I would say my biggest problem was price. I would work with a person
and very often I would lose the sale to several stores in town who
were/are well known for undercutting prices. We have a lot of custom
places in town because of the art programs at our University. So it
makes for a lot of very ruthless competitors.
I am so sorry I never saw your reply to my original posting.
I am going to respectfully agree and disagree with you. While it is true that you can’t control a prospective client from shopping around, it may be how you are dealing with your prospects that is allowing them to walk away.
Many times, very talented jewelers (and crafters and artisans in other fields) are less well trained in the process of closing a sale. The task of getting the sale is, in so many instances, NOT a function of your skill as a designer and jeweler, but your skill as a salesperson and consultant.
I know nothing about you, so please take these as nonpersonal comments, but I suspect that you spend less time honing your closing technique (and I don’t mean that in a Glengarry Glen Ross kinda way) than you should. There are some excellent resources available and if you send me your private email I will forward some of them to you.
That said, I am also the creator of the Maximum Profits Pricing System and have a lot of experience with pricing. It is possible that you are, in fact, “expensive” compared to other vendors in your area, but unless you demonstrate to your prospects why you’re worth the “extra” money for the “same” services/products, you will continue to lose sales.
This is an area of great importance to me and along with a business partner, we are creating a new website to address concerns like this head-on.
A final observation (from your website and your Etsy page) is that since you view jewelry-making as mostly a hobby and most of the items you offer for sale online seem targeted at the SCA community, it may be that you’re sending a mixed message to prospects. Also, it might serve you better to offer more examples of your work on your website with a clearer focus on exactly what you want to specialize in as a jeweler.
I hope some of this helps and if you’d like the other information, please send me your email address.
Thanks for the reply. I can respect your opinion and agree with much of what you say. And while I am not a natural salesperson, I do quite well. I firmly believe in reading and taking seminars for sales on a regular basis.
Or did when I was doing mostly modern jewelry for a living. It is now more of a hobby yes.
But here in Madison, It is very cutthroat. And in a “Glengarry Glen Ross” kinda way for sure. I know of at least 4 jewelers in Madison who went to jail in the last 20ish years for various reasons. That is just the market here.
Honest jewelers will always be a step behind those who are willing to lie to a client just to make a commission and sale. I have left a couple of places because the pressure was to lie to the client.
So it is frustrating but in the end, I can sleep at night knowing that I was completely honest with my clients.
And I know the website of mine needs work. It has been a few months now since I updated it and I need to find time this month to get to it.
Thanks for the long well thought out reply to my comment.
I understand your frustration with the industry. Sadly, especially in today’s “race to the bottom”, lots of quality gets tossed aside in the name of price and speed.
I realize that competition, particularly competition of questionable character and motive, will easily kill a business like yours. Unlike a consumables business, where after trying a product of lesser value you might go back to the higher value product (a restaurant or toilet paper, for example), with many jewelry purchases, it’s a one-time deal and if you lose it, it’s lost forever. I get it.
As long as you derive a personal value from the work (and your base costs are covered), you STILL come out ahead. It’s called Utility Theory (Utility refers to the satisfaction that each choice provides to the decision maker.)
However, as you discovered when doing this for a living, Utility don’t necessarily pay the bills.
That aside, I wish you the best. If I can help with issues like this in the future, please let me know.