How to find out a client’s budget without asking, and more tips for September

MANAGEMENTBe ready to walk

After helping nearly 100 owners sell their businesses, consultant Stephen Semple of Business Growth Guys says he has one basic tip: Run your business as if you plan to own it for the next 20 years. Buyers will often try to put you down at the very last minute, knowing full well that the owners have often already sold the business at heart. “The champagne is on ice and the owner is not emotionally able to walk away from the closing table. To combat this, the seller must remain ready to walk. Walking away is the only power the seller has says Semple.

SALESUnderstand their budget

Asking a client for a budget is uncomfortable, but it’s also useful information. What to do? Suggest going to your website to show the potential customer the diamonds available, or just give them an average price per carat size. “You might say, ‘Do you have a carat size in mind? Just to give you an idea, a three quarter carat would start around $3,500 while a 1 carat might start at $6,000,” suggests GIA Accredited Sales Professional John Nicolosi. “They will then tell you the carat size based on the prices you shared.”

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PURCHASEImprove your business card

Before your next trade show, prepare a digital business card. You’ll save time, money and trees. Nancy Guinn, owner of Virginia-based independent pet food chain Dog Krazy, told our sister magazine PETS+ that with such a card, she can simply tap a new contact’s phone to download their professional information via NFC technology, or scan the QR code on the back, which can be updated online at any time.

SALEAs simple as 3-2-1

This set of goals to drive action during what is usually a slower time of year is called 3-2-1 selling. 3: Distribute three business cards a day outside the store. 2: Ask the staff to show their favorite piece twice a day. 1: Try one extra sale per day. When your sales team turns these actions into habits, you should see sales increase and your customer base increase.

MANAGEMENTKeep some “slop” in your day

Do you keep 50% of your time unplanned? If not, you’re probably not leaving enough free time in your day to manage optimally. That’s the view of Dov Frohman, a former vice president of Intel, who during his corporate career also found enough time to invent EPROM, a widely used type of computer memory. In his book Leadership The Hard Way, he argues that bosses should make sure they maintain enough ‘wiggle room’ in their schedules to allow space for reflection and assimilation of lessons learned.

SECURITYAdd screen time to online sales

If you’re suspicious of an online order, ask the customer to join you on Zoom or FaceTime. “Scammers won’t video chat,” says Mark Fenton, an online private detective. The former Vancouver sleuth attributes much of the work he now gets to “user idiocy”. Don’t be that person.

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