Think Win-Win

In Stephen Covey's excellent book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, he discusses the concept of "Win-Win" arrangements in business. I recommend that you read the entire book, because it's such an excellent resource for artisan jewelry makers.

But here's a little on the subject of "Win-Win" agreements. Basically, there are two "positions" or philosophies that tend to dominate business life, and life in general.

The first is a "position of abundance." If you adopt this philosophy, then you believe that there is plenty of business out there for you to get, so you have the opportunity to choose carefully those with whom you'd like to enter into a business agreement.

The "position" or philosophy of "scarcity" is the exact opposite. People with this way of viewing the world believe that business is scarce, and they will do whatever they have to, to make each and every sale. There's not enough for everyone, they think, so they're going to get their share no matter what.

Adopting a position of abundance ... that there are plenty of customers out there for you ... helps you focus more on the things that you enjoy about jewelry making. The desire to come up with new designs. The excitement of drawing them up. The pride you take in making the piece. And the satisfaction of selling it for a price that makes you feel good.

In a Win-Win transaction, you and the buyer are both happy with the outcome. You get the price you deserve, and they feel that what they received was well worth what they paid.

When you adopt a position of abundance in your jewelry selling, you don't cut your prices just to make a sale. Or make a bad deal with a gallery just to get your work out there. You trust in the market and in your own skills. And you seek buyers ... and others with whom to do business ... who have a similar win-win philosophy.

I've had direct experience putting this to work: As marketing director of Lapidary Journal, I once had responsibility for negotiating with printing companies to print over 200 marketing and promotional pieces a year.

And before I read Covey's book, I negotiated hard to get the rock bottom price, no matter what. Frequently, the printer who got the job didn't always put their best effort into it, because they had low-balled the job to get it. If things didn't go right, they were reluctant to fix the problems on the print job (or re-do it) because they were making so little profit on it.

After reading "Think Win-Win" in The 7 Habits, I changed my negotiating strategy overnight. I started working to get a fair price, but I wanted to make sure the printers were making a decent profit. I visited their plants and learned about the economies of their business. And they got to know me and the pressures of deadlines in publishing. I created, within a short time, outstanding relationships with printers ... real win-win agreements that made them a lot of money, and got me the kind of service I had desired all along.

Thinking win-win can transform your handcrafted jewelry business because it focuses on building profitable relationships over the long term. And spreading abundance.

I hope you are able to create and benefit from those same kinds of relationships with your customers. Everyone deserves them!

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