Lauren Chang Sommer and her sister Alana Chang Weirick were My Business cover stars in the April 2010 edition of My Business magazine. In this Q&A, Lauren shares some of her favorite business tips.
My Business: Best business decision you’ve ever made?
A: Holding off on expanding too quickly. It would have been ill thought out and a big overspend. In the short term it would have felt good but in the long term it would have been a disaster. If we had of proceeded, we may very well be non-existent by now. Working on the right strategy and spending where it was most needed, paid off big time.
Lauren Chang Sommer: Share your number one sales technique with us.
A: Make the customer feel comfortable. If the customer feels comfortable with you then you are half way there in closing the sale. I speak very differently to old ladies than I would to a tradie. Just by using the same vernacular they use makes them feel at ease and that you understand them.
It’s not merely a product (or service) you need to sell to them, it really is about solving their problems and overcoming their objections. It might be as simple as delivering within a tighter than usual time-frame or working within their budget that will assist them in being comfortable with you. Most importantly however, is the vital need to believe in your product or service and sell with passion...if you wouldn't buy it, then how can you ask someone else to?
Q: What’s your favourite networking activity? Why?
A: International trade fairs. These have been a great activity for us, as we get to meet industry leaders from other countries who are happy to share so much information with you as you really are not a direct competitor. It helps energise me to think and be inspired more on a global level rather than being insular. It also provides insight for tracking emerging trends across the jewellery world.
Q: Generation Y: are they as demanding as everyone says?
A: My sister (who is also my business partner) and I are Gen Y... are we demanding? YES! We think it’s a good thing though, as long as you demand the best from yourself first. Then surrounding yourself with great people who can support your ideas or help guide you.