On Christmas Eve I stayed open an hour later than any other jewellery store in town, just for this one customer. He dressed in an expensive suit and constantly checked his gold watch. A man consumed by his work, he wore an expression of panic tempered by exhaustion. This gentleman required a very special and delicate approach. I would greet him with:
“Buddy, if you are in my store at this hour on this day, it means that you are in deep and desperate trouble. You need a gift for your wife and better not go home without one. Don’t worry, I’ll make you a hero and I’ll do it quickly and painlessly.”
I was right and he knew it. I was the only game in town and his last hope. He was going to take whatever I told him to buy with no sales pitch or price arguments needed.
I’d ask for a price range and show three items; one at his budget, one that was 50% higher, and one that was at least double, but guaranteed to make his wife ecstatic. He always took the highest priced one. As my assistant wrapped his gift I would keep on selling:
“How about something for your kids?”
“My wife takes care of that.”
“Horsefeathers! They deserve something hand-picked by Dad just for them. Let’s get busy.”
I’d start asking ages and genders and grab items I knew were appropriate. I’d ask about his secretary, co-workers, postman…anyone I could think of that needed a gift. I kept a fast pace, firing questions and suggesting items. Watches, pendants, cufflinks, and pens began to pile up on the counter. As they were wrapped they went into a big red cloth bag that I had set aside just for this customer. By the time I was done with him he was ready to go home to his family and be more than a hero… he was Santa.
The funny thing about this customer was that it was always a different person every year. There is always that one guy that works incredibly hard for his family and realizes at the last minute that he needs gifts. I knew he would come in and sure enough, he would always show up.
This is the final week of the holiday selling spree. Everyone that visits your store will have something in common with my favourite customer; they are last minute shoppers desperate to complete their list. Make it fun, make it fast and make them a hero. And consider staying open a bit later than the competition. You might be able to help a desperate Santa fill his bag.