Last week we discussed how important diamond grading reports have become in terms of diamond sales, and how customers today often come in with a specific set of criteria, dictating to you – the salesperson – “exactly what they want.” Today, we will begin a discussion of how to take control of such a situation and show the customer not only what he wants, but possibly something that is an even wiser choice.
Having an in-depth understanding of the 4Cs – and making sure your customers understand them too – is crucial, but a superficial understanding – leading to prejudicial comments – will definitely have a negative impact on sales success.
Successfully Connecting the 4Cs to Your Customer Needs
As a knowledgeable diamond salesperson knows, as well as most consumers today, the 4Cs deal with the overall quality of specific diamonds. But there is confusion related to the impact that each “C” has with regard to beauty, rarity and cost. Each diamond is unique, regardless of whether or not they sound like they are the “same quality” on a diamond grading report. Some factors appeal to one buyer more than to another, depending on the taste, aesthetic needs, and budget of the buyer. One person may like round shapes the best, while another might prefer an oval or emerald cut, one being costlier than another; one person won’t be comfortable wearing a diamond under three carats, while another won’t be comfortable with anything over one carat; a “D” color diamond might seem “cold” to one person whereas the same person may find J-K color more desirable because it’s a “warmer” color; and so on.
The successful salesperson will find out what’s most important to the customer, and present diamonds to best meet those criteria. Most important, they will do it without bias. This is the key to successful selling. The successful salesperson will discuss differences between diamonds in the context of “rarity’ and will help customers find the right combination of the 4Cs to best meet the customer’s needs, emotionally and financially. Let’s look at what this means in terms of a specific selling scenario.
Explaining differences should, first and foremost, be in the context of “more rare” and “less rare,” not “better than” or “worse than.” Explaining that one diamond is “more” or “less” rare is stating a fact. But all too often sales people use the terms “better than”/“worse than” or “lower quality”/”higher quality,” all of which are judgmental. Take a situation where a young man is looking at diamonds for an engagement ring. He finds a diamond he really likes, but notices it’s the same price as a smaller diamond and he questions why. The diamond he likes is an SI1, and the smaller diamond is a VS1. The salesperson immediately points out that the larger diamond is a “lower quality” or “not as good as” the smaller diamond, that the smaller diamond has a much “better” clarity [delete word ‘grade’]. The customer can’t really see any difference; he’s not sure why he keeps going back to the larger diamond, which really appeals to him, and the salesperson not only hasn’t helped, but has created a dilemma for him – he really likes the “worse” diamond! So he simply thanks the salesperson, and leaves the store without buying either one.
Some may be asking why, thinking that the salesperson did the right thing and was being honest and direct, and the customer left because customers frequently leave without making a decision to buy what you’ve shown. But is this really the case? Think about it and put yourself in the customer’s shoes; would you buy the diamond you really liked if the “expert” (the salesperson) told you it wasn’t “as good as the smaller diamond”? I doubt it, and certainly most customers don’t. The reason is simple: the buyer was made to feel embarrassed because he liked the “less good” diamond, the one of “lower quality,” and didn’t want to buy a diamond the salesperson clearly thought was “inferior.” In short, he didn’t want to buy a diamond that would reflect badly on his judgment! It is simply easier to go to another jeweler, one who would make him feel good about the diamond he really wanted!
Antoinette Matlins is an internationally respected gem and jewelry expert and well-known author and lecturer whose expertise is sought worldwide by clients who retain her to seek fine, rare, or unusual gems and jewels for acquisition. Often seen on CNN, ABC, NBC, and CNBC offering important consumer information—or exposing fraud—Matlins devotes much of her work to education and consulting within the trade. Former Gemology Editor for National Jeweler for almost a decade, she is the author of many highly acclaimed books on gems and jewelry, and has become a respected consumer advocate in the field, never failing to tell "the whole story" and giving all the information consumers need to make sound choices that best meet their own needs. Her most popular books include: Jewelry & Gems: The Buying Guide (now in its Seventh edition and published in seven languages), Gem Identification Made Easy; Diamonds: The Antoinette Matlins Buying Guide; Colored Gemstones: The Antoinette Matlins Buying Guide; and The Pearl Book (www.GemStonePress.com). Find out more about Antoinette and read her blog at http://www.antoinettematlins.com/.