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David Geller

David Geller: Sell Your Repairs Or Pay the Price

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Repairs are sales too. They require the same salesmanship as any other product. And you must price them to make money.

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[h3]Sell Your Repairs Or You Will Pay the Price[/h3]

[dropcap cap=I]t’s been a pretty typical morning: A gift buyer, followed by an engagement ring tire-kicker and then a “No, thanks, I’ll think about it”browser of diamond studs.[/dropcap]

Of the three, you sold one — the gift buyer. Not a great morning but fairly standard closing ratio — 33 percent, and an average product sale in the store is $450, which is not bad.

But then come the repair customers — 10 in a row. Watch batteries, ring sizings, prongs and tips, lobster claws, new half shanks, two need new heads, one lost a 5-point diamond. You take out your pricing book and quote people.

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[inset side=right]But these customers are mean! On being quoted a price, four or five say “OK, when can I pick it up?” But the other five or six actually start yelling at you.[/inset]But these customers are mean! On being quoted a price, four or five say “OK, when can I pick it up?” But the other five or six actually start yelling at you.

Every repair sale is an argument. But surprisingly, more than 90 percent still tell you to go ahead and fix it. Why is this? It’s because 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 multiplied by time and adding in findings.

You don’t do as good of a job selling a repair as you do selling a bracelet or a loose diamond. 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. The same approach is required to sell repairs and custom design.

Ten customers, nine sales, average repair sale is about $100. It required very little inventory to do the job. You have a 90 percent closing ratio, and you’re exhausted because you’re a nice person, but it seems as if all of the customers hate your guts. You think you’re charging too much. You start now lowering your repair prices. You start doing more free repairs.

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Ten repair customers walk in, and still nine out of 10 buy. You were correct about lowering your repair prices. Instead of five or six calling you a cheat and a liar, it’s four or five. But now because you’ve tried to take the easy road (lower prices) your repair department is barely breaking even.

David Geller is an author and consultant to jewelry-store owners on store management and profitability. E-mail him at [email protected].

[span class=note]This story is from the June 2009 edition of INSTORE[/span]

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For 25 years, Stafford Jewelers of Cincinnati, Ohio, was THE place to go for special gifts, engagement diamonds, high-end Swiss watch brands — in other words, the crème de la crème of fine jewelry. But this summer, the Stafford family was ready to retire. So, they chose Wilkerson to help them close up shop. “One of the biggest concerns was having the sale in the middle of COVID,” says Director of Stores Michelle Randle. Wilkerson gave the Stafford team plenty of ideas as well as safety guidelines, which they closely followed. “All of the employees felt safe, the customers coming in the door felt safe and we did a lot of business,” says Randle. How much business? “The inventory flew,” she says. Translation: They sold millions and millions of dollars-worth of merchandise. Randle calls it, “an incredible experience.” Would she recommend Wilkerson to other retailers who are thinking of thinning their inventories or retiring? “Everyone got more than what they expected out of the sale. You have to hire Wilkerson. They’re amazing.”

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