Know how your customers perceive diamond cut
Telepathic powers would probably come in handy several times a day in
your store, especially when you try to explain diamond quality to a consumer
torn between skepticism and love-induced vulnerability. Here, according
to a few jewelers, is what's on the mind of today's diamond customer when
it comes to cut.
"I've heard that diamond cut is pretty important."
Discerning shoppers that they are, diamond customers have learned to do
their homework. They probably have at least a basic understanding of how
a diamond's cut affects its beauty.
"At some time, customers have heard the term 'Ideal Cut' but can't
explain it," says John Dockery of John Dockery Jewelers, San Ramon,
CA. "What they know they learn from shopping many stores and reading
Internet information and brochures."
Your turn: Be prepared to move quickly beyond
the basics and to use an original approach when explaining cut.
"I'm a little confused."
Because cut guidelines are less simply defined than color or clarity, customers
may have gathered conflicting information. Each jeweler has held up the
cuts he or she carries as best, and Internet sites have thrown out a range
of table width percentages (see inset).
"The consumer still doesn't realize the price variation between
Ideal and well-cut diamonds and heavy-make 1 caraters," says Dockery.
"I also think jewelers are still giving out a great deal of misinformation
regarding cut. For example, Russian table does not an Ideal make. It is
simply one indicator." Consumers may be in information overload. By
the time they get to your store, they need somebody to sort the facts.
Your turn: Don't be negative about a competitor,
even if he or she is incorrect. Instead, offer a complete, straightforward
explanation of what's available in cut, how it affects price and why you
carry the makes you do.
"Speak my language."
There are two camps in the sales world: those who talk tech and those who
tout the sparkle when selling diamond cut. Some are prepared to do both.
"No two customers are alike; tailor your presentation to the client
who is sitting in front of you," says Mark Moeller of R.F. Moeller,
St. Paul, MN. "If customers have technical backgrounds, they'll want
to know the numbers; if they have arts backgrounds, sell the beauty."
As an Internet diamond firm says: "We're fluent in Engineer, Software
Designer, Computer Programmer, Doctor, Lawyer, Accountant, Architect, Professor,
Nerd and even Geek."
Your turn: Feel out each customer to see
which technique will work. Switch gears when one approach isn't effective.
"Brands are important (not important) to me."
Jewelers in metropolitan areas where branded diamonds are marketed are more
likely to hear questions about those names; other jewelers say brands are
inconsequential to their customers. "Brand recognition for Lazare Kaplan
and Hearts on Fire diamonds is created by a good strong advertising and
marketing program, usually at the local level," says Moeller. "My
competition gets asked for Lazare diamonds every day, and that's a strong
endorsement for the product and the name brand."
Your turn: Whether or not you carry branded
diamonds, be able to explain why you made your choice and how it fits with
your philosophy. If you don't carry brand names, be careful of trampling
on trademarks. (An unacceptable statement, for example, is "My diamonds
are like Hearts on Fire.")
Do You KNOW...
what your customers are reading about diamonds on the Internet? It will
affect the way they receive your presentation. Here's what Professional
Jeweler found from a search for "diamonds" on the Web search
18 sites explaining the 4Cs.
10 variations on the explanation of "proper" diamond
9 sites advertising "certified" or "graded"
1 site explaining that "certified" or "graded"
doesn't guarante good quality.
1 full-sized sample of an AGS certificate.
4 sites offering "wholesale" price lists or quotes
("like the Blue Book for cars," they say).
5 sites discouraging consumers from paying "retail."
1 site explaining diamond enhancements.
by Stacey King
Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.