Rolling down the Las Vegas strip at 10pm on a Friday night and it’s a solid 98° outside. We’ve been here before. Its going to be jewelry/hell week in Vegas. Saturday does not disappoint as the temperature rockets to 110° by mid-morning.
Ok, the shows are in nice air-conditioned casinos, so we’ll only have to fire-walk from show to show. We mention the weather as one possible reason for the noticeably light crowds in town. Having been to Vegas many times for a wide variety of conventions and trade shows, we have a pretty good base for comparison. It was light.
Traveling around to different venues bore this out further, as we walked through one sparsely populated room after another. We poked our head back into several shows on successive days at different times to see if a crowd had shown up. Never saw it.
This is not to say that the shows were deserted. But, we’ve been on the other side of those displays, and its doubtful that any of the sellers were going to write the relatives back home about being overwhelmed.
On a brighter note, shows are always an opportunity to learn about the business side of our craft. In this, Jewelry Week was a treasure trove. The Niche Show, which was their first, was well done and we were impressed with range of artists represented. Of particular note was Sergio Lub, a designer from Martinez California.
Now, Sergio makes magnetic copper bracelets. It’s a humble and straightforward product. The kind of thing that most people in the Art Jewelry world would instantly dismiss and move on. But Sergio has been making and selling these bracelets successfully for 40 some years. We wanted to know more. We wanted to learn Sergio’s secret.
45 minutes later we had our answer. Sergio Lub is, pound for pound, one of the best jewelry salesmen we have ever met. We have written about the value of artists developing good sales skills on many occasions. Here was a textbook example of all the best principles applied. We had the product in our hands almost immediately, and on our wrists soon thereafter. Sergio had a good story, charmingly delivered, all the while gently testing our qualifications. Every buyer objection was anticipated and met before it could be brought up. Yes, the merchandiser display was included with the first order. Yes he had a robust and flexible point of sale, packaging program. Sergio’s goal was to induce trial, and his entire presentation was focused and directed at that.
If you have some sales experience, by now you are probably saying “well DUH!” But check this out. We didn’t meet a single seller anywhere else that did any of this. Here is the real secret of Sergio’s success. While everyone else was selling product features (ie. “14kt gold with 2.5cts of peace diamonds) Sergio was selling mitigation of retail risk. This is a significant shift in sales strategy from what you may be selling.
Think about this for minute and put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. If you run a retail store you are painfully aware of the risks of guessing wrong with your purchasing decisions. You don’t particularly want gold, silver or diamonds. You want stuff that will SELL. But nobody can guarantee that, so the next best thing is to reduce your risk of making a purchase decision.
Understanding what buyers really want is why Sergio has stayed in business for 40 years selling humble copper bracelets.