For Your Staff:Selling Essentials
Romance in Store
As we begin this fourth in a series titled "My Life as a Fine
Jewelry Sales Associate," we learn what makes our business unique and
why we should approach it from an unusual perspective
by Christine Anzell AND Jack Levenson
For the two days I've worked here, I've been obsessed with a single question:
what makes selling jewelry so different from selling clothing like
I used to or selling any other product? I watch Julie and the other
sales professionals here and sense something in the selling process is very
different unique, in fact. But until a few minutes ago, I couldn't
put my finger on it.
As Julie tries to persuade Mrs. Jennings a diamond and onyx ring she
has just shown her is the perfect gift for her husband's birthday, the reason
for that difference dawns on me. At my last job, when a customer expressed
an interest in a shirt or pair of trousers, I'd go right into my song and
dance about the quality of the item: the content of the fabric, the strength
of the buttons, the double seams and the number of stitches per inch. I
knew my product knowledge inside and out and threw as much of it at the
customer as he or she seemed able to stand. Was I insecure? I don't think
so; I think I was simply justifying the price.
Selling a Ring vs. Selling Romance
I listen as Julie sells this ring. Julie assertive, not aggressive
is a graduate gemologist and can talk "rings" around most
sales associates when it comes to the technical aspects of every piece she
presents. So what does she tell Mrs. Jennings? Does she say "this diamond
weighs 53 points and is a VS2 quality and G-H color. It has a natural on
the girdle?" No. She says "Mrs. Jennings, picture the look on
your husband's face when he slips this spectacular ring on his finger and
sees it next to that handsome black-dial watch!"
She's not selling the ring at least not at the moment. She's selling
the romance the love, the excitement, the joy, the fun and, of course,
the commemoration of Mr. Jennings' birthday. She paints a picture of a moment
the two of them will cherish forever.
What a revelation! Sell the romance. It's true you should know your product
and know your company so you can answer any question customers may ask.
And customers have become quite sophisticated about fine jewelry; just in
my first two days, I've heard questions about treated gemstones and underkarated
gold. It must be those TV news magazine shows.
But don't overwhelm customers with technical information that may not
interest them. Instead, help them to envision the excitement and emotion
they will experience when they give a jewelry gift. I now realize why we
"sell the romance." And that's what the top salespeople around
here do that makes them so great; they answer the question rather
than evade it then get back to the romance.
In creating the romance, Julie chooses her words very carefully. The
jewelry is never "nice" or "pretty," the quality never
"good." They are always "spectacular," "exquisite,"
"handsome" or "eye-catching." I observe the care she
takes in selecting the appropriate words for each situation; she matches
them well to the customer, the item and herself.
She describes a promise ring as "cool" when helping a teenager
choose a gift for his girlfriend, but uses "elegant" when describing
a diamond band to a gentleman looking for a 40th wedding anniversary gift
for his wife (see table for more word choices).
Importance of Romance
A few minutes ago, I found myself preoccupied. I was recalling a story my
friend Heather told me about her unique wedding band. Shortly after she
and Kevin were married, they moved out of state. During a trip home to visit
his mom, their car stereo quit. They stopped at the local pawn shop to buy
a replacement. As they moved toward the back of the store, Kevin froze in
his tracks when he spotted his parents' wedding bands in the showcase. He'd
lost his dad 11 years earlier. His mom in an effort to remove the
sad reminders of her all-too-brief marriage and get on with her life had
pawned their rings. And there those rings were, 11 years later, bringing
Kevin to tears. He and Heather bought the bands and now wear them every
day. Talk about the romance; talk about the emotion, the sentiment. No wonder
we all cherish our jewelry. Whether it's a recent gift or an heirloom, we
can all remember when we received it; we all have stories to tell about
each of our special treasures.
It rarely happens with clothing, furniture or home appliances, I'd venture
to say, but jewelry is s-o-o special. I've heard stories of customers getting
down on their knees and proposing to their girlfriends right here in the
store. How exciting to be part of that joy, that emotion, those memories.
I really feel lucky to be involved with this very special industry. Today
right now, in fact I'm making a pledge to myself. I promise
I'll sell the romance, the excitement, the fun. I want to be part of my
customers' memories. I know that sharing my passion and enthusiasm for these
magnificent creations will help me to sell more, sell right and keep my
clients returning to me again and again.
Christine Anzell and Jack Levenson are sales trainers in the fine
jewelry industry. For information about their copyright training manual
or jewelry-specific client recordkeeping books and Client-Retention Program,
write to them at Anzell & Levenson, P.O. Box 46801, Las Vegas, NV 89114;
The Right Word at the Right Time
|There are hundreds of romance words that you can substitute for the ineffective
"nice," "pretty" and "good." Here are a few
to get you started. Remember, make sure they are appropriate for you, the
customer and the item.|
Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.