Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Breaking Bad News

I teach a lot about selling techniques, including scripts, product knowledge, motivation and closing.  Ours can be a “Barnum and Baily World” – a carnival that takes people’s money and then moves on down the road whether the client is satisfied or not.  Most of you are in business for the long-haul and have to deal with the odd unhappy client.  Here are a few thoughts on doing-so without harming your reputation.

My father was told to expect biopsy results in 10 days, but after 5 or 6 days the doctor called him in for an urgent meeting without specifying what it was about.  This is a good example of how to stress-out a client for nothing (and by the way, the urgent meeting held no firm conclusions, good, bad or otherwise.  The doctor just discovered he had some time to go over some of the potential outcomes of the tests.)  Jewellery is less critical than health, but it is still emotional.  It’s best to be direct if there’s a problem.

·      Due to quality control, there’s a chance that your job will be done later than expected.  Can we take a few extra days to get it done right for you?
·      While taking every precaution, a small chip was noticed in your emerald after it was reset, so we’ll have to discuss your preferred course of action.
·      Our gemologist has determined that your “investment gemstone” was actually a man-made variety.  Do you still wish to proceed with the design we’d planned for it, or would you like us to quote on a natural gemstone to replace it?

If you leave someone hanging with a message like, “we’ve got some concerns about your job,” someone in our stressed-out society will have time to wildly imagine their own conclusions.

When I was new to the industry (before call display,) knowing that sometimes jewellery is a surprise purchase, I avoided telling the voice at the other end of the phone what I was calling about.  When he asked, I panicked and said, “it’s a personal matter.”   Wrong answer!  I should have said, “it’s about a completed repair job at our jewellery store.”  It might have been a little white lie, but it would have done the trick without causing the poor fellow to wonder what “personal matter” she hadn’t told him about.

C2A - next staff meeting have everyone bring real-life stories of miscommunications.  I have the feeling that with text messaging, Facebook, voice-mail and call display, erroneous conclusions are on the rise.

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