Marketing & Sales lesson from Venice.

Table of Contents

I recently went to the city of Love… Venice with the lovely little lady. They say travelling broadens your mind. I picked up a very valuable lesson on how to sell yourself and your product from one of the artists we met during our stay.

Keep reading to find out my lesson.

During our endless hours of wandering around the narrow alleyways and tourist laden squares, we discovered a very nice little spot just off San Marco Square where all the artists line up painting and selling their creations.

As a designer I took a keen interest. Some were pretty awesome and some were not so awesome. One of the artists really stood out to me, I really loved his style and every time I walked past I was compelled to look closer.

By the third day I went over and said hello and got chatting.

Lesson 1 – Storytelling.

The artist is called Ugo Baracco – A venetian resident in his early 60’s.

Venice Artist Ugo Baraco

We had a good old chat, he told us all about where he gets his inspiration, and his favourite things to draw and create.

He also explained how he uses this unique etching style where he draws the piece, then etches it onto wax and then uses a different set of dyes to build up the colors and lighting effects.

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He’d been doing this for 38 years and there are only 8 artists in the world who still use this technique and it’s slowly dying out because it’s so time consuming, however he was so passionate about this technique that he was mentoring an apprentice so his style and legacy would continue.

I was much more intrigued now than I was before – Ugo had established his unique selling point which is Lesson 2.

Lesson 3 – He had a time limited offer.

After discovering Ugo on the first day – I’d looked him up online and found his work selling for between £300 – £500. So subconsciously I’d dismissed buying – I hadn’t come to venice to buy art. I’d come to eat gelato and ride a gondola!

However when I enquired about the price at the stand I was shocked to discover the prints started from 8 euros and if you brought one of the originals there and then – it would cost you only 200 euros. That’s over half the price what they were selling for online.

Lesson 4 – Bonuses

He offered us 5 prints and offered to sign them all absolutely free if we took one of the originals and displayed it to help him build his name and that is Lesson 5 – Branding.

Lesson 6 – Scarcity

He then went on to explain how he only printed 80 of the originals and showed us the numbers on the back of the canvas.

I was ready to buy.

But I had no cash. I asked if I could come back later to complete the deal.

He was only going to be on the stand for another hour so I could have the prints free but he wouldn’t be able to sign them.

He kindly pointed out a cash machine just around the corner and I went off and got the money.

Lesson 7 – Upsell.

Once we exchanged money and all the niceties he handed us a leaflet for his apartment – and told us how he only offers this to people he likes and can trust. So if we wanted to come back to Venice we could have a nice place to stay at a much cheaper rate – we just needed to email him to book. (Hotels in Venice are expensiiiive!)


After spending 15 minutes with a very humble 60 year old Venetian Artist I managed to pick up some great sales tips – he highlighted the importance of having a unique product or proposition and then getting that across in a story. The importance of having a great offer and then had even greater value with bonuses and then scarcity – with only 80 in the world and he was only going to be around for 1 hour to sign it.

At the same time, all of this happened naturally and didn’t come across forced or like a sales tactic that you get with most sales people – he was genuine, authentic and that’s how he got 200 of my euros and led to me to writing a blog post about him!

Thanks For Reading


The Art Collector

P.S. Check out UGO’s Work – It’s awesome.

P.P.S. If you want a signed print I have a few going pretty cheap 😉

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