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David Geller

Why Asking A Client’s Budget Could Actually Make Them Happier In The End

Their preconceived idea of cost could be getting in the way.

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MANY YEARS AGO, I had saved up to buy the entertainment center of my dreams: a bigger TV, four speakers, a record player and the newest VCR machine. Then, I saw an ad — the biggest department store in town had all of that for the great price of $1,850.

But when I got to the store, it just wasn’t up to par. So, we took ourselves and the ad to store two. Their $1,850 system wasn’t impressive either, so I decided to give up some money: “What can you show me for $2,400?” The salesman showed me almost to the penny his $2,400 system, and it still didn’t wow me.

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One last stop: Best Buy. I showed the salesman the ad and described what other stores had. He said, “Well, first let’s see what you might like in the television, as there are so many choices.”

So, he took me to one area of the store that only had TVs. Size, quality, depth of color, and we chose a TV. He wrote it up on his order sheet.

Then we moved to a room to listen to speakers. We didn’t choose the very high end, but we found a set perfect for us. Then off to choose a record player and VCR; this was easy.

“Happy with these choices, sir?”

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“Absolutely!”

Then he showed me the order sheet, and they all added up to $3,000. Later they were delivered and set up, and I enjoyed this system for many years.

Why was I looking for an $1,850 system? Because that was what was advertised. In addition, I had in my mind I wouldn’t exceed $3,000 — which just happened to be the Best Buy number. That’s why I didn’t get the higher-end speakers.

Where did I get $3,000? I had opened a separate savings account at the bank.

Of course no one ever asked me that.

The Best Buy salesman ignored my $1,850 request and showed me better quality components, not competing with the low-end ad. In my book, he gets an “A”. Why not an “A+”? As a salesperson, I would have asked two more questions:

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  1. “Was the ad you brought in the reason for looking for an $1,850 system?” (I would have confessed, “Yes.”)
  2. “What was the budget you actually had in mind?”

Knowing people in the jewelry business don’t like asking for budgets, here’s why he should have and how it could have made me happier. I had a $3,000 savings account and he had already led me down the road to ultimate satisfaction.

He could have added this:

“$3,000? Now I understand why you didn’t get the better speakers. May I suggest writing a check for the $3,000, and put the $500 speakers on our 90-day same-as-cash financing and make everything perfect?”
If he had suggested it, I would have done it.

Moral of the story? Those other stores could have made the sale easily if instead of showing me the price I asked for, they had shown me happy.

Apply this concept to custom design. Start asking questions, finding solutions and writing them down on paper.

  • Cost of time for design
  • Metal type
  • How many stones and what types
  • Setting fees

Add it all up. Listed separately, it doesn’t look like so much money.

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Satisfy their happiness first; this overcomes price most of the time.

David Geller is a 14th-generation bench jeweler who produces The Geller Blue Book To Jewelry Repair Pricing. David is the “go-to guy” for setting up QuickBooks for a jewelry store. Reach him at [email protected].

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