What will sell in 2014?

When was the last time you set aside an hour to think about the way you talk about (or sell) diamonds – better yet, have you ever recorded yourself presenting diamonds, and given yourself an honest critique (or asked members of your team to evaluate your technique)? In today’s market, every customer is important, as is every sale. In this New Year, knowing what sells is about more than just recognizing your fast moving product or having negotiation skills. Times and consumers have changed since 2008. Have your sales techniques responded accordingly?

We’ve seen a definite shift in some of our Customers’ purchases over the last 5 years, and it wasn’t until my seasonal round of in-store events the last November that I really took the time to listen. I listen to sales professionals, business owners and Consumers. I listened to myself.

Some of my observations…

1. Passion sells. Did you know that passion is derived from the Latin verb patī, meaning to suffer. You need to share their passion and excitement for whatever motivated them to come to you. If your customer senses that you understand where they’re at, then they will work with you regardless of their budget. That’s something they can’t find on the Internet or through a call center.  You need suffer with them to find their ideal.

2. Product sells. You have to show your ideal. If you don’t have your ideal selection of pieces to show any customer walking through your door, then you’re not cutting it. If you’ve defined your ideal range, then you should have a selection to show – unless the customer calls for an exceptional piece or something that may not be part of your ideal range. You don’t walk into a luxury vehicle showroom in the hope that they may have vehicles – you go there to see their selection.

Don’t disappoint your customers!

3. Design sells. Reflecting back on 80 years of the American Gem Society was an eye-opener. In 80 years, we’ve seen the bulk of the market move from making fine diamond jewelry to selling catalogued merchandise. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great brands out there, but why are you simply merchandising a range of jewelry made abroad, when you can follow the lead of numerous fine custom jewelry retailers who are working with their customers to design heirlooms that will last generations.

Is your passion for design or for someone else’s merchandise? With all due respect to the many great diamond jewelry brands out there, have we forgotten that every customer is unique, relationships even more so?

Fine custom jewelry pieces create a unique narrative and in time, are guaranteed to become family heirlooms. Design something classic, timeless, elegant.

4. Knowledge sells. Any consumer feels a lot more comfortable after spending some time with a qualified jewelry professional – so display your credentials with pride. Your customers need to rest assured that you know the product you sell. We’re not selling mattresses or televisions, that why there’s no graduate program for selling LCD or HD televisions. Afterall, don’t you expect to see credentials and degrees on your doctor’s wall.

Invest in furthering your education through the many courses available through the Gemological Institute of America, American Gem Society and Jewelers of America. Your knowledge is part of your narrative and gives your customer the confidence that they need in knowing that you are a jewelry professional and not merely a salesperson.

5.  Reputation sells. I continually remind all of my customers that they are the trusted brands in their community. If you’re a second, third or fourth generation jeweler, then you’ll understand the enormous responsibility bestowed upon you. Your reputation as a fine jewelry retailer is the very reason why your customers come back for generations. Keep upholding that reputation by exhibiting honesty, integrity and kindness. When customers could be potentially spending thousands with you, they want to know that they’re in good hands. Show them that you’re a brand to be trusted. If you’re simply selling merchandise, your brand and your name will get lost in the ocean of sameness.

Yes, our market is continually shifting. Brands come and go, tastes evolve and celebrities will continue to endorse the next big thing. Treat every customer just as you would someone who walks the red carpet – by designing a perfect custom creation or showing them the best that you have to offer. Showcase your passion and knowledge with all that you say and your reputation with all that you do. I can guarantee that no matter what trends may come and go in 2014, these are the things that will ALWAYS continue to sell.   JBA

Evert P. Botha, RS is the Chief Operating Officer at Embee Diamonds, their family-owned diamond factory in Canada. Our aim is to cut the finest diamonds to the highest cut grades- whilst pushing the boundaries of diamond design for optimal light performance. We cut for the “Yes I do!”, for the “WOW!”, for the “OMG!”, for “that’s incredible!”, for “thank you!”, “I love you”…We cut diamonds for you. Contact details: 306 763 3388 or [email protected]

Author:Jewelry Business Advisor