For Your Staff: Customer Relations
Connecting with Clients
Personal contact will give you an edge that electronic
sales can't erase
In the age of Internet sales and home shopping programs, try
not to forget one basic tenet: people buy from people, says Luisa
Graff of Luisa Graff Jewelers, Colorado Springs, CO. Technology
can take people away from interacting with each other just at
the time they most crave interaction with another person.
Graff demonstrated the effectiveness of personal interaction
by meeting and greeting each person who entered a seminar she
presented at Professional Jeweler's PrimeTime Fall Marketplace
& Conference in Las Vegas. Immediately, attendees began to
speak with her as a peer and more quickly took her message to
"I'm here to tell you obvious things," she said.
"But you may not realize they are obvious or your
employees may not."
A survivor of a military coup in Peru, Graff learned how to
empathize with people to survive, she told the audience. Jewelers
need to do the same to survive in business, she said. "Find
the needs of your customer and put him or her at ease,"
she said. "See life through the eyes of the customer, and
you will have a client for a long time.
"When I first began selling jewelry, I was told I spend
too much time with customers," she said. Twenty years later,
she still sells to those same customers, though now they buy
higher-ticket jewelry. In other words, talking with customers
is critical. You should find out what motivates the customer
in order to "match" his or her needs with what you
sell and how you sell it.
Obvious vs. Subliminal
Here are Graff's suggestions for successful communication:
- Greet the customer within 3 seconds. Everyone likes to be
- Ask questions.
- Learn about your product.
- Use the customer's name as often as possible.
- Vary the dynamics of your speaking voice rather than speaking
monotone. Whispering gets attention at times, as does raising
- The ambiance of your store imparts a clear message. You can
match the music, decor, cleanliness, dress of employees, smell
and light to the expectations of your customers. Graff bakes
cookies in her store to give it an appealing scent and generate
- The attitude imparted by your employees comes across whether
or not the employees know it. Try to leave aside the argument
of the moment, or any other distraction, and focus on the customer
as he or she enters the door.
- Match your customer's body language.
- Use open-ended questions.
- Jewelry is romantic and ought to be sold with romance. "There
is so much to romance in jewelry the design, the stones,
the setting, the reason for its purchase, the happiness it imparts,
the way it looks on the wearer, the change in attitude it can
create and many others," she said.
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.