Color yourself successful

Kate Peterson of Performance Concepts, a perennially popular speaker at the JCK Shows, woke up her audience Thursday with a rousing session devoted to using fashion to sell colored gemstone jewelry.

“Sales associates lead customers to that which they’re most familiar with,” she said, noting that salespeople fear being embarrassed and therefore stick to selling what they know—and they tend to be more educated about diamonds than color. If they’re more knowledgeable about diamonds, they’re going to lead the customers to diamonds.

“Jewelers say they can’t sell color, or that there’s more money in diamonds,” she continued. “That’s not true. They can sell color if their staff is trained to sell color, and color is greatly underutilized [as a profit center]. The lower relative cost of much color is also ideal in a tight economy, she added.

In regard to actually selling color, she pointed out that the “ideal” version of a color may not be what the customer prefers. She illustrated her point by describing a ring she herself admired—made with a “poor-color pale tanzanite.” She admired the stone’s lavender tone, preferring it to the more ideal deep blue of a “high-quality” tanzanite.

Color is about fashion, and fashion is about color, she explained. Jewelers don’t have to love fashion, they just have to sell it. To learn about it, she encouraged jewelers to read all the fashion magazines and make them available to their staffs to read as well.

“Sell color in a ladder of benefits,” she advised. “What it is, what it does, and how it makes you feel.”

For spring and summer, the most fashionable colors are pink and coral, and come fall, the color palette will deepen to browns and burgundy. “So buy lots of garnet,” she said. “And when you train your associates to sell it, make them describe the ring without using the words ‘pretty,’ ‘beautiful,’ or ‘red.’

She then channeled her presentation into a review of the various methods of training and learning, reminding the audience that not every person learns the same way. Some are auditory learners, some are visual learners, and some are kinesthetic learners. Effective training will have something for everyone and will incorporate the appropriate method of delivery to reach every staff member.