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Any tips for closing sales?


#1

I make jewelry that everyone oos and ahhs over…my filigree work
is quite unique, but when it comes to getting the sales, somehow I
miss the boat. I don’t know if it’s something about me, just the
economy, or something I’m doing I shouldn’t or something I should do
that I don’t. I try to educate my potential customers about what is
involved in the work, that it’s built up wire by wire and soldered
with a torch etc…but even though they’ve been staring at the work
and listening to me, facinated by my designs, I’m having trouble
selling the actual items.

Any suggestions?
Jeanne


#2

Jeanne -

Having seen your work & bought your book, I agree that your work is
fabulous! Pricing, I can’t comment on though.

Something you might want to try, is to get a friend to take a video
of you while you make your pitch. If that’s where the problem is,
you will see it and be able to do something about it. I used to do
this to prepare for flight checks, interviews, etc.

good luck,
Kelley


#3

Jeanne-“How would you like to pay for that?” Works most every time.

Jo Haemer
www.timothywgreen.com


#4

Jeanne,

As they say in Real Estate, Location, Location, Location. More
attention needs to be paid to the market. If it is not where you
are, then reach out and find where it is. If you are not your own
best salesman, then to find one is your goal. The value of the
Internet is without limitations. We do not sell among each other, we
need to expose ourselves in another area for customers.

Hugs,
Terrie


#5

Hi Jeanne,

When I went to art school, there was this snarky underlying attitude
that if someone was making money, they must not be making art. This
attitude might work for someone who is living off a trust fund, or
supporting themselves in another field, while making art on the side.
But, of course, making quality dynamic pieces, and making a healthy
living are not, and should not be mutually exclusive.

I wish I had taken workshops with Marlene Richey, and Bruce Baker
when I was new to this field. After learning from them, I realized
that the business end of what we need to do in order to sell our work
can be creative, and it can be fun.

I highly recommend Bruce Baker’s cds, including: “Dynamic Sales and
Customer Service Techniques”. Bruce talks you through all different
selling scenarios, and he does it with humor.

My buddy Marlene Richey’s book “Profiting By Design: A Jewelry
Maker’s Guide to Business Success” (MJSA press) is fantastic. It is a
comprehensive book on how to run a jewelry business, with an emphasis
on small designer jeweler start up businesses.

Here’s wishing you all much success in your ventures!

Kate Wolf
in Portland, Maine hosting wicked good workshops by the bay.
www.katewolfdesigns.com www.wolftools.com


#6

Hello,

Selling is hard. It is one thing to educate the client it is another
to overwhelm them with data. [I am prone to overwhelm]. It sounds
from your description that you might be overwhelming them. Another
important point don’t get into the habit of trying to be their
friend. Don’t ever change the subject from your work to where to eat
in town or where to find cool stuff etc. Keep the focus on your
jewerly. After you have closed you can tell them a story or where to
eat etc.

As to actually selling, why not try rehearsing your blurb to about 20
or 30 seconds and stop. WAIT. Let them say something,let them ask you
a question. Give them a polite short answer. WAIT, do this over and
over. Let them think, and let your piece do the talking. If you
finally think that you are loosing the sale and they are going to
walk away, ask them point blank if there is anything that you can do
to close the sale.

All they can do at that time is say yes or no. If they say no, be
very polite and give them your card with a sketch of the piece on
the back and move on. UNLESS they soften up a bit and start talking
about the piece Then keep the focus on the sale. If they say yes can
I have a discount for cash etc. Deal.

good luck.


#7

I had a friend of mine check over my prices and she’s a very
successful jewelry designer, and says my prices are more than
reasonable…so it’s not the prices, though some of it may be the
economy…that even though the prices are reasonable, the buyers may
not have the funds at the moment.

Thanks for the suggestion about video taping.

Jeanne


#8

I’d suggest a good reading of Harry Friedman’s “No thanks, I’m just
looking”

Self serving. :slight_smile:

On my website as well.

http://www.jewelerprofit.com/catalog/item/1753739/1285954.htm

David S. Geller
JewelerProfit


#9
but even though they've been staring at the work and listening to
me, facinated by my designs, I'm having trouble selling the actual
items.

I don’t know what your prices are, but it is possible you need to
raise them. When you explain how much work something is and your
price is not sky-high, sometimes people are uncomfortable with the
mismatch and so don’t buy.

Also, if you use stones, are they high quality? Is the finish of
everything as careful as your filigree? Clasps, etc, just as nice?
Presentation professional and up-market?

Or it could just be that everybody’s broke.

Noel


#10
If they say no, be very polite and give them your card with a
sketch of the piece on the back and move on. 

speaking of giving them a card etc…I’m a little torn about whether
to emphasis taking my card because I have a website for future
reference…of course, I’d like to make the sale NOW, or during the
course of a given show, but I also want them to be able to find me
later. I’m wondering if I am too quick to emphasize that I am local
and have a website…perhaps they figure they’ll be able to come back
later, and use their money for something else now?

Jeanne


#11

Jerry Gitomer’s “Little Red Book of Selling”

Get it, read it, practice it. You are telling prospects about
features. They don’t want features, they want benefits.

Sales is a prarticed skill that can be learned, no one is born with
the skill…too many jewelry artisans are hopeful order takers,
not sales people. If you’re in biz for yourself, you’d better learn
to SELL or hire someone who CAN or you’ll be a hobbyist soon enough!

Lots of good sales courses, the above book is one of the best books
on the subject. I used it to train a sales force and they went from
1.2 mil in sales to 3.2 in one year, then 6 mil plus the next.
Practice, practice, practice.

Wayne


#12

Hi, Jeanne,

I make jewelry that everyone oos and ahhs over....my filigree work
is quite unique, but when it comes to getting the sales, somehow I
miss the boat. 

What metal are you using, and what is your price range? Any photos
we can view?

Have you searched the web or etsy.com to see how similar items are
priced?

I can also offer two opinions from a buyer’s perspective:

(1) How long it took to make the piece matters less to me than
whether I love its look and think the price is fair.

(2) I have a threshold for listening while I’m examining the piece,
and will just courteously move on if my listening threshold is
exceeded.

Best regards, and good luck!
Lorraine


#13

The best tip I can offer for closing sales is to start learning
about the art of selling by reading sales training books and
attending sales training seminars. I would recommend starting with a
book by Zig Ziglar, “Secrets of Closing the Sale”. He has written
many books and all are fantastic.

If you can, I would highly recommend attending a seminar given by a
gentleman named Brad Huisken. Brad writes a monthly column in
Southern Jewelry News, and has written a book called “I’m a Salesman,
Not a PhD” and a few others. If a seminar is out of the question, he
has a DVD version for sale (PMSA Relationship Selling Video Program)
on his website (iastraining.com). If I remember right it’s about
$600, and it’s worth every penny.

Salesmanship is not rocket science, but it is a learned skill. The
more you study it, the better at it you will become. It is also one
of the only professions that has absolutely unlimited income
potential. I particularly like the approaches of Zig Ziglar and Brad
Huisken because their methods are customer-centric. Both base their
training on building long-term relationships with clients with the
objective of helping people solve problems and filling their needs as
opposed to just getting in their pocket. Neither of them believes in
high-pressure tactics, in fact both are very much against using such
methods. In the jewelry business, as in many others, repeat business
with personal referrals (word of mouth) is the best way to achieve
long-term success, and high-pressure tactics just turn people off.

Insert standard disclaimer here.

Dave


#14
speaking of giving them a card etc....I'm a little torn about
whether to emphasis taking my card because I have a website for
future reference...of course, I'd like to make the sale NOW, 

On the backs of my cards I have printed a few blank lines and the
title “Wish List”. If someone is resistant to my sales efforts, I
will
hand them a card and a pen and point out the wish list on the back. I
suggest that they write down the name/description of the item(s) they
like, and give the card to a loved one when it’s time for gift
buying. Easy shopping–they know right where to go and what to buy,
so you’re guaranteed to get what you want!

I hear from a lot of husbands placing orders around Christmas, and
most of them mention getting a ‘wish list’ card from their wives. A
few men have taken notes on my cards after watching their wives
browse my tables too. Those blank lines just beg to be filled
in…[grin]

Kathy Johnson
Feathered Gems Jewelry
http://www.fgemz.com


#15

Hi Jeanne -

I did learn some interesting tips in a Sales class I took in
college: It sounds like you know your product very well so you can
easily inform the customer about various features and benefits of
your designs…but how well do you know the customer?

Ask them if they are looking to purchase for themselves or as a
gift? If it is as a gift, Do you gift wrap? Do you offer an exchange
option if it doesn’t suit the receiver? If it is for the themselves,
you could ask if they are looking to wear a design for everyday,
work or for a special occasion?

Is there a gatekeeper? Sometimes the looker will have a spouse or a
friend along…if the looker turns to them for ‘approval’ to
purchase, you will need to sell that gatekeeper on the wise choice
of their spouse/friend purchasing your designs.

The most surprising tactic that works for me is to simply ask them
for the purchase: Would you like to purchase one of my designs? This
opens up the conversation to a “yes, but…” and you can directly
address what hurdle the customer is concerned about.

Hope this helps, Deanna


#16

Lovely work indeed, Jeanne, and aimed at a very specific market,
too. You say that you try to ‘educate’ your customers about the work
involved, and this may be your mistake, because sales are all about
the customer, not about you or the hours you put into a piece. Let me
illustrate:

Recently, I decided to install solar energy panels to generate power
in my home. I contacted three companies to give me quotes. One
emailed me a set of general quotations.

One came and tried to ‘sell me the benefits’ of installing such a
system. He to do so, like a used car salesman, even after I explained
to him that I was going to buy a system anyway, already understood
the benefits and the only questions I needed him to answer related to
the way his particular system worked and was superior to others on
the market.

The third came round to the house, climbed up and inspected the roof
to see how suitable it was for installing the panels, then sat down
and chatted with me about what I actually knew and what I wanted to
get out of a system. Then he went away and sent me a quote based on
our discussion, with specific recommendations about which options he
felt were best suited to MY needs. Guess who got the job? (And very
happy I am with the results too!)

That sale was made because he focused on me and my needs, not on how
much I would save as electricity prices rise in the future. He
answered questions about product quality and life expectancy openly
without being too technical. He treated me like the intelligent (!)
woman that I am.

In an earlier life selling life insurance, I learned that you can’t
sell anyone anything, no matter how much they need it, unless they
not only feel they NEED it, but feel they really WANT it because it
is just right for them. If people feel THAT want, they do all the
selling to themselves! This doesn’t mean gushing about how gorgeous a
piece will look with their colouring etc. Ask them about their needs,
plans and desires for a special day (thinking of your wedding
jewellery), use open ended questions that get them talking about
themselves, (and about what they like about a piece), encourage them
to try pieces on, ask how they think it will look with the dress
they’re going to wear.

Hope this helps. (Mind you, I remember a similar thread a while
back, so I’m sure you will have many intelligent and well reasoned
answers!)

Jane Walker


#17

Two comments…

  1. When I do give a business card because someone is interested in a
    piece, I write very clearly on the back of the card what the piece
    is called in my terms so the person can easily call and order knowing
    they will get exactly what they want. Sometimes I add a 10 second
    sketch to remind them of why they liked it so much.

  2. I took a class with an enamelist who is very successful once and
    he suggested using some variation on this pitch to close the sale.
    “What is keeping you from getting something you so obviously love
    for yourself? You deserve it” He said it worked every time. Maybe it
    was because he was an attractive man selling to women? Maybe he just
    said it better but when I tried it I failed miserably. Some people
    laughed (and me with them), some looked at me and said “well, the
    money!”. He said he could usually talk people into a credit card
    purchase or layaway plan…maybe I’m too frugal to pull that off
    with a straight face!

I tend to go with building relationships with customers and getting
a lot of return sales, some of my pieces are very gift friendly.

Karen


#18

Jeanne

The only way that one could offer advice is for that person to be at
your booth to witness your technique and offer a critique. Otherwise
you’ll receive only the grossest generalities.


#19
I'd like to make the sale NOW, or during the course of a given
show, but I also want them to be able to find me later. I'm
wondering if I am too quick to emphasize that I am local and have a
website...perhaps they figure they'll be able to come back later,
and use their money for something else now? 

The cornball old chestnut, “Be-backs arn’t greenbacks” springs to
mind. Always better to close the sale now, but not always possible.
So it takes sensitive judgement to know how hard to push, before you
push them away. Always be ready for “Plan B” which is to be easily
ready to follow up on the contact and be easy to contact later on.
But “Plan A” should always be to close the sale.

My son opened a store in Rochester to sell my work and I did a few
local festivals to help him promote it. Amazing how many fewer sales
were closed at the show when people knew we were available locally. I
had done some of these show before and had a good base to compare to.
In our case, getting them into the store was the priority, so we
didn’t mind losing the immediate sale so much. But as of yet I have
no idea if this is actually working for us.

Stephen Walker


#20

I think the first thing you have to do/learn is to be a good
listener. You cannot possibly hope to direct any kind of pitch until
you know the prospect’s mind set. You have to know the target. You
are looking for that elusive clue that tells you what will tip the
balance.

You need to express how your product will improve their existence.
If she mentions a social club…“They’ll all envy you when you walk
in wearing this beautiful piece” or something along that line. Can’t
make it sound corny or self serving, it should sound sincere. You can
tell her its made from 13,000 individual wires but she’d rather hear
the 13,000 individual wires combine to make her complexion glow(well,
that’s a bit over the top but I hope the exaggeration gets the point
across).

Finally you have to ask for the sale. This can be subtle or not. “I
can have that wrapped in just a few minutes” or “Will that be cash or
credit?”