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Shane Decker

Don’t Ask About Price

Give the customer — and yourself — the freedom that comes with an undefined budget.

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LOVE IS RECESSION-PROOF. And even in today’s economy, buying decisions are not always about price. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t try to get some idea of what your customer wants to spend. But, you should never, ever ask “How much do you want to spend?”or “Are you on a budget?”

What can you do to discover which “ballpark”your customer wants to play in? Become an awesome salesperson investigator, by asking simple questions to find out approximately what your customer is thinking in regards to price. After your initial greeting, as you’re about to start getting into your presentation, ask a series of questions along these lines:

  • What did you have in mind?
  • Has she given you any hints?
  • Have you seen something you like? (This also tells you if they’ve been to another jewelry store.)
  • Did she give you a wish list to work from?

Be sure to use the customer’s name when you ask, because it helps begin making a personal connection between the customer and the item he’s eventually going to purchase. Don’t overdo it, or it will come across as fake — just be genuine and sprinkle his name in here and there. If your customer answers, “I’m looking for a two-carat round for our 20th anniversary,”then you’ve just found the goose that laid the golden egg. He came in on a mission: Not only does he know what he wants, he also has a good idea of what he wants to spend.  Case closed; you’re now ready to sell.

Don’t overdo it, or it will come across as fake — just be genuine and sprinkle his name in here and there. Another customer may reply, “I’ve been doing some research on the Internet …”and proceed to tell you what he wants. This person thinks he is an expert, that he knows as much as you do (or more) and exactly what he’s going to spend. He is going to tell you how much it was on the Internet and challenge you by asking if you can compete with it. The good news is, you now have a price range to start from. I’ve gone into detail about selling against the Internet in previous columns (see instore, July 2008), but suffice it to say that this person will take some additional romancing, additional technical selling, additional company benefits selling, and you always compliment him on the research he’s done.

Now, what if a college student comes in and says, “I work three part-time jobs. I can barely make ends meet. I’ve been saving for eight months and I have $400”? Please respect what he told you — do not upsell this person. One day, after he’s made his fortune, he’ll remember your professionalism and respect for his needs, and he’ll come back and give you major money.

No matter who your customers are or what their situation, they’re not in your store to think about money — they want to think about the special person they’re buying for, or the exquisite feeling of rewarding themselves with jewelry. Give them that freedom, that luxury, by never asking about price.

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This story is from the June 2009 edition of INSTORE.

Shane Decker has provided sales training to more than 3,000 jewelry stores. Shane cut his teeth in jewelry sales in Garden City, KS, and sold over 100 1-carat diamonds four years in a row. Contact him at [email protected].

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