Profile Customers and Potential Customers

Today more than ever, the goal of a sales presentation isn’t simply to make a sale. The goal has to be to develop relationships with customers. I’m talking about the kind of relationship in which the customer wouldn’t even think about buying jewelry from anybody but you.

It has been written that as much as 70 percent of a jewelry store’s volume comes from 30 percent of its customer base. While those numbers may not be perfectly precise, I believe that the basic premise underlying them is true. What hasn’t been published is that the average store is losing roughly 30 percent of its customer base on an annual basis.

Where are those customers going? Perhaps they move out of the area, maybe they’ve had a change in economic conditions and can’t afford to buy jewelry anymore, or maybe they’re going to your competition. Perhaps they’ve reached an age at which they’re giving their jewelry away, or perhaps they have passed away. If a jewelry store today isn’t actively working to increase its customer base by at least 30 percent, then it’s probably losing sales as well as customers.

The way to start building a relationship with customers and potential customers is through capturing their name, address, phone, e-mail, and personal information. Most stores do a good job of capturing this information from the people who buy from them through their computer system. My question is: What about all the people who don’t buy? What are you doing to capture information and start the process of developing a relationship with the customer who didn’t buy anything yet?

Through effective use of a customer profile system, the telephone, and e-mail, you can start to develop a relationship with not only your existing customers but also your potential customers. I am finding that e-mail and text messaging are more accepted forms of communication with younger customers. The secret to a successful follow-up program lies in the salesperson’s ability to complete a customer profile card with permission for a follow-up contact. To just capture the information without getting the customer to ask you to follow up will have limited success.

Saying to a customer, “Would you like to be on our mailing list?” isn’t effective. A better approach is to say something like this: “To make sure you won’t be shopping at the last minute for your anniversary—as you had to do for her birthday—why don’t I call you a couple of weeks before the anniversary so we can set up an appointment to look at coordinating pieces.” The customer is more likely to offer the information and will appreciate the customer service. The customer will expect and accept your call or e-mail a couple of weeks before the next event.

The worst that could happen is that the customer rejects your offer. The best that can happen is a tremendous increase in sales and profits. Today we cannot afford to sit and wait for customers to come into stores. Salespeople have to persuade existing customers and potential customers to come back again and again. Profiling your customers, developing relationships, and getting customers to ask us to follow up with them are the keys to a successful profiling process.