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David Geller

Polish Your Shop Pitch

Think selling repairs is clerking? Wrong. selling anything in a store requires salesmanship.




IN LAST MONTH’S “Big Survey” from INSTORE, you told us exactly how important custom work and repairs have been to your business in the past year. A whopping 38 percent of you said your “hero” — the lifeline that kept you afloat when the economy went south — was either custom work or repairs.? So why is selling a custom-designed piece of jewelry or a repair so gut-wrenching compared to selling anything from a showcase?

Let’s say 10 people come in your store and three buy from the showcases — a typical rate. You calculate that your overall average product sale in the store is $450. So you take in $1,350 for every 10 people who stand at the case, and you keep on hand half a million dollars in inventory to be able to do this.

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Let’s say the next 10 people in are repair customers. Watch batteries, ring sizings, prongs and tips, new half-shanks, two need new heads, one lost a 5-point diamond. You take your pricing book or laminated sheet and quote your prices.

But these customers are downright mean! While four or five just say “O.K., when can I pick it up?” the other five or six start actually yelling at you in the showroom: “$89 to fix a little ring! Mister are you on drugs?” “You’ve got to be joking! I paid $99 to buy the ring and you’re going to charge me $65 to size it?”

Every repair sale is an argument. Rather than being patient, you just say “Look lady, gold and platinum is way up.” Over half give you a hard time.? But surprisingly over 90 percent still tell you to go ahead and fix it. Why is this? I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Repairs are not price sensitive, they are trust sensitive.

So why do they give you such a hard time? Because they don’t understand the pricing of jewelers’ labor, and adding in findings, prices of which have gone through he roof.? The truth is also that you don’t do as good of a job selling a repair as you did selling a bracelet or the loose diamond because you think selling repairs is “clerking.” But you’re wrong. Selling anything in a store requires salesmanship. Think about all of the words that come out of your mouth selling an expensive watch. Same is required to sell repairs.


You should go right now and ask your jeweler three questions:

  1. How long have you been a jeweler?
  2. How long have you worked here?
  3. What is the most expensive piece you ever worked on?

The answers? 32 years,? 9 years, and $285,000.

So now when a customer balks at the prices even after your smooth sales pitch you use your three answers to allay the customer’s concerns. “Mrs. Smith, you are standing in one of the best shops in the city. Our jeweler, Melvin, has been a jeweler, repairing and making jewelry for over 32 years! He’s worked jewelry valued up to $285,000 for a single ring. You want that kind of expertise when we fix your ring, don’t you?”

They always do.

This story is from the November 2009 edition of INSTORE.


David Geller is a 14th-generation bench jeweler who produces The Geller Blue Book To Jewelry Repair Pricing. David is the “go-to guy” for setting up QuickBooks for a jewelry store. Reach him at [email protected].



Time to Do What You've Always Wanted? Time to Call Wilkerson.

It was time. Teri Allen and her brother, Nick Pavlich, Jr., had been at the helm of Dearborn Jewelers of Plymouth in Plymouth, Mich., for decades. Their father, Nick Pavlich, Sr., had founded the store in 1950, but after so many wonderful years helping families around Michigan celebrate their most important moments, it was time to get some “moments” of their own. Teri says Wilkerson was the logical choice to run their retirement sale. “They’re the only company that specializes in closing jewelry stores,” she says. During the sale, Teri says a highlight was seeing so many generations of customers who wanted to buy “that one last piece of jewelry from us.” Would she recommend Wilkerson? Absolutely. “There is no way that I would have been able to do this by myself.”

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