When it comes to running a successful pawn business, one of the most important skills for a broker to have is the ability to qualify their customers. Qualifying your customers is like vetting a new hire; you need to see if it's going to be a good fit.
I've been in the pawn business for over 20 years and you better believe that I've seen my fair share of unhappy clients. The first time you're faced with an upset customer, it's a lot to take in. Even the most experienced brokers will have their hands full when it comes to a really disgruntled customer who thinks they're in the right. Throughout my history in this business, I've learned a few ways to diffuse a situation and help both the customer and shop owner come out feeling satisfied, reassured, and respected.
I've been in insurance for a long time, and have seen a good number of business owners and their employees sustain injuries—many very minor, some permanently life-altering, and a few unfortunately resulting in death. Most of these injuries could have been prevented, but there are circumstances that are 100% out of the control of any business owner. No matter the end result, the bottom line is that someone has suffered a work-related injury. So as a business owner and the person responsible for coverage in your shop, what's the first step?
The pawn industry is alive and well, full of bright and forward thinking professionals as well as seasoned veterans who have seen it all, or at least know someone who has. Even with that much collective experience, the unexpected can and does happen. For nearly three decades, UL&C (PawnInsurance.com) has been providing comprehensive insurance to pawnbrokers nationwide. Through the years, we have seen a trend of pawnbrokers and their agents attempting to reduce their cost of insurance by not securing enough coverage for their Business Personal Property (furniture, fixtures, and equipment) and Tenant Improvements and Betterments (covering alterations made to the the physical building).
Does anyone out there know what the Manager’s Circle is? If you’ve ever worked for me or know me professionally, then you absolutely know this concept. It’s an imaginary circle, between the pawn counter and the front door where the manager resides while at work. Why? Because when a customer comes in to get a pawn, I want three things to happen:
1. This is NOT your Grandpa's old pawn shop! We must have an outstanding customer experience! Make it lively with upbeat music, smiling faces, etc. Also, give away bottled water and/or popcorn. Think about your shop from a "millenial's" perspective and make sure the experience is one that will bring them back because it is fun to be in your shop(s).
1. Clean your customer’s jewelry…for free! Nothing gets a conversation started with a customer faster and smarter than, “Ma’am, would you like to me clean that ring for you?” – especially a jewelry customer. It costs next to nothing, creates an avenue for discussion and virtually guarantees a satisfied customer – even if he/she doesn’t buy anything that trip. Get the customer’s name/email/cell # and, for PM customers, use the want list feature available, and watch the sales roll in. That’s a permanent customer.