Whose fault was it anyway?

Leonard Zell explains If a customer seems to show keen interest in a piece, then leaves the shop, and never returns, how do you decide whose fault it was, and how to make sure it does not happen again

  1. A young couple come into your shop looking for an engagement ring and after about 20 minutes the young man gets up and goes over to the watch counter
  2. Another couple were in and bought an engagement ring, but they never returned to buy their wedding rings
  3. A young lady comes in looking at engagement rings, but she never returns with her boyfriend
  4. A young man comes in to look at engagement rings, but never returns with his girlfriend
  5. A young couple comes in to look at engagement ring settings to set her grandmother’s diamond in but they never return
  6. A young couple comes in to look at engagement rings and he asks about the diamond grade. The sales assistant tells him the grade and takes the time to explain the 4Cs and about diamond grading, but they never return

Now you are probably wondering where I am going with this. July and August are the height of the bridal season with 40,000 brides walking down the aisle each month. When I have shown this to jewellers they tell me they have no idea how many couples return and are sure at least half of these scenarios have happened in their store. The timing is perfect to alert you jewellers to keep this from happening in your store and I have a very good reason. Every one of these sales that walked out of your store was a gift to your competitors.  

Let’s see what could have been done differently.

The young man got up because the salesperson concentrated too much on her. This could have been the second store they have been in that this has happened and he got bored and decided to look at something interesting for himself, a chronograph. When he left her, her dreams are gone and I can assure you she will never return. In fact that scene could threaten their engagement. If you think this has not happened in your store, think again.  Observe your salesmen and unless they are lecturing about the 4Cs to him, most of the time he is talking to the young lady.

The salesman never showed the wedding rings and even if he did he never gave them the opportunity to try them on. Why should she want to return? That wedding ring was what she was dreaming of most of her life? These are the reasons I hear most often from salespeople why the wedding rings were not shown:“They were on a budget and I advised them to put all their money into the engagement ring and later on they could save up for a plain band.”

  • “They never asked to see the wedding rings and I assumed the wedding would me months away, so why show them?”
  • “I felt that was too pushy and could have cost me the engagement ring sale.”
  • “I was already with them for an hour and the store was getting busy. I said they could come back later and select their wedding rings then gave them my card.”

The salesman assumed that since the young man wasn’t with her there would be no sale  and sh was just another shopper, a waste of his time. Why even bother introducing himself?  Therefore he showed some rings and gave her his card. There was no reason for her to return with her fiancé. He should have personalised the sale by introducing himself and used her name selectively during the sale and affirmed that by coming in by herself to was the right thing to do.

This could have been an easy sale. All the salesman had to do was to compliment the young man on doing the right thing. The surprise of him proposing to his fiancé and then giving her the the engagement ring will be a moment she will remember forever.

This sale could have been closed if the salesman had introduce himself, say something positive about her grandmother’s ring, ask the young lady about the sentiment connected with the ring. If he would have done that he would have had her trust and friendship. The young man would have seen that and of course would want to buy the setting for her diamond and also the wedding rings if shown. Just think of the couple’s emotions. The salesman could have easily closed all of those sales and had them as customers forever.

The salesman had three problems. He was so proud of his GIA Certification that when given the opportunity to apply his knowledge he could not wait. Unfortunately, this knowledge suppressed her vision of trying on her first engagement ring and her future dreams. His other problem? He was a poor listener. The young man only asked about the diamond grade, not a lecture which usually takes an hour. All the salesman had to do was give just  the diamond grade and then romance a brief romance of diamonds. The third problem, was that by remaining anonymous, why should they trust him? Worse yet, what if this was the second store the visited and they both had to sit through the same lecture twice?

Whose fault was it? Most jewellers whom I ask this question to say it was the salesperson’s. In my 30 years of training I know whose fault it was. It was the jeweller’s. It is their responsibility to train their salespeople how to close these sales and gain these young couples trust and have them as repeat customers. What do some jewellers do? Instead they put the cart before the horse and invest in a bridal fare, which brought in additional traffic, but had a downside. By not training their salespeople first that created more unsold customers and giving an even larger gift to their competitors. Not only will they get those additional lost sales, but they did not have to invest in the bridal fare. They got a free ride.  

That should give you jewellers the incentive to put your salespeople first. It is not too late to begin training your salespeople now or hire an experienced jewellery sales trainer. It will be the best investment you ever made.

This feature first appeared in the July 2016 issue of Jewellery Focus.

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Lewis Catchpole

Lewis is a multimedia journalist and a alumnus of the University of Sheffield. He is a keen reader, follower of all sports and an avid supporter of Manchester United, for better or for worse. If you have any news or feature ideas please do not hesitate to contact.

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