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Tip Sheet

How to Learn a Client’s Budget Without Asking, Plus More Tips for September

Here’s why a digital business card may be a great option for you and your team.





MANAGEMENTBe Prepared to Walk

After helping almost 100 owners sell their businesses, consultant Stephen Semple of Business Growth Guys says he has one core piece of advice: Run your business like you are planning to own it for the next 20 years. Buyers will often try to low-ball you at the very last minute, knowing full well that owners have often already sold the company in their heart. “The champagne is on ice and the owner is not emotionally capable of walking away from the closing table. To fight this, the seller needs to remain ready to walk. Walking away is the only power the seller has,” Semple says.

SALESIntuit Their Budget

It’s uncomfortable to ask a client for a budget, but it’s also useful information. What to do? Suggest taking a look at your website to show the prospective client the diamonds available, or simply give them an average price per carat size. “You could say, ‘Did you have a carat size in mind? Just to give you an idea, a three-quarter carat would start around $3,500 while a 1-carat may start at $6,000,’” suggests GIA accredited sales pro John Nicolosi. “They will then tell you the carat size based on the prices you shared.”


BUYINGUpgrade Your Business Card

Before your next trade show, get a digital business card made up. You’ll save time, money and trees. Nancy Guinn, the owner of Virginia-based independent pet food chain Dog Krazy, told our sister magazine PETS+ that with such a card, she can simply tap a new contact’s phone to upload their business information via NFC technology, or they can scan the QR code on the back, which can be updated online at any time.

SELLINGAs Easy As 3-2-1

This set of targets to drive action during what is typically a slower period of the year is called 3-2-1 selling. 3: Hand out three business cards a day outside the store. 2: Have staff show their favorite piece two times a day. 1: Try for one add-on sale a day. When your sales team turns these actions into habits, you should see sales rise and your customer base grow.

MANAGEMENTKeep Some “Slop” in Your Day

Do you keep 50 percent of your time unscheduled? If not, you’re probably not leaving enough slack in your day to manage optimally. That’s the view of Dov Frohman, a former VP at Intel, who during his corporate career also found enough time to invent EPROM, a widely used type of computer memory. In his book Leadership The Hard Way, he argues that bosses should ensure they maintain sufficient “slop” in their schedules to allow space for reflection and the assimilation of lessons learned from experience.

SECURITYAdd Screen Time to Online Sales

If you have suspicions about an online order, ask the customer to join you on Zoom or FaceTime. “Scammers will not do video chats,” says Mark Fenton, an online private investigator. The former Vancouver detective credits much of the work he gets now to “user idiocy.” Don’t be that person.


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Celebrate Your Retirement with Wilkerson

For nearly three decades, Suzanne and Tom Arnold ran a successful business at Facets Fine Jewelry in Arlington, Va. But the time came when the Arnolds wanted to do some of the things you put off while you’ve got a business to run. “We decided it was time to retire,” says Suzanne, who claims the couple knew how to open a store, how to run a store but “didn’t know how to close a store.” So, they hired Wilkerson to do it for them. When she called, Suzanne says Wilkerson offered every option for the sale she could have hoped for. Better still, “the sale exceeded our financial goals like crazy,” she says. And customers came, not only to take advantage of the going-out-of-business buys and mark-downs, but to wish a bon voyage to the beloved proprietors of a neighborhood institution. “People were celebrating our retirement, and that was so special,” says says.

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