  • These people WILL NEVER BUY!!!
  • It doesn’t mean that they won’t support you, it just means that they have no intention of actually putting their hand in their pocket and buying your work.
  • So these could be ‘mates’ who ALWAYS like your posts – and yes thats great, super duper – but your not making work for your mates.
  • And really if I’m being a hard a$$, then these are the people who you have to recognise and weed out so you don’t waste time with them. And I’m not talking about ignoring those mates who always like everything you do – we all need support after all. I’m talking about recognising what my father would have called ‘the tire kickers’
  • We don’t have time to waste and we need to sell our art so we can make a living to pay our bills and enjoy our lives…so we can make MORE art!!!

So To Recap – Here’s What You Need To Do!

  • You need to identify WHO your dream client is, how to find more of them and how to begin a conversation with them.
  • You need to analyse, love and continue to build a relationship with your Gold-Dust clients so you can get repeated sales!
  • You need to keep talking to your fans and followers because persistence does pay off.
  • And you need to weed out the voyeurs!
Easypeasy – right????!!!!! LOL!
So tell about which of these ‘types’ of clients, customers, audience, supporters, patrons, fans, followers or voyeurs you have right now and what do you think?
#findclients #dreamclient #golddust #artistslife #mentortip

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