What can the manager of a gift shop for the blind teach you about handling difficult handcrafted jewelry customers?

He taught me a lot!

A few years ago, I was a volunteer for a center for the blind that had a gift and supply store in the lobby. While waiting to go to my volunteer job, I watched a sighted customer asking the blind store manager to show her several different braille watches.

She was indecisive, and he patiently explained what the various types were and how they worked.

She couldn’t make up her mind.

“I can print out a few pages from our catalog that you can take with you to discuss with the person who will be using the watch,” he suggested.

She agreed, and he printed out the pages for her.

She looked at them and said in disbelief, “There are no pictures!”

Without missing a beat, he replied, “Blind people aren’t helped much by pictures,” and then he cracked a smile.

I worked at the center for about a year, and I was amazed at the store manager’s patience in what were challenging circumstances. But he handled everyone with a wry sense of humor, and I got the feeling there was little he hadn’t encountered before.

Be patient with your indecisive customers. Let them take their time. You don’t necessarily have to question or even talk with them while they’re trying to make a decision. In fact, talking with them may add unnecessary stuff for them to process while they’re juggling their options!

Be available to answer questions and show interest in what they’re looking at, but you don’t necessarily have to pressure them into doing anything. They’ll figure it out themselves. And if they don’t, you can always give them a story card to take with them, and offer to snap digital photos of the items they’re interested in and e-mail them to the prospect.

Now go make something great!

PS: If you have ever been concerned about someone stealing your jewelry designs, the interview and transcript I did with Sarah Feingold on copyrights, trademarks and protecting your designs is on sale through Sunday night, February 28. Click here for information.