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Closing that sale

Was “Pricing according to Geller’s book”

Hi Noel,

I’ve been skipping this thread and just caught the tail end of it.
So I’m sure that a lot has been said about this by now. Over the
years many people have told me that I was a great salesman. Its a
wonderful complement, but the secret truth is that I’m not.

What I do is teach. What I discovered nearly 40 years ago is that I
needed something exciting in every piece that I can educate my
customers about, explain why they should have It. So I endeavored to
add more to each of my pieces. Every season my clients would return
to my Cayman Islands store and I would be ready for them with my next
inventions. Over the years they became collectors and I became a
designer. Adding value to each jewel became a never ending quest for
significance, importance and collectability. Quality, beauty,
functionality and integrity are all part of this quest.

Over time my work developed a certain style or feel that reflex my
ability and preferences. These have been shaped by the response
(negative and positive) of the thousands of collectors that I have
placed my work with. But here is the point, I don’t ever remember
closing a sale. I just teach them about my work and attempt to pass
on some of the passion that I have for each piece. At some point in
the process they ask me for the price and I tell them. If they are in
love with my work they will buy it, if not, we both had a good time,
and I learnt something from their response and they will always
remember what it felt like to wear one of my creations. Usually they
come back.

It took me a long time to discover that I create jewellery so that
people will respond to it in as many ways as possible. Maybe I Just
don’t like to close. By the way I never design for price. I never
discount. I never make the price important. I never assume that they
don’t have money. In my heart I know that they want the best, not
"the best for the money". Always be prepared to walk a way from a bad
sale, even if you can’t pay your rent. The problem with “sales
training” is it makes the sale important, not the jewel that you
have created.

Dennis Smith

Hi, Wayne,

Please contact me off-line if you would like some excellent and
practical reading suggestions, along with examples of the some of
the material I used to help train the salespeople. I had to learn
to become a closer, and you can, too. 

I’m answering you both on and off-forum, because I’m betting there
are plenty of others out there who will gladly accept all the help
they can get. I would very much like recommendations for reading
that has proved effective, and other practical suggestions. It is
not easy to change, but I’m willing to try!


I don’t consider myself an expert on this field, but I see people
making mistakes I don’t make. There’s lots of good advise in this
thread, but I’d put the most important point in one sentence: Know
when to stop. People LIKE salespeople who are friendly. They like to
learn how to buy jewelry, what the piece in question has going for
it, and that you are taking care of them, and that you are a real
person. But there comes a time when they are ready to buy it, or 90%
ready, and that’s when to stop and say, “So, can I wrap that up for
you?”. If you (whoever) launch into yet another story, they are lost.
It MAY be that they will still buy, but it’s unlikely - you will have
lost their interest and train of thought, and you may be boring them,
to boot. I think the essence of this is having a conversation with
them. The definition of a conversation is 2 people talking. If it’s
only one person talking, that’s a monologue and people will flee and
flee fast. If one is speaking with them instead of talking at them,
then you’ll know the time, because they’ll tell you. Finally, part of
conversation (a big part) is asking questions: "What are you looking
for?, What budget did you have in mind? (ALWAYS), Do you like this
one? What is it you like/don’t like about it? We could do this to
make it different, would that be better? Or this, or this, or this?"
dislike the mercenary connotations of “We’re here to make money.”
(“Just pay me and get out!”), even though it’s true. As salespeople,
though, we should never forget that we are there to sell our jewelry,
and someone just walked in wanting to buy what we sell. That’s our
job. They may be downright chummy, but they didn’t walk into the
place because they heard we spun a good yarn…

Perhaps this doesn't really make a difference. I often tell people
"Jewelry is not about "need"

I know that art fairs are different that a store, but at the art
fair, your booth is your store. When a woman is in my store and says
I don’t need anymore jewelry" I reply that I understand, but a girl
has to have what a girl has to have. Sometimes people say something,
but they are thinking something completely different.

I have a natural ability to state what someone is thinking in a
offhand and playful way.

There are ways we can relate not based on logic, but based on the
truth that we covet that which we admire.

If someone can learn how to either make a statement and see what the
response is, or ask questions and find the thread of what the person
thinks or feels, you can qualify how much interest your customer has
in making a purchase. The interesting thing about selling is that
you learn how to qualify, most interactions follow a pattern. The
customer usually exhibits some signal as to how enthusiastic they are
about something

What I feel I am doing is helping to support someone that is trying
to justify making a decision to purchase and own.

Re-framing what people say sometimes opens a door. When a woman says
I am just browsing I say, I will give you some time to get in trouble
by yourself, I will check back and see if you have any questions.
Quite often when a woman is spending time looking into a jewelry
case, I ask if there is anything I can show them. Quite often they
immediately say no, pause and then say, well actually I would like to
see that…

Sometimes when I ask if they want to see anything, I inform them
that I ask occasionally if there is something they saw that they have
a question about, because there is so much to look at, sometimes
someone sees something they like, and then forgets where they saw it.

Explaining why I ask makes sense and it seems less of an intrusion
during their perusing. 50% of the time it sparks someone having made
mental note to look at something in another case. The most important
part is find a way to engage the customer in a non threatening manner
so you are having a casual conversation. If you can make small talk
with people, if they do not buy anything, they had a pleasant
experience and they will remember how they felt, and they will come
back when they need something. When someone is shopping in my store,
either they have a criteria or they don’t. My job is to help them
establish a criteria, or see if I can provide something that is as
close to their criteria for what I have to work to meet their need.

Richard Hart

Hello Orchidland,

John Donivan’s comment,

But there comes a time when they are ready to buy it, or 90% ready,
and that's when to stop and say, "So, can I wrap that up for you?".
If you (whoever) launch into yet another story, they are lost. 

made me think of a preacher I once knew. He didn’t know when to
stop! He’d give a thoughtful sermon and end (you’d think) with a
wonderful summary, and I’d think, “That’s pretty good.” THEN, he’d
add another couple minutes. Lost 'em every time. A kind, caring man
who could counsel well and listened. He just couldn’t “close” the

Does that mean selling applies to religion too??? Judy in Kansas,
where final exams begin next week - the campus will be very quiet.

"Jewelry is not about "need". 

Well, yes and no.

One doesn’t need jewelry the way one may need to get their
transmission overhauled or to eat. But often people need to fulfill
their wants. For example, a gift of an anniversary ring fills the
needs of two people…the wife who needs to feel recognized and
desired, and the husband who needs to express the same sentiment.

A fur coat or a vacation may fill the same needs. its part of our
job as jewelers to show how jewelry may fill that need in some better
way. That’s the hidden competition…for those disposable dollars.
Its not so much about cost as retained value. Twenty years from now
you’ll still have this beautiful precious sentiment.

I know I still need that Harley and I may get it by filling other
people’s needs. Well, a Harley or a Laser, we’ll see what happens
first. :wink:

I really need more help to learn to sell, in a way that is
appropriate for me. Any suggestions?

Noel - I’ve had to learn too, and we all are still learning.

Just as we learn our trade of metalsmithing by working with a master,
find at least one really successful artist selling at shows and
figure out how to work with them for a day or a couple of shows or a
season. Most of us would be happy to have help at shows - it’s a lot
of work to set up, tear down and run a show single handed. You would
have to give up doing your own booth at that show, but you could
learn a lot.

Another idea would be to read books on the subject of selling, and
practice, practice, practice. Try a technique for a day, and make
notes of what worked along with sales totals. Bruce Baker has some
really good ideas that are very specific. See what works for you.

And the third suggestion is to remember to ask for the sale. It isn’t
going to happen unless you help the customer commit. Remember the
"permission" noises that Baker talks about.

Judy Hoch

I’m surprised no one has mentioned the old Dale Carnagie sales
method. The sales bible for those who want to learn to sell for more
than 30 years that I know of. Go to your local library or just google
it (I used it is still out there and you can get the CD
on Amazon (imagine that). Take it from a Marketing major turned
jeweler. This guys knew what salesare all about.

Frank Goss

A few days late, but apropos of the comments by Noel, Wayne, and
Susannah. Perhaps as bit OT, but within the context.

We just had the bi-annual Holiday Crafts Show, at UCSD Crafts Center
in La Jolla. On display for sale were the fruits of the creative
hands of fellow class and studio members in Glass Blowing, Ceramics,
Weaving and Jewelry.

I stood with a fellow studio mate at the Jewelry area, available to
assist buyers and lookers. Larry noticed someone looking over some
of my work. He suggested I go there and speak about my work. I just
could not, as my “don’t be proud” message from my parents rang loud
and clear in my ears. I know that tape needs to be erased, and I
have tried. I just cannot encourage someone to buy my stuff. Noel, I
feel your energy.

Susannah, I commute to UCSD via train and shuttle. I meet a lady
every now and again, and we have chatted. I spoke about my grandson
and his enthusiastic art and photography direction. She suggested
encouraging him to follow his heart. She went on to say that she had
several graduate degrees in bio-engineering and genetics. She worked
in that career and was not fulfilled. With her husbands support she
returned to school and took many classes and is now very happily a
senior graphics art designer for an ad agency. Before you return to
an area you previously turned away from, perhaps try some more to
follow your heart.

I have found you to be very open and clear in your most recent
foray, and read your disappointments. I hope you can follow your
heart. I know the money may initially be better in another field, in
the long run, will it feel right? I wish you very well.

Wayne, were it ever so easy. Thanks,

He suggested I go there and speak about my work. I just could not,
as my "don't be proud" message from my parents rang loud and clear
in my ears. 

Teresa, you worked hard to create that jewelry. You deserve to be
proud of what you have made.

It is hard to unlearn things that were drilled into you when you
were younger, but it can be done. It’s not wrong to be proud of
yourself for successfully learning a skill and producing something
that’s beautiful. Not everybody can do what you do. There’s no shame
in being proud of your accomplishments.

I’d like to suggest that you read some of what “FlyLady” has to say
at On the surface, this site aims to help
disorganized people clear the clutter from their homes. But the woman
who is behind the FlyLady name really aims to help people overcome
pre-programmed ‘stinking thinking’-- such as “don’t be proud”, or
"I’m no good because I’m fat", or “I can’t keep a clean house because
I’m lazy”. She’s not a professional psychologist, but she’s really
very good at what she does!

As for “selling”. I’m not a good sales closer either, but I’m
learning. I only sell at shows catering to pet owners, so my normal
venue is similar to an art fair…

My father, who made jewelry as a hobby for 30+ years, would pick up
things off his craft show tables and hand them to total strangers,
asking what they thought of the item. If they didn’t like it, he’d
find something different and hand that to them instead. Oddly enough,
it worked pretty well for him. But I can’t be so pushy.

I got the Bruce Baker CDs and listened to them, and adopted a few
things that felt ‘safe’ as a starting point.

I’ve found that a simple smile and a hello, followed by something
like "If there’s anything on a display that you’d like to see, feel
free to pick it up.

Jewelry is meant to be touched.", or “If there’s something in a case
that you’d like to see, just ask and I’ll get it out for you.” puts
people more at ease.

Then I do something non-threatening but easily interrupted, like
polish a piece of jewelry, clean a case front or put a jump ring on a
charm. I’m there, I’m available, but I’m not hovering over them.

I’ve also found that if I can make people laugh a little, they relax,
and then I relax more. If someone says something vague like “you
have nice things here”, I smile and thank them, and tell them that
this is what I do to keep from having to get a real job. (It’s true!)
They laugh, and the ice is broken. If they’re still looking at the
jewelry at that point, then I’ll ask if they’re looking for something
in particular. That’s one of Mr. Baker’s biggest “no-nos” --never ask
a ‘yes or no’ question, because it allows the conversation to come to
an abrupt end if they say ‘no’. If they say no, then I give them a
business card and ask them to remember me if they think of something
they need later. If they say yes, then it’s just a matter of finding
out what they want, and providing it.

Kathy Johnson
Feathered Gems Pet Jewelry

Hi, Terrie,

I just cannot encourage someone to buy my stuff. Noel, I feel your

Well, I think I’m making progress. I am learning to accept what
folks on this forum are saying-- I had a customer just yesterday who
clearly wanted to buy a pair of my earrings for her mother, but
needed me to tell her that she should go ahead-- three times. It
wasn’t easy, but I did it, and she was very happy when she finally
"pulled the trigger". (Mind you, this was a $78 investment.)

It is a lot easier to simply talk about the work, tell the story of
it-- that isn’t hard sell, and isn’t an exhibition of “pride”. Tell
them about the technique, or the materials, or the inspiration–
“That piece is called “Cross Country” because I came across the
scene while I was cross-country skiing. I always carry my
sketchbook, so I stood there on my skis and drew it, then came home
and made this piece”. This I can do.

I also had an experience this weekend (at One of a Kind in Chicago)
that is a cautionary tale. A woman came into my booth who looked
almost like a bag lady. Wrinkled, rumpled and unadorned. But I gave
her the same attention I try to give each person who comes by-- told
her the story behind things she looked at, including an aquamarine
ring (the ring in question can be seen in an article called “waxing
eloquent” in the March 2007 issue of Art Jewelry). To my surprise,
she said “Well, I think I have to have it”. I wanted to call in the
charge on my cell phone, because it was $1100 and I wasn’t sure she
really had it, but I couldn’t get through-- so she said, “Never
mind, I’ll pay cash”-- and she did!

Don’t judge a book by its cover.


Funny you tell that story, I always tell my students that in the
retail management classes that I teach at GIA and Strayer. Mine was
on the wholesale level and the lady owned a very lucrative antique
business. Everyone else ignored her at the show (except the ones
that knew her) and I of course took care of her.


It is a lot easier to simply talk about the work, tell the story
of it-- that isn't hard sell, and isn't an exhibition of "pride" 

just wanted to chime in on this- I used to ( and occasionally still
do) get an attack of " the shy’s", but I have always found that my
passion for the process of making jewellery can carry me. I love
this and this feeling shows through. After all it is so exciting to
be able to create anything you want to, not to mention all those
wonderful techniques we have, well who wouldn’t be excited? This is
not hard selling, just sharing a passion that ( luckily) makes
people want to share in the feeling, and understanding a bit about
what has gone into the piece helps too.

Yes, it is about selling yourself in a way, but when you are putting
so much of yourself into the work, selling the work is easy.

cheers, happy and prosperous time to you all, Christine in Sth Australia

Teresa, I 've seen your work and it is fabulous. You can go over and
answer any questions the interested people might have. Giving them
is not bragging, it is just being helpful. These people
like your work , so jump over there and help them. Be embaressed
later! (grin).

Tom Arnold

As salespeople, though, we should never forget that we are there
to sell our jewelry, and someone just walked in wanting to buy what
we sell. That's our job. They may be downright chummy, but they
didn't walk into the place because they heard we spun a good yarn..

I have to disagree… we used to have “regulars” that would come in
the store all the time, pretend to shop for jewelry and in reality
they just wanted to talk. It was sooooo frustrating. They never
really bought anything, a pair of manufactured hoops, a toe ring…
the least expensive items in the whole store. And, they’d debate
over the $12.00 toe ring for 30 minutes like they were buying a
$10,000 engagement ring. I know you should treat everyone the same,
but they would talk for as long as you’d let them.

We had a rep for being really friendly, and we were. But we got in
trouble because we had a hard time getting out of a conversation and
getting back to the task at hand without being rude.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get out of a long
conversation gracefully?

“It was nice talking to you, but I should really get back to work
before the boss sees me gabbing” didn’t even work! Sometimes we’d
call the store phone and act like it was an important call, to get
the sales person away from the energy vampire. But then they’d just
bounce to the next sales person with the pretense of buying
something which they eventually decided they needed to ponder

And, these are “regulars” we knew who there were as they were
walking through the door! “Oh no, it’s Susan, you have to take her
today!” we’d whisper to each other. Nightmare!

I don’t work there anymore, but am still friends with the owner and
the staff and would love to pass along some experiences that anyone
else has.


Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get out of a long
conversation gracefully? 

Don’t know if this would help but if the store didn’t sell anything
under $3-400, than at least when they bought something, it would be
worth your while to have them in there.

However there are always going to be a certain number of people like
this in a retail situation. This time of year it tends to get even
worse. I get a lot of people in who want to look at my display cases
and that’s it. Granted I have some amazing hand built cases, but
that’s not what I’m selling. If I can’t get them to look at the
jewels, then I hand the case maker’s card to them, tell them quickly
how good he was to work with, and start heading for my stairs to go
down to my workshop. Usually by the time I get halfway down the
stairs, they realize I’m going back to work and head out the door. A
little rude in some ways (although I am always extremely polite in my
conversation with them), but hey, I have to make the jewels AND sell
them, and if they can’t recognize that, then tough luck. We also
have some regular whackos who come in, but when I recognize them on
the cameras, I usually send my wife up because she tolerates no
fools. And frankly, if they have been in enough that you know they
are whackos there’s just no reason to spend any more time with them
than is absolutely necessary. ON THE E OTHER HAND, as I’ve said
before on the list, my goal is to become my customer’s friends.
That’s how I’m going to sell them something. And if it takes some
lengthy conversations about things that have nothing to do with
jewelry that is just part of selling as far as I’m concerned.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140