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Here’s How to Negotiate a Win-Win Solution for Every Jewelry Client

There are two traits you absolutely must possess.

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TURN ON ANY classic movie featuring a shady used car salesman, and you’ll find an abundance of enthusiastic, cheesily dressed men hocking cars to feeble shoppers.

These sleazy salespeople had something going for them: the knowledge of what was important to the customer. Now granted, they didn’t come right out and ask what was important. Rather, they talked about “all the babes this beauty would attract” or “man will your buddies be jealous when they see you pull up in this baby!” They worked these lines until they struck gold, and when they did, you could see the customer’s expression change from confusion to elation. Bingo! Their power of negotiation just got blown out of the water.

My friend Brad Huisken taught me long ago that knowing what’s important to the customer is not only the best way to sell, but it’s the best way to gain a customer for life.

The other element our cheesy movie salesmen had was confidence. In most cases, it was simply a memorized script. But true confidence comes from two things: practice and product knowledge. When we’ve been through enough sales and negotiation scenarios and have superior product knowledge, we have the most power to create a win-win for both us and the customer.

Take, for example, our product shortages during the pandemic. We didn’t make promises to customers that it would “be here next week.” We had no idea when it would arrive. Instead, we asked the customer, “When do you absolutely have to have it?” Then we took a down payment and went to work as best as we could. We had to find out what was truly important to them.

Customers want our products and they want to buy them from you because you’ve done an amazing job. Find out what’s important to every single customer every single time, whether they want a jump ring or a Padparadscha sapphire. Not knowing this puts you in second place in every negotiation.

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Practice practice practice, whether that means years at the sales counter or roleplaying with your team members. Call your vendors and get them in for training. Finally, learn what your store policy is for leeway in the transaction. I read this in a book once: “You can discount products, but never discount labor.” Inventory gets old. Do what you gotta do to get rid of it based upon its aging, but you still have to pay your goldsmith and your team for their expertise and the time it will take to make this sale happen.

I don’t believe there’s a single winner in negotiation. It’s gotta be win-win, unless of course you want to dress in a mint green polyester suit with white shoes and never see that customer again.

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