Be a Closer: Proven Tips for Diamond Distributors
Educating customers helps create trust and empowers them to make smart choices.
When customers come into a store, they’ve often done some research beforehand. But that doesn’t mean their information is correct, or that they know how to process their newfound knowledge. That’s why retailers need to learn how to help customers find their perfect piece of jewelry without overwhelming them with more confusing facts.
Listen, don’t talk
The best way to find out what a customer wants is to listen. Don’t start asking questions until you’ve heard what the customer has to say. “When a consumer comes in, particularly men, it’s all about price,” says George Proust, vice president of sales and marketing for Gemsone Corporation, a distributor of diamond jewelry, colored stones and loose diamonds, specifically to independent stores.
“She’s looking at style, and he’s talking about price. So stop talking and start listening.” Proust says that retailers often talk too much. “They want to express all the things they know to this couple,” says Proust. “It’s acutely an issue.”
One of the reasons listening matters is because the language of fine jewelry is often foreign to most consumers, even the ones who’ve done some research online. “Generally speaking, many consumers are in way over their heads when it comes to diamonds,” explains Bob DeMaria, account manager at RDI Diamonds, a wholesale diamond company based in Rochester, New York.
“DEF, SI, near colorless,” he cites. “What the heck does that mean? [Customers] may have read a lot, but they have no way of applying that information to the real world. Thus, they’re informed but confused.”
MAKE THEM FEEL
SO YOU CAN THEN
A good retailer will simplify things for customers, says DeMaria: “Trade language is generally not necessary to sell to most consumers. Keep it simple, and ask questions to clarify whenever necessary.”
Ask better questions
Once a retailer has listened, it’s time to start asking some tactical — and tactful —questions. Follow-up queries should make a customer feel heard and comfortable, Proust notes. “If you want to move the conversation, think about a set of questions that will create trust,” he says. “Make them feel empowered. Learn what they’re thinking so you can then help them.”
Creating that sense of urgency in consumers is especially important with younger customers. “I don’t think millennials and Generation Z want to be told stuff,” Proust observes. “They want to be empowered to make their own decisions.”
Educate customers online
Even before a customer enters the store, retailers can help them understand both the process and the subject matter. “The effective diamond retailers have a tremendous amount of information on their websites,” says Proust. “But if you put a lot of stuff up, make it menu-driven. If people want to dig deeper, let them, but don’t force them to dig. The use of videos rather than written information is also important.”
Proust also suggests speaking publicly to social organizations. “Anything that lets you interact with people is a smart thing,” he says. Reviews are important, and can inspire confidence. “The best way a retailer can help consumers before they enter is with great reviews and testimonials about how they made the process simple and enjoyable,” says DeMaria. “You don’t have to be the best in the world. Just the best alternative in your area. Remember that you’ll never get everyone’s business. Chase the majority, not the minority. But be prepared for both.”
Don’t forget romance
Above all, says Proust, make sure the conversation comes back to love, and not just price or certs.
“How do we help consumers make better decisions?” asks Proust.
“And how do we help brick-and-mortar retailers talk to consumers whose minds are filled with mush? I don’t want to live in a world where all the diamonds get bought online. If you take away the romantic elements of diamonds, you take away the need to have them,” Proust concludes.
In the end, remember that retailers are selling romance, and not stones.
DeMaria says, “Quantifying diamonds to the point they become almost a commodity serves the internet retailers more than the brick-and-mortar stores. Eliminating the mystique, in my opinion, is detrimental to the industry.
Encourage the love connection, and sell diamonds on their eternal beauty and rarity, and the fact that every diamond is different, with its own personality.”
TOP TIPS FOR RETAILERS
Bob DeMaria, account manager at RDI Diamonds, a wholesale diamond company based in Rochester, New York, has a few tips for retailers who want to help customers make the right purchase.
● Be patient.
After asking a customer a question or giving them information, take a moment to let your customer think. “Wait for a response, as long as it takes,” suggests DeMaria. “People take a moment to think, so don’t be impatient.
● Don’t be afraid to go online with your customer.
If your customer comes in with a quote, “go online with them,” he says, “but only if that’s where they got the quote from.” And if they’ve been online shopping, talk to them about it. “You could ask, ‘Did you notice the range of pricing on identically graded diamonds?’ and if they hadn’t, show them.” Demystifying the pricing process is important when it comes to creating trust.
● Don’t over-explain.
“It’s not necessary to make [customers] understand everything there is to know about diamonds,” says DeMaria. “They won’t comprehend it anyway.”
“Pay close attention to the language [customers] use, and in what order they give the particulars to you,” says DeMaria. “Then recap what they told you and ask, ‘Is that everything?’” Your goal is to be on the same page with your customer.