We did some custom work for this very kind jewelry store owner. He was super pleasant and could talk anyone’s ear off. He was the salesman who responded to every customer’s question with, “No problem” or “Sure, I can do that.” Nothing seemed impossible to him, but he wasn’t the person doing any of the work.
Our work started with orders that had been on hold in the store for the last several months. The owner had taken on the jobs with the intent to find someone to do the work. Lots of stores have these types of jobs. They are those really difficult jobs that your repair guy won’t touch and you are just hoping to find someone who can actually do them. We call it the holding pit of doom where it’s doomed to never get finished until someone can be found who can do whatever it is that needs to be done.
In this instance, that someone was me. That’s when we encountered a problem with the orders. Our store owner was relying almost entirely on his memory for each job and all the specific details of what needed to be done. I’m sure this was fine for some jobs, but things were not as clear or certain for some of the older jobs.
We requested the store owner reconnect with clients to clarify details but he was unwilling to bother them with questions until we had something done to give them. For some of the jobs, we were just given directions, “just do it this way,” so we did.
Sometimes it was right and sometimes it was wrong. This caused stress and tension between the customer, the store, and us. There was no winning in this situation.
Having almost no notes on the jobs was certainly a huge problem. It wasn’t until a little later that we realized the problem was much larger than a lack of written notes, or a sketchy memory. Worse than all that was the fact the owner who’s promising he can do anything for the customer in his store, is not even really listening to what the customer wants him to do!
One frustrated customer had been trying for months to get a custom ring designed before it came to us to do for the store owner. We followed the owner’s instructions, provided a CAD render, and continued to follow the owner’s instructions for revision after revision after revision before we suggested that we should just speak directly with the customer to clarify everything before we did any more revisions.
The store owner agreed and scheduled a consultation for us to meet the customer at the store. The meeting went very well and within the next few days, we were able to produce a render, completely different than the previous ones, that the customer loved. A couple of weeks later the customer had a beautiful custom ring they had been waiting months to get.
In the end, we saved the sale, created a happy customer, and the store owner made around $4000 just by connecting us directly to the customer.
When selling custom jobs, it is essential to really listen to the client and take great notes. Taking notes, saving pictures, and being willing to reach out to the customer later for clarifications or approvals are all very necessary parts of the process.
When we meet directly with the customers for a store, we gather all the information, do all follow-ups with the customer, and provide all those notes about the job to the store while we are working on the job.
Sometimes, the best thing you can do to make the sale is to not be afraid to step back and eliminate the middleman. Every extra person who gets involved in the daisy chain line of information getting passed along to the design team adds to the chance of failure, mistakes, misinformation, and a lost sale. But every customer feels special with the personal one-on-one attention from the design team making their precious one-of-a-kind creation.
Selling custom jobs doesn’t happen as quickly or easily as over-the-counter sales. Clear communication between the customer, sales staff, store owner, and design team is essential. You must really listen to the customer and take great notes, save pictures, and be willing to reach out to the customer later, or simply not be afraid to step back and let the design team directly deal with the customer.