Increase Your Customer Base

It has been said that as much as 70–80 per-cent of a retail store’s sales volume comes from 20–30 percent of its customer base. What you don’t often hear is that you’re probably losing 25–30 percent of your customer base annually. Customers die, move, lose jobs, switch to the competition, and reach an age at which they don’t buy jewelry.

Just to stay even you must increase your customer base 25–30 percent. That’s not easy, especially now. You must look at every customer and potential customer as an opportunity, not only to make a sale but also, more importantly, to make a friend. Everybody wants their “buddy” in the business. People want to do business with their friends. If someone is in your store, then she doesn’t have a “buddy” in the jewelry business, otherwise she’d be shopping there. As I’ve said before, when a customer comes into a jewelry store, he isn’t looking for jewelry; he’s looking for a place and a person from whom to buy jewelry.

Too often salespeople believe that the goal when a customer walks in is to make a sale. Sure, I want to make a sale, too. I know, however, that if I make a friend, the likelihood of making a sale now and in the future increases dramatically. The question is: How do you make friends with your customers?

First, focus on the emotional reason the customer is buying. Ninety-nine percent of jewelry store purchases are made to satisfy some emotional need. Share in the event or occasion that prompted the shopping trip. Develop a conversation about it, and genuinely care about it. You’re not just selling jewelry; you’re helping people celebrate special moments. Make a big deal out of the graduation, anniversary, birthday, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, holiday, birth of a child, sweet 16, bar mitzvah, or even “just because.” They’re all special to your customer, and they want you to share in the excitement.

Second, capture the customer’s, name, address, phone number, e-mail address, and, most important, permission for follow-up. Get the customer to ask you to call him for his next special occasion. When you call, relate something personal. Only then will the customer think of you as his friend in the business. In retail jewelry, we can no longer be satisfied with salespeople who make sales. We need salespeople making friends and lifelong customers.