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Commentary: The Business

David Epstein: Give Them What They Really Like

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In the presence of a sales maestro, selling is seen in a completely different light.

[dropcap cap=Y]ears ago, I cold-called Abbott Taylor Jewelers in Tucson, AZ. While selling Abbott a matched pair of cat’s eye emeralds, I saw a woman walk into the store to browse. Abbott noted the pieces that seemed to interest her most, as well as her clothes, jewelry and manner, then he excused himself and rose to attend her.[/dropcap]

I don’t remember his opening line, but it wasn’t “Can I help you?” Perhaps it was, “Have you seen the new Ethiopian opal?”

In any case, he then asked if the woman would prefer to see something for her hands or ears. She indicated that she would prefer something for her neck, and when she put her hand on her neck, he understood it to mean not for her high chest, but her neck itself. After a little probing (“Do you see your neck as elegant?”), he figured out that she envisioned her neck as too long.

As he walked her past the glass-enclosed shop where two goldsmiths were working in the same smock he was, she understood he intended to create something for her personally.

She was also concerned about the budget. He stopped, thought (as if he didn’t already know), and plucked out some rice pearls that were at a price that delighted her. He carefully and slowly wrapped them around her neck from the back, in front of a mirror. They both stared.

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“Would you mind if we covered a little more of your neck?” This delighted her. Then he wasn’t satisfied with the color. “It’s not bad, but maybe we can do better. Have you had a color analysis?”

At no time did he use the word “I,” always “you” or “we.” Abbott was always trying to do what was going to please her. She always knew that something was being created for her. It was very personal.

When she had committed to the choker, Abbott wondered, “But what do we do for a pearl enhancer?” She was startled, saying she had no more money. He just smiled playfully and said, “It’s just for fun; we’re only looking for someday,” and he slowly put his hand in the case and ceremoniously removed a 10- or 15-carat gem tanzanite.

As he placed it in the center of the choker, I heard her breath go out. She asked the price and returned to Earth.

Abbott had no intention of selling her that one. He then put his magician hand back in the case and took out a 20-carat fine amethyst. She was impressed. When she walked out, she had paid for the choker and placed a deposit on the amethyst.

He had taken a technique which was more common in Europe and perfected it. He convinced the prospect he wanted to give her what she would really like. What was his trick? He really wanted to give her what she really liked. What are you doing to give your customers what they really like?

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[smalltext]David Epstein is a gem buying agent and gem marketing consultant in Teofilo Otoni, Brazil. Visit www.gembuying.com or e-mail him at [email protected][/smalltext]

[span class=note]This story is from the November 2010 edition of INSTORE[/span]

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