One of the most common questions I get is how to handle prospective customers who balk at your prices.
The reality is that not everyone standing across from you or shopping at your website is a valid prospect.
The bargain hunter is the possibly the worst prospect for artisan, hand-crafted jewelry.
Why? Because how people decide what to buy in life depends greatly on their personal values.
For example, if someone values paying the lowest price possible -- and quality is not important to them -- they will look for the lowest priced item in the category in which the shopping.
Think of the person who wants to pay as little as possible for peanut butter. To them, it doesn't matter whether they buy Jif, Skippy or the store brand because they want to pay as little as possible; the taste of the peanut butter is secondary. They will accept lower quality in return for a lower price. As long as it is reasonably tasty, they are okay with it because their primary objective is to pay as little as possible for it.
That type of person, the bargain hunter, places a much higher value on price and quality.
Another type of bargain hunter values a low price, but they also care about quality. This type of buyer may be brand loyal (they are a Skippy buyer) but they are not loyal to a particular seller, so they will buy Skippy peanut butter wherever they can get the lowest price. They value the brand, but they will keep shopping to find the lowest price because they value that too.
TV and radio personal finance expert Clark Howard calls the first type "cheap" and the second type "frugal." He says cheap buyers will sacrifice quality for a lower price, and "frugal" buyers want the best quality they can get at the lowest price.
In the artisan, handcrafted jewelry world, neither of these types of bargain hunters make a good prospect.
Because artisan jewelry is handcrafted and therefore one-of-a-kind.
It appeals to people who care about quality, design, and individuality.
The cheap bargain hunter doesn't care what kind of jewelry she is buying as long as she gets the lowest price possible. People like that are better off buying jewelry at a big-box discounters like Wal-Mart.
They don't care if it's one-of-a-kind. They want to be able to tell their friends that they bought a pair of earrings for three dollars.
The frugal bargain hunter is a better prospect although not a perfect one. Handcrafted jewelry is not a mass manufactured good. It's not like they can shop different stores until they find the lowest priced piece of your jewelry that's available. It's not a commodity.
They may fall in love with a piece of yours but will reason that if they can find something similar somewhere else, they will buy it from the lower-priced vendor.
If you think about what typically happens when customers who truly value what is important about artisan jewelry -- that it is handcrafted, that it is unique, and that they can interact with the artist who made it -- you will recall that they almost never discuss price.
That's because the things that they value are worth quite a bit to them. Their value on the quality of your jewelry is much higher than the value they place on paying a low price for something.
In fact, I would suggest to you that the ideal customer for artisan jewelry associates price with quality. In other words, they believe that the more costly something is the better it is.
Of course, consumer studies show that assuming that something is better because it costs more can be a mistake. However, it is still human nature to associate the quality of something with its price.
Keep in mind, as well, that very few people truly know the value of the gemstones and metals that go into jewelry. Even experts cannot agree on whether or not a stone is "natural" or not.
The consumer is truly dependent on you, as the seller, to inform them about what you are selling. And your price is part of that information.
So, if the first objections that a prospective buyer raises have to do with price, you really want to probe around and find out what they value.
This is hard for many of you to do, because you can become defensive when someone questions your pricing. Your gut instinct tells you to start talking and defend why a piece is priced the way it is.
This almost never works out well.
Try this approach instead: Start asking questions. You can simply repeat the objection they raised:
They say, "This price is really to high."
You say, "The price is too high?" They will begin explaining to what they mean by that
You can also say, "Tell me more about what you mean by that."
Or, you can say, "What kind of jewelry do you usually buy?"
The idea is to ask enough questions to determine how valuable and important price is to the buyer.
Don't assume they simply mean your price is too high. They may not pay that amount for any item of jewelry.
In that case, you can direct them to the lowest priced items on your table, or suggest a jewelry maker who as a lower-priced line.
Beware of spending too much time trying to win over bargain hunters. Their desire to spend a pittance on jewelry will exceed the energy you have to explain to them why your jewelry is worth exactly what you are charging for it.
Go make something great!
Labels: bargain hunters, cheap, Clark Howard, frugal, selling artisan jewelry, selling handcrafted jewelry, selling handmade jewelry