Professional Jeweler Archive: Special Treatment

March 2005

Cover Focus | 60+

Special Treatment

Intimate, one-on-one communication is the way to promote to older customers

By Jim Ackerman and Wink Jones

Today’s “seasoned citizens” are not as old as their parents and grandparents were at the same age. Oh, the years are the same, but they are physically in better shape and certainly aren’t giving up on life.

Seniors today are remaining active and fashionable, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t benefiting from their years and experience. They want to be treated with the respect they’ve come to deserve.

Here are a couple of promotional ideas to strike gold with your senior clients.

Call Me … Just Call Me

Telemarketing for high-quality jewelry? You bet. Calling customers on the phone will bring them into your store faster than anything else. This is especially viable with older, more influential clients who like the personal touch.

Allocate five minutes for each call. For the first two to three minutes, just talk. “How are you? Your significant other? The kids? Are you having a good year?” If your client doesn’t ask about jewelry during that time, just say how nice it is to have a few minutes to visit and then say good-bye.

If a client does mention needing something, shift the conversation to that need. Often the client will say something like, “We don’t need anything right now.” You should reply, “That’s fine. I’m just touching base with my friends and clients.”

Rarely should you ask clients about jewelry because they know perfectly well who you are, what you do and why you’re calling. If you don’t ask, it relieves your client of the responsibility of telling you no.

One unintended consequence of doing this is referrals. Many clients will tell you they’re doing something else this year – such as travel – instead of buying jewelry, then a week or two later you’ll get a call from one of their friends saying you’ve been recommended as a great jeweler.

Your clients appreciate the check-up, especially if you keep it short and upbeat. Even the ones who tell you they’re not buying jewelry this year may show up because you’re now top of mind.

Party it Up

Many of your more mature clients belong to dinner groups or engage in regular activities with close friends. Ask them if they’re part of such a group. Suggest that the next time they’re together, you could provide some nifty entertainment in the form of a little jewelry fashion show. Promise you won’t hard-sell their friends, but that you’ll come with some remarkable jewelry and educate them on how to buy gems and jewelry the smart way.

Make sure you bring some pieces that are “out of the park” in price, but have real show-off value. Also be sure that you bring designs for men and women.

Occasionally, you’ll get a “keep up with the Joneses” group that wants to buy on the spot. But don’t force the issue. Simply take notes on personal preferences, get contact information and then make a special offer for anyone who comes in the store and buys something in the next 30 days.

This type of upscale presentation with low-key sales techniques will make your core clients even more loyal and more likely to recommend you to friends.

Elegant older customers appreciate seeing the latest jewelry designs. Consider a jewelry fashion show for this age group. Photo is courtesy of AARP The Magazine.
Keep up with your older customers in a friendly way – you may be able to sell them on romantic gifts. Consider a senior discount because it might bring you additional business.

Jim Ackerman is president of Ascend Marketing Inc. He works with small to midsized jewelers and other clients nationwide. He is a speaker, author and publisher of “The Marketing Wizard’s Alliance Newsletter.” Contact Ackerman at (800) 584-7585, Wink Jones is the owner of Winfield’s, a store in Boise, ID. He has studied marketing and worked with Ackerman to develop strategies for jewelers. Together they’ve produced a six-CD audio program on the topic.

Copyright © 2005 by Bond Communications