Professional Jeweler Archive: Dress Down

February 2005

The Store / Managing Your Staff

Dress Down

Could your associates be guilty of these sales "crimes?"


My friend Paul thought twice before going into his favorite jewelry store. He was dressed in a comfortable Christmas-shopping outfit of jeans and a loose-fitting black turtleneck. He was afraid he’d appear too underdressed in this venerable, high-end jewelry store in central New Jersey. But he was running short of time, so rather than come back when he was better dressed, he entered the store.

Round One

Three sales associates were on the floor and Paul was the only customer; the associate closest to the door looked up from the tray of jewelry she was rearranging, greeted Paul and asked how she could help. When Paul explained he was looking for a gold bangle for his wife, she gave him the once-over, called another associate to help him and then went back to rearranging the jewelry in her tray.

Paul, who has spent $6,000-$10,000 on jewelry in each of the past four years, a considerable amount of it in this store, was a little hurt the female associate deemed him unworthy of her time. Did his nondescript clothing and windblown hair make a bad impression in this neighborhood of suited men and designer-dressed women? Would the sales associate have reacted any differently had she known his casual outfit was designer and pricey?

Shouldn’t his platinum wedding band – bought in that very store – and expensive watch have indicated a certain level of disposable income? Wasn’t it a tip-off when Paul walked into the store indicating he was ready to buy and already knew what he wanted?

Round Two

Paul walked back to the second associate, a man who noted he was about to leave for dinner but would gladly help. Paul appreciated the offer but felt he was keeping the associate from his dinner.

The associate pulled out two displays of bangles and gave an adequate description of each one. When Paul mentioned he was uncertain how one would look on the wrist, the male associate called the female associate over to try it on. Paul liked the way it look and bought it.

For the eight minutes he spent with Paul, the male associate earned commission on the $4,000 bangle. The female associate, who had decided Paul wasn’t worthy of eight minutes, hopefully got that tray of jewelry rearranged to her liking.

One Final Note

Is this a story of one associate who did everything wrong and another who did everything right? “If the second associate had been observant,” Paul told me, “he would have seen me checking out the citrine and diamond earrings in the adjacent case. He would have had very little trouble talking me into buying them too.”

But that would have taken a few more minutes with this underdressed buyer.

Copyright © 2005 by Bond Communications