I'm a firm believer that everything should be tagged (with a real
price, not something you are going to discount all the time), but I
think your thoughts on opening up a dialog are on the mark. Unless a
customer is making me nervous (i.e. I feel like I'm going to be
robbed) I always want to pull a piece out, let them handle it, see
how it's made, etc. My stuff is more expensive than most, but if the
customer can't see why, the price is meaningless. Actually, as I said
in a different post, pricing is not really an issue. If you are
presenting a customer with value, they will buy the product, whether
the value be in the workmanship, the quality of the materials, or any
other perceived value. If the way they are going to find out about
and see the value in your product is to be engaged in a conversation
with you while they handle the piece, then that's the way you should
go. Besides by posting your prices ranges somewhere, you are
predirecting people into one place or another.
Most studies done show that people will spend more money than they
tell you they are willing to spend if they are simply helped along.
Actually most people will tell you purposely they want to spend less
than they are planning to. It's up to you, as the salesperson (or in
your guise as a salesperson when you're not making the stuff), to
get them up to the price point they would be happy to spend. How
better to do this than to start with no preconceived notion of the
budget? I never ask how much a customer is looking to spend until it
becomes apparent that they are going to buy something from me and
we're just simply getting down to brass tacks on designs and
If they want to offer the to me, I'll listen
to it, but just because they say they want to spend under $1000, I
don't stop showing them pieces that are more than that (I may not
show them the $5000 pieces anymore, but I'll still go up to
$1500-2000), because if something moves them enough, they will often
pony up the extra money.
And incidentally, just because a person can't afford a $10,000 piece
doesn't mean they don't want to hold it and appreciate it for what
it is. One of my favorite things to do when people bring their
children (well girls, mostly, as they usually are more into it) into
my shop is to take out the most expensive ring in the case and have
the kids try it on. It's an experience they never forget. And someday
they will be my next round of customers!
Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140