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December 1999

For Your Staff: Selling Diamonds

Diamond Dazzlers Close the Sale

Know how to approach customers based on their personality and your sales approach

Selling just one 1-ct. diamond per week can double the average jewelry store's volume for the year, according to Shane Decker of Shane Decker Diamond Co., Franklin, IN.

This will take some work on your part, and you will have to pay attention to what you do and how
you do it, he said at Professional Jeweler's PrimeTime Fall Marketplace & Conference in Las Vegas, where he presented a seminar sponsored by the magazine and coordinated by Charlotte Preston Catalysts, White Bear Lake, MN. But the following techniques will help you sell more big-ticket diamonds and other merchandise in your stores.

Lead-In Line

The right lead-in line can create sales. When dealing with a repair customer or a customer who's looking at a string of pearls, for example, begin by saying something like "Remind me to show you something before you go," said Decker. "You'll intrigue the customer, who will end up reminding you." That's when you bring out the 1-ct. diamond and let the customer hold it. This flatters people, showing them you think they can afford the diamond, that they're discerning enough to recognize its value and that you trust them enough to hold something that's normally locked up.

Tailor Your Pitch

Never trot out a routine pitch – one size does not fit all. The first and most obvious difference is gender. Remember the 80/20 rule: When selling to a woman, devote 80% of your sales pitch to emotions and the tactile sensation of the diamond jewelry and 20% to its perceived value. Reverse that percentage for men.

The second rule is to sell to the age group. When two 24-year-olds want to buy an engagement ring, promote that this diamond will signify their love, and commitment to being together forever.
Last year marked the first time second marriages outnumbered first marriages, says Decker. So don't try to sell the merits of "forever" to a man in his 40s looking for an engagement ring for his second wife. Try to find out how big her first engagement diamond was, then sell him a bigger one by appealing to his ego and need to demonstrate his success. "It'll drive her ex-husband crazy," he says.

To someone over 60, sell the idea of an heirloom that can be passed on to children and grandchildren.

Who Are You?

Along with tailoring your sales technique to your customer, make sure your selling style fits your personality.

Three distinct personality types determine your sales personality:

  • Serpentine. Accounting for 70% of all salespeople, they have the gift of gab and can wind all the way around a conversation.
  • Missiles. Twenty percent of all salespeople, they focus on their target and talk about the jewelry.
  • Sneaks. Ten percent of all salespeople, they start like a missile then sneak around from behind to close.

Knowing your personality type will allow you to tailor your close. If you're a Serpentine, for example, help your customers make the decision by complimenting them, indirectly suggesting the benefits and reassuring their taste.

Missiles should be aware of their timing. Be direct, "whisper" to them about the emotional value of their decision, reassure them, ask for the sale and then assume the sale.

Sneaks are adept at designing and engineering their closing to the customer's needs. Sneaks should borrow the direct and "whisper" approaches from the Missiles, after trying the Serpentines' indirect conversational style.

The Blanket Approach

Whoever the customer is, whatever personality type you are, there are three things everyone can do to close big-ticket sales:

  • Ask about the customer and use that information.
  • Get them to laugh. Decker says this increases your success by 50%.
  • Never assume a customer won't buy what you're selling.

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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