How to Become an
Effective Salesperson

Learn how to become an effective salesperson.
You may have a very beautiful, well-made product, but if you
fail to make any successful sales, your business will not succeed.

Jewelry Designers Are Salespeople Too!

Become an effective salesperson. One of the many hat you will wear in operating a home based jewelry business is that of a salesperson. Designing and producing your jewelry is only part of the operation. To make any money, you must successfully sell them.

In order to become successful in selling your work you must know who your customers are and how to treat them, you must know how to become an effective salesperson, and you must understand the steps involved in the selling process.


Anyone who buys something from someone else is a customer. For jewelry designers there are basically two types of customers: the retail customer, who is the ultimate consumer or owner; and the wholesale customer, the store buyer or gallery that buys in order to resell to the ultimate consumer.

Most jewelry designers sell to both types of customers. While the retail customer may bring a high profit per unit, the wholesale customer orders more merchandise and thereby can increase the jewelry designer's total profit. A mix of the two approaches is the most common, however. Even designers who do the bulk of their selling on a wholesale basis to retail stores attend a number of crafts shows and fairs where they sell at retail prices to the ultimate consumer.

The prices and discounts vary according to the nature of any sale. Wholesale customers usually buy at 50 percent off the retail price and consignment sales are usually paid for after the work has been sold at between 55 and 65 percent off the retail price.

The Importance of Service

New customers are costly to obtain. Marketing studies have revealed that it costs the average company six times as much to get an order from a new customer as it does to get the same order from an existing customer. And, since your existing customers are your most profitable source of new orders, it pays to go out of your way to keep them happy — with good service, special attention to order inquiries, special money-saving offers, and so on.

The true objective of every business enterprise is not to make sales, but to create customers. In fact, many enterprises lose money on their first sale or even on second and third sales to a given customer, because it has cost them so much money to gain that customer. The only way they can turn a profit on that customer and, therefore, in their business overall, is to keep that customer coming back for more and recommending them to other customers.

Recognizing that it costs a great deal of money to create a customer, is it not self-protection to do whatever is necessary to keep that customer? To provide good products, good service, courtesy, guarantees, and prompt adjustment of complaints? (And is that not marketing, since it is all aimed at making sales, which is the final act of marketing?)

Mardi Foster-Walker, in her book Start and Run a Profitable Gift Basket Business, explains the importance of service: How you treat your customers and the quality of service you provide is what will make them come back to you again, and it is also what brings you new customers by referral.

Building a strong, satisfied customer base is the key to the success of your new venture. Repeat business and word-of-mouth advertising is essential to the profitability of your home based jewelry business.

Providing an excellent product at a reasonable price is not enough to move ahead of your competition. You must also provide excellent service and go that extra mile to make sure your customers are satisfied. Employ the following tips:

  1. Remember that the customer is always right. Never argue with a customer.
  2. If you tell a customer that you will do something in a certain time frame, do it.
  3. If the customer asks you a question that you cannot answer, tell the truth and offer to find the information quickly.
  4. If you lose an order to another company, do not complain or ask the customer who they ordered from and why. Have a positive attitude and thank the customer for his or her time and consideration. Say that you look forward to doing business with him or her some time in the future.
  5. If a customer places an order with a competitor, do not offer to undercut the competition's price; that makes you look unprofessional and isn't worth it to your profit margin.
  6. If there is a problem with an order, rectify the problem quickly and without argument.
  7. Be friendly, polite, professional, and positive. It isn't that difficult because the jewelry business is a happy business. It is your job to make the customer happy.

Handling Problem People

Most of the customers you will meet at shows will be kind and considerate so don't be upset if you encounter one with poor manners. If two people are looking at your work, for instance, one might very loudly say something insulting about it to the other. Such incidents are rare, but be prepared for them. As an effective salesperson you must ignore such people and don't argue with them. Don't let such comments worry you. Although this person did not like your work, many others have liked it and bought it.

While most of the customers who come by to look at your work will be honest, you may be troubled by a shoplifter. If so, you may not find this out until the end of the day when you have added up your sales and counted your remaining inventory.

If you do suspect someone of intending to steal from your table, watch him or her very carefully until he or she leaves the table. Even if you think he or she might have your item in a pocket, do not accuse or touch the person. If you are absolutely certain that he or she has stolen something from your booth, go to the show director or security guard. Be sure to have someone in charge of your display when you leave it.

Another way a customer can cheat you is by claiming that you did not give the correct change. The customer might give you a 10 dollar bill. You put it away and give him or her change. He or she counts the change and then claims you owe ten dollars because you were given a 20 dollar bill. If you have not put the bill in a special place you may not remember what the person did give you and therefore might give the money the customer claims you owe.

The best way to avoid being cheated in this way is to decide on a procedure for taking money and always follow it. When the customer hands you the bill, say out loud what you have been give and how much the customer owes you, for example, "That will be $8.50 out of $10.00." Also have a specific place to put the bill you are give, temporarily right beside the cash box perhaps. Once the customer accepts the change and walks away, then pick up the bill and put it away in the cash box.

Become An Effective Salesperson

Craftspeople get into the jewelry business because they enjoy creating and designing beautiful things. What many new jewelry entrepreneurs don't realize is that they must also be an effective salesperson as well. You may have a very beautiful, well-made product, but if you fail to make any successful sales, your business will not succeed.

Perhaps you hold negative images of salespeople. You may think they are sly fast talking characters determined to make a sale at any cost and willing to bend the truth to do it. You may feel that to become an effective salesperson you must be able to talk a customer into buying something that they really don't want.

Some salespeople do act unprofessionally and some have questionable ethics, just as there are unethical doctors, lawyers, and craftspeople. But that is a defect in the individual, not the process. Honest, professional salespeople have a strong sense of ethics and a genuine desire to provide quality goods and services.

Selling is nothing more than explaining the benefits of a product to a potential customer so that the customer can make a buying decision. While the seller obviously benefits from making a sale, the buyer also benefits through a better understanding of what he or she is buying.

You do not have to become someone else to communicate with a prospective client or turn yourself inside out and act in a way that goes against your basic nature. In fact, that's probably the worst thing that you could do!

You will have a better chance of being respected as an effective salesperson and being remembered if you just be yourself when you talk to a customer. If your intent to provide quality and service is honorable, you treat prospective customers with courtesy and consideration, have a thorough knowledge of what your product is, and know how to smile, then the selling process will be easy and effective.

Edna Sheedy, in her book, Start and Run a Profitable Home-Based Business, says that you need to develop a sales attitude. She remarks that "The ability to sell begins with a strong belief in what you are selling." and suggests that you ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Am I proud of the product or service I offer the customer?
  2. Will I do the best job possible?
  3. Will I always deal honestly with my customer?
  4. Am I entitled to a fair profit for my efforts?
  5. Does my product or service give good value to the customer?
  6. Am I selling quality?
  7. Will I stand behind what I sell?
  8. Do I believe the customer has a right to good service?

If you answered yes to the above questions, there is no reason for you not to be positive and confident as you begin the selling and marketing process for your home based jewelry business. As an effective salesperson, when you believe in what you are doing and respect the customer's right to a fair exchange, their money for your goods, the selling process is made honorable and greatly simplified.

Self confidence, shyness and fear of rejection are major roadblocks that many jewelry designers find difficult to overcome. If you are not by nature an extrovert, communicating to customers may be awkward in the beginning.

It is not necessary to be aggressive; in fact being too pushy turns a lot of customers off. But an effective salesperson approach requires that the seller display some real interest in the customer. Do not ignore your customers by sitting in the back of a booth reading or pretending that they are not there. You must at least give the customer the impression that you are interested in selling something.

To help overcome any shyness, have a goal in mind or an objective you want to achieve every time you approach a prospective customer. Think not about yourself, but about your business , your products, and your customer's needs, and the selling process will be much easier.

Rejection is another problem many aspiring crafts entrepreneurs fear and take too personally. If a customer doesn't their like work sufficiently to buy it, the jewelry designer takes it to heart feels that their product is not good enough to sell or that the customer has rejected them personally.

There are probably a hundred reasons why a customer won't buy, and unless you are rude or insulting, none of them will probably relate to you personally. When a sale is not successfully completed, perhaps it's because the customer simply doesn't need or want what you are selling, or doesn't have the cash. Not because your are not an effective salesperson.

Edna Sheedy, in her book Start and Run a Profitable Home-Based Business, says "The only way to beat fear of rejection is to accept right off that the customer has the right not to buy and that many times he or she will say those two terrible words: No Thanks." She suggests that, "If you accept rejection as a natural part of the selling process, it loses it's ability to hold you back. Rejection is a fact. You will experience it. Not everyone will buy your product or service. On occasion they may even be less that courteous. Rejection is not life threating, so keep it in perspective and carry on."

A few character traits such as being impatient, arrogant, egotistic, chauvinist, racist, sexist, sloppy, insecure, and/or distracted, are sure to interfere with a productive sales presentation and most definitely turn a customer off.

The attitude that you project when selling is as important as any of the words you speak — sometimes more so. Always conduct business in a professional manner by showing an unbiased, positive and confident attitude towards every prospective customer. And you will be an effective salesperson.

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Return to How to Sell Jewelry: A Guide to Marketing and Selling Beaded Handmade Jewelry
Return to Beading Design Jewelry home page.

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