Do it for the Art, not for the Sale

Focus on creation, not on money.

The salesman thinks about how much money he will make; the artist tries to create their masterpiece.

In sales, the man who makes the most sales is king. Usually there is a quota or a number that must be met for the salesman to keep his job. He is hungry and will do anything to make the sale. He knows how to get through to the decisionmakers and how to cut corners. The artist spends his life not trying to sell their work, but to make their best piece. The artist practices, perfects and destroys their work to experiment and find something that they are really proud of.

The salesman is part of a larger organization trying to maximize profits, while the artist usually is a solo act.

The salesman works on sales and margins. He can sell many items with a low profit margin, like Walmart or Costco, or sell few items at a high markup like Jaguar or Range Rover. The organization is what makes companies profitable. All of the salesmen work together to make the company (and the shareholders) money. The artist works completely by herself in a room on one or two pieces at a time and tries to make something that she is proud of. She has to do the work by herself.

The salesman has rules of engagement and rules for selling, while the artist tries to break all of the rules.

The salesman has read all of the books, he has been trained on how to sell, how to listen, when to speak, what to say. He says it in front of his boss and then practices it on his colleagues. Sometimes he even reads his script. The artist tries to flip the rules on it’s end. The artist is trying to create the rules; the artist tries to become the rule. Without rules, there would be no Picasso or Pollock.

The salesman tries to beat the competition, while the artist is part of a community.

The salesman will do anything he can to crush the competition. He will try his best to put down the competition to destroy their message, to talk about how their products are inferior, or how they can’t make the same quality in the same amount of time at the same price. The artist seeks community. She shares with her friends, she supports other great art, she does anything she can to help her fellow artists.

A salesman does not take risks, while the artist goes out on a limb all of the time.

A salesman does not do too much to challenge the status quo. While he does want his numbers to grow, he tries to be conservative with his moves and what he is willing to give up. He does not like to give discounts because it takes away from company profitability, and it also takes away from his personal gain. The artist does everything she can to be okay with being uncomfortable. She works hard at trying to push the envelope, to try something new. She takes risks to make growth.

A salesman wants to sell as much as possible, the artist wants to create as much as possible.

The salesman wants to sell as much as he can. With top sales, comes a promotion or a better job at another big company selling something else. The salesman wants to be in top of the class because sometimes it takes him on trips to Cancun at an all-inclusive paid for by the vendor that he is selling. He gets bonuses when he gets to a special threshold. The number of sales that the salesman makes builds his resume. The artist tries to create as much as she can. Good art takes time and good art does not just grow on trees. It must be created and loved and supported and pursued. The good artist creates as much art as possible to make a sale and to build their career.

A salesman identifies peaks and follows trends, the artist creates the trends.

The salesman is always trying to find the next thing to sell and constantly watches the trends in the market to stay ahead. He manages analytics and clicks and uses data to drive his idea forward. He will look for the optimal time to sell and will try his best to sell using information. The artist creates the trends that the salesman follows. The artist is the one that is inventing the ideas and getting the think tanks moving. The artist is the one that creates the capital to sell. The artist moves the needle.

A salesman will lie, and the artist will seek the truth.

The artist will do anything he can to communicate his idea to the person he thinks will want to buy it. He will spread his message and then re-work the message to try and optimize sales. The salesman has been known to be sleazy and maybe not tell the truth. The salesman will do untying to make a sale. The artist communicate the idea through her work. She looks for the message and then tries to carefully weave that message into the piece. She does her best to find the truth in herself and in humanity. The artist will do anything to make a lasting impact.

The salesman is not cool, the artist is.

The salesman does the following. The salesman does the vetting. The salesman does everything can to stay on top of the latest and greatest. The artist is the greatest. The artist is the trendsetter. The artist is who people want to hang out with. The artist is the one with the followers. The artist is the cool. The artist defines the world.

Everything that is made is art.

From books to lightbulbs, to iPads, to Ferarris, to the Hyperloop, to the double pane window, to the refrigerator, to crown molding, to the design of neighborhoods, to the architecture of buildings, to the mechanical pencil, to the presentations…everything that is made is art.

Everything that is made is art.

Do the art really well, and the sales will come.

Start with the Art.

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