Romance in Store

 

July 1998

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; (800) 887-8902.

  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.

Awesome

Becoming

Breathtaking

Brilliant

Captivating

Charming

Classic

Contemporary

Cool

Dazzling

Delicate

Elegant

Exceptional

Exciting

Exquisite

Extraordinary

Eye-catching

Fabulous

Gorgeous

Graceful

Handsome

Impressive

Lustrous

Magnificent

Memorable

One-of-a-Kind

Prestigious

Radiant

Rare

Rich

Smashing

Spectacular

Stunning

Stylish

Tasteful

Timeless

Unique

Unusual

Vibrant



Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.


 

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