Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

The Customers Budget


#1

Hello All

Throughout my career I’ve found that asking my customers what their
budget is for a custom designed piece of jewelry as soon as it’s
appropriate has saved much time and frustration. Timing for this
question can be a little tricky, but once you’ve mastered it I
assure you that it’s worth the effort. I’ve never had anyone feel
insulted or intruded upon by asking, and it has helped guide me
through my custom jobs so that I can always make a decent profit. It
makes it much easier to give a quote, estimate any outside service
costs, and plan for my own monthly income.

Here is my short list:

Do you have a price range in mind for this project ?

What is your budget for this piece of jewelry ?

Have you thought about how much you are able/willing to spend
on this piece of jewelry ?

And so on . . . . Instead of spending an hour + discussing design
ideas, stone sizes, metal types and doing sketch after sketch I found
that askin this question as soon as there’s an opening in the
conversation (a gut instinct) leads me as well as my customer in the
right direction for decision making around the piece of jewelry. I
wouldn’t dare draw a size 9 1/2 ring with a 10mm square blue sapphire
set in 18Karat Yellow gold unless I was sure of their budget ! Going
from large to smaller as a general rule is mostly a dissappointing
experience for people when it comes to jewelry. It’s also important
to try to do the sketches to scale as often as possible.

Anyone with any other suggestions or thoughts would be welcome !
Thank you all for your valuable input and ideas.

Margie Mersky ~ Wax Models & Miniature Sculptures

www.mmwaxmodels.com
Margie Mersky Custom Designs, INC
Studio Line 952-920-1355


#2

Dear Margie,

I heartily agree with everything that you have said. It really does
save time and frustration to conduct a thorough interview with the
customer which attempts to reveal their budget. However, depending
on your clientele, there are scenarios wherein the customer has no
budget and is prepared to spend whatever it takes to realize their
fantasy. Credit cards make this scenario work nicely. What I am
suggesting is that you might make a msitake by literally confining
the customers goals within a tight budget constraint. In a case
where the end result is more important than the cost, you have to be
prepared to do a little dreaming of your own. I can visualize making
a statement something like this :" I know that we all like to save
money, but have you thought about how delighted ( Mary Jane ) would
be if she were to get the thing that she has always dreamed about
?..and so on… I am not suggesting that you should be
predatory or that you should gouge…I AM suggesting that you
should not make restrictive assumptions about what the customer
REALLY wants. Very often they are actually willing to spend a lot
more than they say might. It is all about missed
opportunities…Ron

Mills, Mills Gem Co. Los Osos,Ca.

P.S. You never want to pass up that glorious comment; " I don’t care
what it costs…I want it done right ! "


#3
 .....I AM suggesting that you should not make restrictive
assumptions about what the customer REALLY wants. 

Ron’s comment is right to the point here. There have been surveys
done in which it has been shown that most people will state, when
asked in a retail setting, they want to spend one figure when in
reality they would spend a significantly higher figure to get
something they actually want. Plus you can never tell. If you show
someone a ruby within their “budget” and then show them one that is
quite a bit more beautiful (and more expensive) they often are so
taken aback at how much prettier the better stone is that they buy
it. Clarifying what a customer wants to spend should play a small
role in any sales presentation but it should be the last thing that
comes up not the first. It’s far more important to spend time
finding out who your customer is and explaining who you are then
talking about the money. Perhaps with a repeat customer who you have
known for awhile it might be an ok approach to take, but just
because a new customer says they want to spend “X” doesn’t in fact
mean that’s what they want to spend.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140
617-234-4392
www.spirerjewelers.com


#4
   Do you have a price range in mind for this project ? What is
your budget for this piece of jewelry ? Have you thought about how
much you are able/willing to spend on this piece of jewelry ? 

Margie,

I do the same thing. I tell people that they either shop at the
Mercedes dealer or the Ford dealer depending on their budget when
they shop for a car and I need to know what their budget is
realistically so I can help themI also tell them when shopping for a
diamond, that a plain gold engagement ring is about $125, and I use
the analogy that when you are getting a sandwich at a deli, you know
you are getting two pieces of bread, the price of the sandwich
depends on how much meat they use. So I ask them if the ring is
$125, what do they want to spend on the diamond. I tell them it helps
me help them.

They might want a more expensive ring, but this gets the ball rolling
in a direction.

I also try to find out their fantasy, and their budget, and work on
educating them as to the value of the stone, the labor, the gold,
and help them understand what they can get for their money. Once they
know the parameters, they can scale down because they understand if
they go somewhere else, they go down in quality.

Richard Hart

I tell them I know they work hard for their money and I want to help
them get the most for their money. This puts you on their side.


#5

We have had it work the other way, too. Our clientele in Ohio is the
diametric opposite of Cambridge Mass… If we show a nicer piece that
is over their stated budget, oftentimes they not only won’t buy the
better piece, they now don’t want the piece that falls within their
budget because it “doesn’t look as nice”.

Some days you just can’t win.
Lee Cornelius


#6

I, too, find it beneficial to try to narrow down a price range for a
customer and usually try to arrive at a ballpark $ figure about
halfway through the conversation. I find the best way to approach
this is to start with lower end materials/products and gradually
present more costly materials/options until the client begins to
squirm. Ratchet the options up one more notch to see if they bite,
then start hammering things out in their appropriate price range.

In days past, I used to always start with the BIG $ presentations.
Then gradually backing down in price, but still going hell-bent for
the BIG $ every time. Unfortunately, I found that many customers
would decide that they, 'couldn’t afford what they really wanted.'
The client would then decide to wait a while until they ‘saved up a
bit more money,’ so that they could get, 'exactly what they wanted.'
Of course these be-backs never did.

I came to realize that my customers hated to settle for second best.
If, however, we started talking at the low $ (instead of the BIG $
stuff), by the time we reached the top of their price range and
settled the deal, each client was always buying the “BEST!” (that
they could afford). And my close rate rose appreciably! I might
have been leaving a bit of $ “laying on the table” from time to
time, but with the much higher close ratio, my overall sales $
increased considerably.

Just my humble opinion, and worth exactly what you paid for it…

Steve (who would much prefer to repair jewelry) Stempinski

Steve’s Place
Jewelry Repair
While-U-Watch


#7
 If we show a nicer piece that is over their stated budget,
oftentimes they not only won't buy the better piece, they now don't
want the piece that falls within their budget because it "doesn't
look as nice". 

I confess to this happening to me too very occasionally, although it
is usually when someone comes to us because they met my wife
somewhere and admired her jewelry. When they get in the shop and I
have to explain to them that yes, you can have something as wildly
beautiful and imaginative as what I make my wife, but it’s going to
cost you $10,000 they do tend to freak out and then have a hard time
looking at the other stuff. However, as I said in the last post
there have been studies done that show that people, when asked a
direct question of how much they want to spend, respond with a lower
figure then they would actually be willing to spend. If you don’t
at least try to show them something better you’ll never know if they
would have spent more. Can it occasionally cost you a sale? Sure.
But in the long run I think you will make so many more larger sales
that it more than makes up for the occasional lost one. Please note
I am not a high pressure sales type either. We are very low key in
our shop and we don’t push anyone to spend more than they want. But
to not show them the options they have does a disservice both to
them and to your own pocketbook. Think about it. How many times
have you wanted something really badly and you went into the store
and it was more than you thought you’d have to spend? If you
really, really wanted it didn’t you spend the money anyway? Price
only becomes a limiting factor if you, as a salesperson, allow it to
be.

And frankly, when it comes to a handmade, unique product like many
Orchidians (Orchidites?) produce, it isn’t the actual metal and
gemstone content it’s the artistry behind the piece that determines
what the customer will spend. I happily tell people all the time
where they can go to get jewelry if price is their only concern
because it isn’t even worth my time to try to sell them what I make.
And those very same people often come back to me later for custom
work that they can’t get anywhere else because they remember that I
was honest and straightforward with them about their needs.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140
617-234-4392
www.spirerjewelers.com


#8
 as I said in the last post there have been studies done that show
that people, when asked a direct question of how much they want to
spend, respond with a lower figure then they would actually be
willing to spend. 

I saw a Jewelry study (couple of years ago) that followed couples
buying engagement ring. “Typical” prices:

A. What the man said he would spend: $1850
B. What the woman thought he’d spend: $1600
C. What they ACTUALLY spent: $1350

When asked why they spent so much less than what they had both
planned on, the woman responded:

I didn't want to look like a gold digger with his money.

On many occasions when showing 2 sizes of diamonds, or 2 qualities
and the woman would say “Let’s just take the less expensive one” I’d
relate the study and let her know that it was OK to get the
better/bigger one; that he wanted you to have it; that with kids
later you may not get what you’ll want; he loves you and wants you to
have it.

That usually erased the problems she had getting what she wanted.

David Geller
JewelerProfit, Inc.
510 Sutters Point
Atlanta, GA. 30328
(404) 255-9565 Voice
(404) 252-9835 Fax
david@JewelerProfit.com