“I’ll Know It When I See It”: a.k.a. What to Do with a Know-It-All

Last week I had the opportunity to be the keynote speaker at the National Jewelry show in Las Vegas (a.k.a. JCK).

As is my habit, I opened up the floor to the audience as soon as possible in order to hear their questions and ensure I was addressing their concerns.

One question I received was, “What do you do with the customer who—when you ask what they are looking for—says, ‘I don’t know but I’ll know it when I see it’?” 

I can’t tell you how much I love getting a question I’ve never gotten before. (The picture on this post is me– filled with delight.)

How did I recommend he handle it?

I told him I would respond by saying,

“I totally get that about you—just by looking at you! The way you have put yourself together is incredibly distinct. It’s obvious you bring a lot of creativity to your personal style.” 

(If you can do it without seeming super suck-up-y, you might also throw in how much you like something they are wearing.)

Why do I think this will help things along?

First, it demonstrates that you are interested in having a conversation—you didn’t fold the minute you were rebuffed.

Second, you have let the other person know you are paying attention to them, as well as to your job.

And third, because you can get away with a lot by telling people that they are either a) creative or b) visionary. (If you doubt me, road test it.)

And while you might not end up making a sale in that moment, you will have made a connection to a customer—which is the first step to building the trust that will keep them coming back.

Frances Jones Cole signature