Columnists

6 Customer Myths That Might Be Holding Salespeople Back

ColumnistsApr 25, 2023

6 Customer Myths That Might Be Holding Salespeople Back

Peter Smith shares some misconceptions about consumers as well as his belief that product information should be treated like a condiment.

National Jeweler columnist Peter Smith
Peter Smith is an industry consultant, speaker, sales trainer, and author. He can be reached via email at TheRetailSmiths@gmail.com.
Competent salespeople are the lifeblood of any business, and competency means they consistently drive profitable sales for the business.

In order to do so, they need to understand what customers want when they come into a jewelry store and what they don’t want.

Here are six myths about jewelry customers that might be holding some salespeople back from performing at their peak.

1. Customers often come into stores just to browse.
When customers enter your store, they are not there to kick tires. They are signaling they have an unfulfilled need that should be satisfied.

I’m not a fan of the oft-used expression, “They have a problem that needs to be solved,” but there’s definitely a need.

That need may be conscious and easily articulated. It may be conscious, but not so easily communicated.

It might even be unconscious, meaning the customer has a low awareness of what their real motivation is.

But make no mistake, there is a need, and it should be uncovered by a curious sales professional asking relevant and open-ended questions in an empathic and caring manner.

2. Customers will let you know when they are ready to buy.
Nobody wants to be “sold” but customers want to be inspired to make a purchase, and it is a fundamental obligation for a salesperson to trigger that impulse.

Believing the customer always will spell it out for you is naïve.

Top salespeople know a satisfied customer is one who is leaving the store with a new piece of jewelry in hand and a skip in their step. 

3. Customers don’t want to be pestered by salespeople.
On the contrary, your customer wants to have a relationship with you. 

This is particularly true in a luxury retail environment, where there can be a good deal of anxiety and stress for customers when considering purchases. 

Investing in customer outreach efforts is a gift to customers and makes it a whole lot easier for them to think about your business when it comes time to mark important moments in their lives. 

“Product information in a luxury sales environment is like a condiment. It should be applied sparingly, lest it spoil the meal.” — Peter Smith 

4. Customers crave your product expertise.
Customers mentally will check out when you make the interaction about you. Talking too much about everything you know is the quickest route to creating the brick-and-mortar equivalent of cart abandonment. 

Product information in a luxury sales environment is like a condiment. It should be applied sparingly, lest it spoil the meal. 

Your role is to engage the customer, not educate them.  

 Related stories will be right here … 

5. Customers readily will share their budget.
Believing a customer will share their budget with you misses the point on two important levels.

First, it suggests they actually know what their budget is or should be, an assumption I would not recommend a salesperson make.

The customer may or may not know what their budget is at all, believing, as they should, that the salesperson is there to help inspire and influence their decision on what to spend.

The second consideration is that even when your customer does share their budget with you, it should never be taken as gospel. It is, more often than not, merely a reference point, not an end game.

If the customer volunteers their budget, know that you can work within a framework that ranges from half to double that number. Presenting those two extremes (high and low), plus an option in between, can be an effective strategy.

6. Customers always want the best price.
Your customer wants good value, not the best price. 

More than that, they want to feel good about themselves when they walk out the door, and that means the salesperson helped them make the best selection, not the cheapest option.

Long after they have forgotten the price, your customer will remember how they felt about the choice they made. 

Happy selling!

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