Retailers — did you know you can use VDB's marketplace to qualify sales?
How many times have you spent time showing a client your store, trying on jewelry, sharing your knowledge, only to have them say, “Thanks! I’ll think about it and maybe come back later.” As a sales person, you already know that you’re going to make a lot more pitches than sales. But reducing the number of walk-aways is an excellent goal!
Sales trainers in every field teach that “qualifying prospects” is one of the keys to reducing wasted time and increasing your close rate. Qualifying is the process of finding out if a prospect is likely to be converted into a customer. Today we’re sharing some tips for better qualifying, along with some ways you can use the VDB app to assist you.
Sales qualification starts before a prospect ever walks in your door! No business has – or needs – “all” the customers. Even if you’ve never given it much thought, you probably have a pretty clear buyer type already. Look through your customer database and identify trends, common traits, geographies, interests, or other details that suggest what type of buyer your store most appeals to.
Not every person who buys from you will fit your buyer profile, but if you know your profile, it will be easier to assess just how close to each prospect comes to your “ideal” customer.
Many years ago, IBM corporation developed a qualification process called BANT: Budget, Authority, Need, and Timing. Yes, this method appears to be wearing a leisure suit while walking around on shag carpeting, but trust us – the method still works beautifully. How does it work? Well, instead of jumping right into showing the customer what you have to sell, ask some important questions. Believe it or not, you DON’T want to start with “what are you looking for?” Instead, ask if they’re buying for a special occasion, when the occasion is, if they’re buying it for themselves for someone else? If for someone else, will it be a surprise?
On the issue of budget, there are two schools of thought. Some sales trainers say NEVER ask for the budget this early in the process, others say ALWAYS do so. The truth is, both approaches have pros and cons – so see what works best for you.
Buyers have needs, wants, and priorities. Focusing on priorities can really give you insight into your prospect. Asking them, “What are your priorities for this purchase?” can get your customer thinking differently than if you asked “what are you looking for,” or “how much do you want to spend?”
Asking the prospect about the earrings or bracelet their wearing, or their favorite piece of jewelry, or the best jewelry they ever received – or gave! – as a gift, are excellent questions that will give you insight into the person’s relationship with jewelry. This also gives you an opportunity to bond without selling. Tell them about (or better yet, show them) your favorite piece of jewelry, and a quick story (2 sentences!!) behind it.
Once you get a sense of who this person is and why they are looking for jewelry, it’s time to start showing them some options. If you’re showing them live inventory in the store, it’s easy to get a strong idea of what they like and don’t like, and what they’re interested in spending.
But what if you don’t have what they’re looking for? You’ve shown them all your loose diamonds, but none of them are quite right. Or the prospect is looking for color, and you just don’t have what they’re imagining in your safe. Like any excellent jewelry professional, you say, “Nothing to worry about! I can get anything you want to look at within a day or two.”
And now is the time to pull out your VDB app and reel them in. You can search and filter for their criteria, and show them pictures of their options – many of them with 360° views. Using the VDB app – instead of a printed catalog or spreadsheet – will help the customer visualize their options. This is important. For those of us who have been in the jewelry industry a long time, we can picture every possible description of a diamond, colored gemstone, or a certain designer’s look. But our customers can’t. They need pictures.
Without pictures, they’re just agreeing to look at a nebulous idea. With the VDB app, they can say, “yes, I like that,” or “no, I was thinking something less bubblegum pink and more coral pink.” You can also discuss prices (don’t forget – you can set a custom markup price in the app and only show them markups you’re comfortable with) – before making the arrangements to bring samples in on memo.
The VDB team members all have experience selling diamonds, gemstones, and jewelry – at the dealer level and also at retail. So these sales tips come from our shared sales experiences. But you probably have some great tips that we could learn from too. If you do, please share! We’d love to learn more about how to do a better job qualifying customers.