Boost Your Beaded Jewelry Sales Part 3: Offer Customers a Chance to ''Finish'' Their Piece
by Dr. David A. Weiman
Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

''How do I sell more of my handcrafted bead jewelry?'' is a frequently asked question online at Fire Mountain Gems and Beads, Ask the Experts. David Weiman, Ask the Experts jewelry marketing and sales contributor, has created a 5-part series to help address this popular topic. Here is Part 3 on offering customers a chance to ''finish'' their piece.

Part 3: Offering Customers a Chance to ''Finish'' Their Piece

Every time a customer of yours looks at a piece of jewelry she bought from you, holds it and puts it on, she is reminded of all the things she likes about it. She admires the quality of the beads, the colors, the materials you used and the craftsmanship. That's not all, though: she is reminded of you, as well. And your name and story are part of the story she tells others who admire the jewelry she is wearing. In fact, that ''story telling'' is one of the primary ways happy customers refer their friends and acquaintances to you.

That's why anything you can do to strengthen your connection with customers is important. So, imagine how much stronger that connection will be when they get a chance to participate in some way with the creation of the piece they're buying from you!

There are two important and related reasons for allowing the customer to ''help.'' One, is that engaging them in the creative process creates a strong attachment to that piece because they feel they contributed to it. Second, that attachment will translate into excitement when she tells others about her experience helping make it. That enthusiasm is contagious and will generate interest and excitement about buying from you among those she tells.

There are several ways you can engage the customer in creating or finishing a piece. One is to have them choose a basic design or style and then let them select the color beads they'd like included in it. You would then create the custom piece while they wait. Another way is to leave a piece nearly finished except for one or two beads and allow them to pick from an assortment of ''special'' beads to complete it. Related to that idea would be to make a matching companion piece (a pair of earrings to go with a purchased bracelet, for example) that uses the special beads they chose.

This idea works best in face-to-face selling at booths. An additional benefit of offering this service is that people will often stop to watch someone make something. Food stores in malls use this technique, making fudge, lemonade, sushi and caramel popcorn in the window or at the counter because many people will stop and watch!

You can also use this as a special feature of bead jewelry home parties. In marketing materials for the home party, inform guests about their opportunity to complete a piece with beads they choose.

If you sell online, adapt the concept by presenting a line of jewelry you offer to customize with an assortment of special beads buyers can choose.

These should stimulate your own ideas for creating stronger, more memorable connections with customers. As a final thought, remember: connection is a two-way street! Watch what your customers choose, ask them about what they like and why, and keep notes about each customer's preferences. This will help you market more effectively and personally in the future!

Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' online Ask the Experts brings you design tips and information from jewelry-industry professionals. You'll find new question and answers on jewelry-making posted daily, so be sure to check back often for valuable information.

Additional Resources:

Dr. David Weiman is a respected expert in the field of marketing and selling handcrafted jewelry and a well-read contributor to Fire Mountain Gems and Beads "Ask the Experts". He is the author of Introduction to Marketing and Selling Jewelry, The Jewelry Selling Answer Book and The 5 Keys to Selling Handcrafted Jewelry (all available through Fire Mountain Gems and Beads). A free newsletter on selling handmade jewelry is available at his website: www.MarketingJewelry.com


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