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How to Deal with ‘I Need to Think About It’ Jewelry Customers, and More of Your Questions Answered

And for those customers who just want to vent, try this approach.





Is there a way to increase the odds the customer will pull the trigger rather than leave to “think about it”?

Often when a customer, especially a gift-buyer, needs to “think about it” or “get another opinion,” it is because the salesperson undermined confidence in his or her decision-making ability, say Kate Peterson of Performance Concepts. This is usually the result of asking too many questions to which the answer might have to be “I don’t know” – i.e., “What does she like?” “Does she have…?”, “What’s her favorite color?” Instead, says Peterson, “Reduce the likelihood of an ‘I need to think about it’ by rephrasing and asking questions the buyer can answer, like ‘Which of these can you envision on her?’ or ‘What color do you like to see on her?’”

What’s a good approach for dealing with a disgruntled customer — the type that just doesn’t want to be satisfied?

It’s true, some people just seem to want to vent no matter what you suggest. In such cases, the best approach is to ask them straight out what it is they want rather than offering up your own solution. “Listen, empathize, then ask, ‘How can I make this right?’” suggests business coach Candace D’Agnolo. “Sometimes they may ask for something you can’t possibly do, but in most cases their request should be reasonable. And if you can comply, you know he’s going to leave satisfied,” she says.

So how much should I be spending on my advertising to take my store to the next level?

Probably more than you currently are. According to our own INSTORE Big Surveys, more than half of jewelers spend 5 percent or less of their gross revenue on advertising and marketing. But to really capture mindshare in your community, most industry consultants suggest the figure should be in a range of 6-12 percent with the lion’s share going to mass media advertising. The difficult thing with spending money on advertising is that it nearly always requires a leap of faith. You’re trying to establish a relationship based on what you perceive your customers want and value. That’s especially tough for jewelers because their key products involve a long-cycle purchase. Most of the people in your market simply aren’t looking to buy an engagement ring next week. “The painful part of using mass media — TV, radio, and outdoor — is that it behaves like agriculture. You have to plant the seed, water it, and wait, wait, wait, wait until the harvest begins,” writes Roy H. Williams, who has worked with many of the country’s top independent jewelers and is the author of the Wizard of Ads trilogy. “Properly used, mass media will make you the provider that people think of immediately and feel the best about, but the first thing those people are going to do when they need what you sell is go online to look for your phone number, or your store hours, or your street address, or at your online reviews.” And that’s when you go from being just one more jeweler in your market to the dominant one. It takes courage, money, and advertising that breaks through and strikes the right emotional chord.

I’d like to institute a customer rewards program, but I’m worried about the ultimate cost and whether it will erode our margins. How can I assess the impact?

Base your program on the data you already have, says John Nicolosi, a GIA Accredited Jewelry Professional. “Try running the program first on prior sales to see what points would have been earned, and then adjust the program settings accordingly to your needs and points you want earned before going live.”

What does the law say about conducting a body search on a staff member I suspect of theft?

It says keep your hands to yourself. The laws regarding searches all stem from the way the Constitution guarantees American citizens a basic right to privacy — and your worker has a very strong privacy interest in his or her own body, even when fully clothed. If you have a legitimate concern that a staff member has stolen anything, call the police in to take it to the next level. For more information on searches, try The Essential Guide To Workplace Investigations by attorney Lisa Guerin.

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When There’s No Succession Plan, Call Wilkerson

Bob Wesley, owner of Robert C. Wesley Jewelers in Scottsdale, Ariz., was a third-generation jeweler. When it was time to enjoy life on the other side of the counter, he weighed his options. His lease was nearing renewal time and with no succession plan, he decided it was time to call Wilkerson. There was plenty of inventory to sell and at first, says Wesley, he thought he might try to manage a sale himself. But he’s glad he didn’t. “There’s no way I could have done this as well as Wilkerson,” he says. Wilkerson took responsibility for the entire event, with every detail — from advertising to accounting — done, dusted and managed by the Wilkerson team. “It’s the complete package,” he says of the Wilkerson method of helping jewelers to easily go on to the next phase of their lives. “There’s no way any retailer can duplicate what they’ve done.”

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