Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Cancelled a customer


#1

Dear all

As we are now well into the belt-tightening economy, people are
wanting to save money. But there is a limit to what level we must
help them just to make a simple sale, right?

I drove over 50 miles return just to make “necklace, bracelet and
earring sale”. I did lots of homework in preparing to put money
up-front for some items on “memo” from my new supplier. Figured out
what a “decent return” should be on my efforts. Everything she wanted
was put infront of her at her home.

“Well Gerry, I can’t afford your price of $1,795 it’s too much…how
about if I give you $1,500.00.” My items actually cost me that
amount. She was originally to order 3 units of each item So my
efforts were to be spread over “the 3 sets” and I’d walk away almost
smiling. All items were 14 kt and many items were to be modified with
my jeweller on top of everything…I hate to bargain with gold and
labour items…:frowning: I am not running a garage sale but making gold items
that are great to be worn and appreciated for many years. As we all
do at our bench’s, right?

I was thinking last night, I’m giving away my time, labour and skill
and making hardly any markup. Eight percent markup, as in 8% well
it just ain’t worth it. She even balked at a reduction of
$120.00…then she said “I’m only going to order 1 set for now and I
thought we were friends?”. I’m gonna call her soon and ask her if she
goes to a super market for groceries, does she ask for them to reduce
their cash register check-out amounts? Let her buy retail and ask the
attendant to reduce their prices…right. Retail pricing would have
been $3,070.00 inc. taxes. Anyone agree with me with my
frustration?..

Gerry!


#2

Gerry, I agree with you. I hate it when someone comes to my booth
and wants to bargain. I just don’t do it. I simply smile and say that
it would be unfair to my other customers if I reduced my price for
her. Then I put the item back in my case. Subject closed. I just
don’t get into a discussion about it.

What is interesting about the present downturn in the economy, is
that at the most recent show in which I participated, almost all of
my customers paid cash—either real money, or by check. Very few
transactions were by credit card. Sort of strange at first to have a
customer pull out severJeweler’s Bench al 14, 2009 $50 bills.
Fortunately I had brought enough money with me for change. the
Orchid Blogs network faceted gemstone Only one attempted to bargain,
but I gave her my usual response to such s for silver work? requests.
No deal.

Alma Rands


#3
So my efforts were to be spread over "the 3 sets" 

Ah well you just learned the lesson. I’ve had that happen to me too.

Particularly on complex ‘deals’ I never start with the bottom line
first. As in, “the price is $X even though it regularly would be $Y”.
Name the Y first, and name it on a one piece basis. Then as the
’deal’ progresses you have the room for a quantity discount, a feel
good discount, a make it possible discount, whatever. The client now
has a reference point so that any reduced pricing is quite apparent.
And make it quite clear that the lower pricing is contingent upon the
quantity or whatever parameters you have. Its up to you to illustrate
the construct of the deal. Take control.

I understand some folks hate being asked for a lower price. But get
over it already. The reality is that sometimes if you don’t
accommodate you lose the sale. Making a sale is all about addressing
all the customer’s requirements and countering objections. You’d size
a ring for free, you might even give a freebie chain to go with the
expensive pendant. You’d set a sapphire instead of the emerald. When
you buy a house do you just pay the asking price or do you submit a
bid? It is not a personal affront to seek a better price.

If they ask for a lower price what does that really mean? They are
INTERESTED IN DOING BUSINESS! Take advantage of that!

You need to close sales. So why not anticipate the customers’ needs
and objections? Really, you’re better off if you do. The price is
just one of many factors that go into your client’s decision.

Which is not to say that you have to eat dirt and other stuff. You
can reach an accord(or not) with your integrity intact, hell, you can
even have fun with it.

You is used editorially, this is not pointed at anyone. I know my
point of view on this is unfashionable around here but ‘it works for
me’, as they say. In case no one noticed, jewelry is not selling all
that well lately, position yourself wisely.


#4

Gerry-

I totally feel your frustration. At present I am “semi-retired” from
the industry. I closed my shop when my spouse/partner died in 2005.
But I still have a small pool of clients I deal with on a regular
basis.

I too have had to let many of these clients “go” as it were. Shame
as I have had decades long relationships with some of them, but it
never ceases to amaze me what some people expect you to do to your
pricing because they have bought something from you before. They’ll
want those posts for what they cost me to make 5 years ago or
they’ll want custom work at catalog prices ( ie my time is for free
because they are a friend, mentality).

Yes we are in a service industry but that doesn’t mean you should not
make enough off the sale. Someone who treats me like this is firmly
and not to subtly steered to the Mall. Let them pay their overhead,
because they ain’t worth my time.

Just my 2 cents-
Amy


#5

Gerry, I agree with you. I hate it when someone comes to my booth and
wants to bargain. I just don’t do it. I simply smile and say that it
would be unfair to my other customers if I reduced my price for her.
Then I put the item back in my case. Subject closed. I just don’t get
into a discussion about it.

What is interesting about the present downturn in the economy, is
that at the most recent show in which I participated, almost all of
my customers paid cash—either real money, or by check. Very few
transactions were by credit card. Sort of strange at first to have a
customer pull out several $50 bills. Fortunately I had brought
enough money with me for change.

Only one attempted to bargain, but I gave her my usual response to
such requests. No deal.

Alma Rands


#6
Anyone agree with me with my frustration?... 

Yup.

Here’s a thought. If you’ve got her email address, forward a copy of
your nicely descriptive post to her. Complete with the notes as to
your costs. If she’s got a brain in her head, perhaps she’ll realize
she was being unrealistic. Maybe she thought you were making much
more. Or maybe it hadn’t occured to her that you incurred costs just
to make the presentation, and will incur more to complete the pieces.
If she gets a bit embarassed reading how she’s frustrated you,
perhaps she’ll see that her cheap approach was not called for.

And if not, the worst that can happen is that things stay where they
are, or perhaps you loose the sale. Given that she seems to want you
to do this with no profit at all, loosing the sale wouldn’t be all
that bad…

In fact, if you forward your post to her, consider copying some of
the replies to her as well, so she realizes that it’s not you that’s
being unrealistic and unfair.

Now, if she really is an old friend, and you know for a fact that
her economic status is such that she really cannot afford more, then
you can choose to give her the gift of a discount or no-profit deal.
But be sure she understands, if you do this, just what a gift you’re
giving, including the unpaid time, mileage, normal profit margins you
should have made, and the rest. The idea here is that people often
value a thing based on what they paid, not what they should have
paid. If you give her a deep discount as a favor, then that
discounted price will be forever in her head as what the piece is
actually worth. She’d need to understand that the discounted price
was not the norm, nor something she should have expected or could
routinely get elsewhere. Then, at least, your gift might be valued
for what it is. If that isn’t the case, then it’s pointless for you
to be so generous…

good luck
Peter


#7

After having been burned, I have learned my lesson.

If I accede to a discount based on the purchase of multiple pieces,
to be purchased over time because the customer can’t afford to
purchase everything at once, ( a wedding ring set was the last one
like this), #1, I put it in writing. #2, I charge full price for the
first piece, then calculate a decrease in price for each successive
piece until the percentage of the agreed upon discount is only fully
met with the purchase of the final piece. That somewhat prevents the
customer from purchasing one piece at a large discount based on
multiple purchases and then defaulting on the subsequent purchases
that they agreed to. I also set a time period on purchases of this
kind.

If a larger discount is agreed upon, I insist all pieces be purchased
at the same time.

Lisa, (Hung out with fellow Orchidian Jessica Frenkel here in Paris
yesterday!) Topanga…(but still in Paris)…CA, USA


#8

Not only do I agree with you on your frustration, I’m fed up with the
expectation of perfection and speed from my end and the pushy
impatience from customers who just don’t get that many of us are
working two or three jobs just to get by. Somtimes it is just not
worth making just a little bit on a sale. No more saying “it’s better
than nothing and it keeps me busy”. You can sell peanuts at the
stadium and make the same money.


#9

Hi Gerry,

She even balked at a reduction of $120.00..then she said "I'm only
going to order 1 set for now and I thought we were friends?". 

Ah, the ol’ "but I thought we were friends, give me stuff"
argument… :wink: In my world, friends respect each others’ business
efforts.

I understand your wanting to call her and offer the grocery analogy,
but I fear it will fall on deaf ears and could escalate the tension
of your situation. Hope it works out for you.

Cheers,
Kieran


#10
Gerry, I agree with you. I hate it when someone comes to my booth
and wants to bargain. I just don't do it. I simply smile and say
that it would be unfair to my other customers if I reduced my
price for her. Then I put the item back in my case. Subject closed.
I just don't get into a discussion about it. 

In Gerry’s case he had a pre-agreed to price and then his customer
began to barter after he drove all the way to them, paid bench
jeweler for their work, and made memo commitment to a new dealer. And
then threw friendship into the negotiations. I’m sorry for your
experience Gerry. That’s not how anyone wants to do business.

When I sell at show’s I’m always open to haggling. I mark my stuff
so I have room to give discounts up to 25% and keystone to retail
brick and mortar establishments. By steadfastly refusing to bargain
with people you are driving away sales. A couple years ago I was at a
rock and gem show with my cousin was looking at a tray of cabochons
and she asked the person how firm she was on price. A polite way to
open negotiations in my opinion. The dealer responded with “Oh I
don’t give discounts. It would be unfair for the rest of my
customers.” I asked the woman if I offered to buy the whole tray for
cash would there be a discount, “Oh, my no.” I wished her luck and
walked away. Maybe I’m a selfish person but I don’t give a rat’s
behind about being fair to the rest of her customers I want value
for my hard earned money.

How many return customers do you see at shows? With the world
economy and globalization we now have customers from all over the
world. Some of these countries price haggling is how business is
done. The public as a whole are picking up on price negotiations.
There are publications and money experts encouraging people to offer
less than the marked price. We all want to put on our rose colored
glasses and think that customers are falling all over themselves to
buy our work but except for a very few that are talented enough and
lucky enough to have carved out a niche’ for their work this business
model is not realistic. (I don’t count myself in that group.)

When a customer is trying to decide between several different pieces
I smile and offer a quantity discount. 80% of the time it works and I
sell 2-3 pieces where if I stuck to the price marked I may have only
sold one or may have driven off the customer by refusing to discount.
When I’m doing a show where I’m selling my cabochons and polished
stones and a customer has a handful of stones I hand them a tray and
smile and tell them quantity discounts start at 10%. That sometimes
sparks a feeding frenzy.

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
rockymountainwonders.com


#11

Gerry,

The problem is you’re not charging enough to begin with. If you had
gone in with a normal markup of keystone and she wanted to pay $300
less you still would have made money. Maybe you should approach it
that way from now on.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
www.spirerjewelers.com


#12
I'm gonna call her soon and ask her if she goes to a super market
for groceries, does she ask for them to reduce their cash register
check-out amounts? 

Of course she would not, but that has not bearing on the situation
you were in. What you are asking is logical, her behavior is not. To
some degree your behavior is not logical. You have a different value
for what is fair for your financial investment and the value for your
time and effort. she does not understand that, and if you explain
your position, she still may not. As for “I thought we were friends”,
you could say “I am giving you the friend price, and any less would
mean that you don’t value me and my effort and that would not be fair
to me. I know that is not your intention, but that is how I feel. I
assume you do not really want these items as I have given you very
fair prices. If you only want one, the price has to be higher as I
was
giving you a quantity break.”

My experience is that when a customer does a behavior, I interpret
what they do and I put an emotional value on how it affects me, and
then I act or react.

Someone posted about customers asking for discounts at an art show. I
have a brick and mortar store. My reality is that if you raise your
prices 10% and then give a 10% discount when asked to or to close a
sale you will make more sales than you will lose by the higher price
if you make most sales at the higher price.

There are things you cannot fight or change, and that is other
peoples perceptions of value. You have have your high holy value
system, but especially in these economic times, you want to make the
frickin sale. You can be as proud of yourself for closing the sale
as you can be for holding your worthless value of doing business the
"right" way. It’s just how you chose to perceive. The is no moral or
ethical value to discounting, just your value judgment that costs
you $$$. It works better to say yes, you just have to figure out the
circumstances to make that happen. It is a game, and not discounting
is as valid as discounting. One way you might end up with a sale,
one you don’t. One way you end up with a happy customer, who may be a
repeat customer, one way you does not. You cannot eat moral high
ground. If your ego thinks you made a gain by not making the sale,
your ego is not your friend.

There are times when I do not want the perception to be that I will
always give a discount. I tell the customer that I am can give you a
special deal on this item, but don’t expect it in the future.

And that is the truth, some I have room on and some I don’t. I have
quite a high percentage of repeat business, very loyal customers.
Sometimes when I give a discount, they sale that they appreciate it
and they will not shop anywhere else.

So, if discounting does not hurt, and you create loyal customers, the
downside is what?

Many years ago, I went into Fred Leighton at the Bellagio, a friend
asked about a piece, they had it on her in seconds, the sales lady
excused herself for a moment, returned and told her the piece was
$180,000 and that Mr. Leighton could let her have it for $150,000.
Concepts about discounting lose meaning in this world, Mr. Leighton
is working with high end “most luxurious” jewelry in the world.
That’s the way it is done, high priced cars, high prices
homes…discounted.

We cannot control other peoples behavior. We can tilt the odds in
our favor by changing the customers perception of whether something
is an opportunity. We provide goods and services, they have the
money, we make the value of the goods and services worth more than
the money they are spending.

Richard Hart G.G.
Jewelers Gallery
Denver, Co.


#13

I try to price work so that it is fair for both of us. When asked
for a “Better” price I offer to raise it 10%, 20% if I am in a bad
mood :slight_smile:

jeffD
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#14

Gerry,

I couldn’t agree more with you. I tell customers like that if they
want bargain basement prices they must be also looking for bargain
basement quality and we don’t sell that here. They are in essence
cheapening your work and expertise. There are people in this world
that don’t think that you deserve to make a fair profit for all of
your work and expertise, they always want something for nothing. If
you feel that you are charging a fair price then stick to it. This
woman wants custom quality at sweat shop prices! In the real world
you get what you pay for!

The customers that appreciate all of your hard work and expertise
and are willing to pay the fair price, those are the ones that make
it all worth what we do.

Linda McMurray G.G., A.J.P. (GIA)
Best Cut Gems
www.bestcutgems.com


#15
Only one attempted to bargain, but I gave her my usual response to
such requests. No deal. 

So I have a question. You (generic) have a repeat customer who has
been coming to art shows (or your store) you display at, she has been
good to you over several years making purchases and loving your work.

She comes to a show and picks out a piece and asks if you can do
better on the price.

Absolutely no?

If you have a customer who always pays full price, and they ask for a
discount, do you think that they might be embarrassed to ask and take
that into consideration? The customer asks for a discount on
something you have had for over a year. David Geller would say
discount and get rid of it or scrap it. Do you discount or send to
the refiner and take the loss as you are adamant and refuse to
discount?

I can understand if your price point is under $50 and a the loss of a
sale or two does not hurt your bottom line. But if your work is
several hundred dollars or several thousand dollars, I would have a
hard time justifying refusing to make a sale. But then I have a
mortgage, medical bills, ect. and I do not have the luxury of saying
no unless I would lose significant money.

Sometimes I have to make a sale at discount in spite of how I feel, I
do not have any other source of income. Those of you that never have
to sell at a discount can enjoy a luxury I cannot afford, literally.

Health insurance and meds are equal yearly for my wife and I to some
peoples yearly income.

Richard Hart G.G.
Jewelers Gallery
Denver, Co.


#16

Richard, In response to your questions. I have a lot of repeat
customers. They have never asked for a discount, nor have they
attempted to bargain.

They come back to me because they like my work, and feel that the
price s fair.

It has only been an occasional person, who has never bought from me
in the past, who has attempted to bargain, and I just don’t do it.

If I had that hypothetical customer you mention who has been buying
from me regularly and may be having a bit of a cash flow problem, of
course I would accommodate her. But it would have to be a regular
customer, and not one just floating around the show looking for the
cheapest price she would have to pay. Even though the economy is
down, my sales have been consistent, my customers keep coming back,
and I am sure that this is because my things are priced fairly.

Most of my sales are under $200. The ones you are talking about
range in the thousands. Our situations are quite different.

We do what we have to do, and no one is faulting anyone for doing
what they have to do. If they feel they need to lower the price to
make the sale, then so be it.

Alma Rands


#17

Bottom line to me is that you need to charge a price to begin with
that you can afford to discount 20% or some.

I have to confess I try to read the customer… often I say no to
discounts … but on occasions I will take a 10% off (covers the
9.25% sales tax here now)… 20% I reserve for friends, family and
good repeat customers! I have that room to wiggle in and still make
some money. 8% is not my profit line!

Sadie


#18

Yes! If she wants a low price and the type of jewelry that goes along
with it - she could try Wal Mart!


#19

Tell if I’m wrong, but it sounds like you already had a deal. You
made pieces to her specs, and I assume pricing was discussed at that
time. When you delivered, the customer has an obligation to pay the
price quoted. Her trying to renegotiate is tacky and not business
like, I would not deal with her again.

If you made the pieces without discussing price that is bad business
on your part. If I make expensive pieces on spec I would quote a
price and ask for 50% up front. This is standard practise.

Chris


#20

I am new to jewelry and this forum, but have been reading in silence
for a while. Just wanted to offer a different perspective since we
are sharing thoughts on this topic. As we are seeing different
responses from people, keep in mind this is what the public deals
with. Different policies from different people. Why wouldn’t a
customer ask if this is the best price knowing that some people allow
room in their pricing? I don’t askif this is the best price all the
time, but have been known to on occasion! If the answer is yes this
is my best price, that is the end of that conversation, but if there
is room for negotiation, then I am glad I asked! I have been out of
work for awhile now (jewelry has been a hobby for me) and if I see
something that is close to my very tight budget, and I really like
it, I will ask the question. I would hate to go home without
something I really liked because I didn’t ask. It is not an insult to
the artist but rather a compliment. I liked the piece well enough to
work up the guts to ask! Because I do need to work myself up to ask.
The person who is flip or nasty to me will never see me at their
establishment again, even when I am back to work and in a position to
pay the marked price. I would be too embarrassed. A simple yes is all
I need. And I will be disappointed, but ask for a card for future
consideration… I have been know to go back to someone a year or so
later because I remembered something I liked…and now could afford.
I have a good memory for things that impress me, just ask my
husband!! The best to all, I start each day reading this forum here
in my days of unemployment and have learned a lot. Appreciate the
generosity of all sharing their expertise!! Final word, I have used
paragraphs, spell checked and re-read this 3 times for corrections.
If my grammer is not perfect I apologize (LOL)

AnnAS Designs