Ask What Your Diamond Supplier Can Do for You
A prominent diamantaire encourages you to partner with your diamond suppliers
The wintry chill that began with Holiday 2001 is still in the air, but a new year is upon us. So catch your breath because its time to plan for Holiday 2002 and the selling opportunities between now and then.
As diamond manufacturers, we find the ability to look several months into the future a highly desirable but all-too-elusive skill. Rough diamonds the raw material that consumes the lions share of our budget come in a range of difficult-to-obtain and often-expensive varieties and cant be ordered off the shelf. Consequently, we have to put our money where our hearts are months ahead of the rest of the market.
But there are ways for us to improve our odds and yours. We may not be able to dictate to consumers what they should buy. But we can become proactive participants in their decisions.
Our partners in this venture are our immediate customers: jewelry manufacturers and retailers who have a vested interest in ensuring the stock on their shelves doesnt stay there indefinitely. Which brings me to communication tools. They may be the most important thing we have to turn shots in the dark into almost sure bets.
Its virtually impossible to formulate a marketing plan without involving our clients. We cant even consider committing to the production of a new cut if we dont know whether well find support in the trade. Likewise, a retailer cant undertake a promotional campaign without knowing whether the diamonds will be available in adequate quantities.
Open and methodical communication between diamond suppliers and retailers is a prerequisite for marketing success. In the beginning, its wise to come with questions, some designed to help you understand what your supplier can offer, some designed to ascertain what the supplier knows about you.
This marketing-savvy approach is still a novelty at the loose-stone end of our business. Indeed, it wasnt too long ago that even the mention of the word marketing sent diamantaires scrambling for their dictionaries. Dont be deterred. You can even throw in mildly presumptuous questions. Most would fall under the heading, If I choose to push your merchandise, what are you prepared to provide me? Examples:
- Do you provide printed materials and other hand-outs for our customers?
- Will you help train my sales staff?
- Do you provide display material?
- Will you contribute toward ad costs?
A new year is upon us and a market is waiting. Start talking.
Alex Waldman is president and CEO of the Waldman Diamond Co. Group.