Know the Code

May 1998

Four Your Staff: Selling Diamonds


Know the Code

Everyone knows couples in love speak a special language.

It's up to you to decode it


by Diane Warga-Arias


'Gee, honey, did you see Anna's ring?" Those experienced in relationships might recognize this seemingly innocent question for what it really is – a coded message. An outsider might have a harder time figuring out the code, and it depends on who's asking. If the woman's fishing, it could mean she wants one just like it. If it tumbles from a man's lips, he might be trying to figure out his partner's taste. It may mean one or the other is ready for the next step in the relationship. Only the two people involved know for sure.

Research shows couples in relationships develop their own codes to express needs while disguising those desires. Couples code things that are too emotional or risky to discuss directly, allowing each to avoid asking for something when the answer might be "no" or to ask indirectly, leaving room for surprises. So it makes sense that couples code and decode when the subject is diamonds.


Responding to Codes

Successful diamond salespeople recognize the coding between couples that happens at the counter, and they're careful to respond appropriately. They know that if the coding spell is ruined, the magic of the purchase vanishes. When a couple buy a diamond for her, the key is to keep the focus on them, on the need for him to be the hero and for her to feel cherished. Remember the experience of giving, receiving and wearing diamonds is the real reason people want and buy them.

At the sales counter, it's critical to recognize when a couple are speaking to each other and when they're speaking with the sales associate.

When they look at a beautiful and rare diamond she obviously loves, she may ask the price and then respond, "That's more than we plan to spend."

Many sales associates would assume the message means just that, and respond with less-expensive goods or financing advice. But if the message was meant for the man, it may really mean "Am I worth it?" Recognizing the code and correctly responding gives him a chance to be the hero.

The correct response is to redirect the question to him. When she says "It's too expensive," the effective sales associate ensures the man has a chance to be her hero by redirecting the question "What do you think, Jim?"


The Emotional Dance

Sales associates can also help couples to be sensitive to their own coding. Keeping the focus on the experience of owning a quality diamond means helping the couple look at the long term-satisfaction and pleasure of owning a beautiful diamond. When a couple shop for a diamond, the purchase becomes a sort of dance. She may long for a diamond that shows the world how much he loves her. He may want her to have a diamond that represents his success. She may want a diamond to make up for the romance that is too often lost in the daily routine of kids and work and chores. He may want a diamond to help him express the love he finds hard to put into words. Only they know how to decode the messages.

The purchase of a diamond is an emotional experience. There's an enormous amount of pressure to buy the right one. The right diamond sends a message about love and commitment, but most of all it sends a very special message from a man to a woman. That message may be about love, making up for lost opportunity or showing the success they've built together. Only they know what the code means. Our job is to watch for opportunities for the couple to have a diamond moment and to find them the right diamond – the one that speaks forever.

Diane Warga-Arias is director of education for the Diamond Promotion Service.

Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.


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