written by David Geller
Since my 20’s, after having whip lash from a car accident, I have been going to a chiropractor. My last one retired and I have gone to a new one who uses a lot more machines. We start off a visit with a deep massaging chair (similar to one in Brookstone), then manipulation. My neck gives me fits and my chiropractor happened to show me a room with two fancy high-end chairs that can stretch your neck, spine and back. He told me there were only two in the whole state and his office had one.
He then explained, in an excited voice, how it can expand the vertebrae in your neck and spine to relieve pressure on the nerves and reduce or eliminate pain.
I then asked him how long it takes? Does it hurt and what’s the extra cost?
In a calming voice he told me it can make you sore. “Use ice at first” and the time is not long.
Then in talking about price, you could tell he was quite uncomfortable in discussing the cost, side stepping it by trying to pawn the cost off onto the insurance company.
“Depends a lot on your deductible and co-pay” and at this visit he didn’t tell me a price.
He was scared to tell me the number.
We walked to the front and made my next appointment. Again, I asked about price and he pawned it off this time to his assistant “I’ll have to check on your insurance.”
So, I showed up today and told him I’m ready to try it and asked “how much is it?”
“Without your insurance it’s $125.00” Finally that dreaded price. Or was it?
He strapped my head into the machine while lying back for 10 minutes it pulled, then relaxed, then pulled a bit harder to stretch my neck. After he unstrapped me, he said I would have to have about 6 sessions, and each time stretch a bit farther to get good results. I’m happy to give it a try.
Then we got back to again to my normal chiropractic treatment. Once ready to leave I tell him “I want to give you some selling advice.”
“I’m always up for some” he responded.
“Dr. Dan, I can tell in your voice you are were very scared to tell me the cost of stretching my neck.”
“OMG yes! I hate selling and discussing price. Hate it.”
I proceeded to share my story, getting his attention “The IRS in the 1980’s taught me how to sell as I hadn’t paid back taxes, and I sat across from an agent who said “Mr. Geller, we have charged you every penalty and interest allowed by law and are available to take your home and business if not paid.”
I then went on to briefly explain how with some help I developed my pricing guide for my store and turned the business around. I went on to explain, like he, I mostly sold labor, along with findings but labor was the biggest under-charging I was doing.
“All I ever sold really was labor and creativity. YOU? You sell labor and relief from pain.”
As an aside I believe there is greater power in selling relief from pain. Just think of all of the snake oil salesmen and people going to Mexico for crazy treatments all over the world.
So, I told Dr. Dan that based upon a jeweler being paid $40,000 to $60,000 a year or more, we charge a minimum of $100 an hour, up to $150 an hour for labor. Further, years ago when I owned a Lincoln, the car repair department had a sign up that said “Labor $75 an hour” and a friend who worked at BMW said they charged $125 an hour, 10 years ago.
I explained he need not be afraid of the price he charged, your clients can afford it. I told him to “sell the machine and it’s cost.”
“We as jewelers use a laser machine to weld and it’s a $20,000 machine, probably leases at $350 a month and someone has to pay us for that so we charge 50% more to use a laser.”
Then I asked him how much the chair cost him.
“These babies cost us $100,000 and there are only two in Georgia!”
So, I suggested “sell the scarcity, cost and what it will do for your patient like this:
“We can help relieve the pain you’re having with our special chiropractic spine adjusting chairs. Your vertebrae are compressed causing nerves to pinch and cause pain. By pulling them apart, more spacing like when you were younger, helps to relieve the pain. We have one of the two in Georgia. At a cost of over hundred grand this makes us a special place to help you. Usually, it’s about 6 visits at $125 a visit and you should start seeing relief about half way through.”
This is not selling to me, it’s explaining the Features, Benefits and Advantages of this device and his expertise. Notice that when I quoted the price it was not at the end of the sentence; it was in the middle!”
Never end a sentence with a price. It would be the last thing the customer hears. Continue past it with the advantages this service will give the customer.
So how did I feel about paying $125? To Dr Dan, it was a lot to get out of his mouth but in the scheme of things not a big deal. Why?
Because a regular visit is $65.00, so I get a chair-neck stretching visit and a normal chiropractic care combined into one for not quite double the cost.
It’s the cost of two visits and it does take him twice as long.
So as a jeweler sell your expertise and sell the power of dollars, either what you spent on equipment (like a $20k laser machine) or the value of jewelry you’ve handled.
Ask your jeweler these 3 questions today:
- How long have you been a bench jeweler?
- How many years have you been working at this store?
- What is the most expensive item you’ve ever work on?
Then sell this when someone says they can get it done cheaper down the street. They may be able to buy the same watch cheaper but they can’t shop YOU.
I owned my store for 25 years, when someone asked why our price was high, I responded with my answers to above and we closed 90% of our repair sales, and 80% of our custom sales.
“Why is your price to size a ring so much in this store David?”
“Most people think sizing a ring should be a simple procedure and it is the first thing taught a jeweler. But you don’t want a bad ring sizing where the shank comes back thinner or you see where it was sized. When we size a ring, the shank stays same thickness and you can’t see where it was sized. In addition, we will check and tighten all of your diamonds, make sure they are tight, snug as a bug in a rug. We’ll guarantee them for a year. But then we will refinish your white gold ring to make it look new again, it will shine like the top of the Chrysler building. Then we plate it with rhodium to make it the brightest possible. But lastly, we can’t hire the majority of jewelers applying for a job here. They just can’t cut it here. I personally have been doing jewelry work since I was 10 and have owned this store for over 20 years and have worked on jewelry valued at over $100,000! This is the kind of expertise you want working on your ring, right?”
Did I lie, fib or make anything up? No, I just explained the procedure, the outcome and the expertise of the person working on your ring.
Jewelers and Chiropractors have almost the same job description.
They can only sell their labor to relieve pain.
For jewelers it’s to relieve the pain of missing wearing something precious to a customer or fix an heirloom. Or even make us happier with a new design.
Chiropractors help relieve body pain. Priceless under many circumstances.
Now go relieve someone’s pain, the money is a second thought to the customer. It might have been what’s on top of your mind, but it’s not to the customer. It’s #2 or #3 on their scale. Sell what’s #1!
Director of Shop’s Profits