Guest Writer: Leonard Zell

The gem and jewelry industry is blessed with many experts in
a variety of disciplines that help retailers be better retailers. In short,
their goal is to help retailers sell more jewelry. No one is more passionate about
that subject than Leonard Zell. The article “Do You Show Too Much” appeared in
the August 2010 issue of “Jewellery Focus,” a UK-based trade magazine.

Do You Show Too Much?

By Leonard Zell

Most salespeople do. 
I see this all the time in jewelry stores from the finest luxury stores
to the middle price ones.  This
happens not only in the UK, but when I conduct sales training world wide.  It is a common problem and jewelers
don’t know quite how to curb it and when they do, don’t enforce it.

In this article, like all my previous ones, I will give you
the reasons why and how to keep the jewelery down to one or two pieces.  First, here are four powerful reasons:

Confuses Your
– When you have three or more pieces of jewelery or watches
out  on the counter pad, not one of
them looks special and the customer has trouble making up their mind, and that
is when you get that dreaded question from your customers, “I don’t know,
which  one is your favorite?”  You have only a 50% chance of guessing
right and if you miss you could lose that sale and the customer forever.  My students ask me, “Can I say that it
is your decision because you are the one that will be wearing it?”  You can, but I would not recommend that
because you are passing the buck back to your customer and are no longer an
expert in their eyes.  My best
answer to you is to limit it to two rings and most often only one and your
customer won’t ask you which is your favorite.

Security – An ex
professional jewelry thief, who I wrote about in a previous issue, said to me,
“Leonard, when I stole from  the
finest jewelry stores on Fifth Avenue in New York, I always saw more than two
of anything on the counter pad and usually three to five pieces of jewelery.  I looked at it as a gift because when
one suddenly disappears the salesperson is not quite sure how many they had up
and were afraid to accuse me.  This
is because I know most salespeople prejudge customers and I am very well
dressed and groomed and told them I just came from the bank who highly
recommended your store.  I say I am
in a hurry to make a plane and have to buy a diamond for our tenth wedding

“Salespeople as well as store managers believe me as someone
they can trust.  I make sure that
between rushing to the window and asking the salesperson to keep the jewelery
out to help me make up my mind, he gets so confused he doesn’t know if anything
is missing until I am long gone.”

And Even More Danger
– The ex-thief also told me, “When the salesperson has all that jewelery on the
counter pad he asks if he would please get a diamond ring from the window he
saw.  The salesperson looks around
for someone to watch the jewelery, but the lady, who is my confederate,
distracts the nearest salesperson so there is no one to watch the jewelery why
the salesperson goes to the window. 
That’s when I tell the salesperson that I’ll watch it for him.  When he returns, he has no idea that a
ring is missing because he’s so eager to show me that expensive diamond from
the window.”  He said, “Leonard, it
was like taking candy from a baby.”

He also told me the reason this was so easy for him is
because jewelers do not make a hard and fast rule to have their salespeople up
front on the sales floor near by to assist a salesperson.  They are toward the back or in a room
behind the sales floor.  If there
is just one then his confederate will keep her busy so there better be another
salesperson ready. I wrote an article about this in the June 2009 issue, “Be in
the Right place.”  It will be on
the Jewellery Focus web site and I recommend you have all your salespeople read

Smudged Jewelery
– After the customer has left, the salesperson has all that Jewellery to put
back in the showcase.  I have seen
this happen often.  He rushes to
put back the diamond rings to wait on the next customer and doesn’t wipe them
off. The next salesperson is embarrassed when they show the same ring with a
smudge on the diamond.

These four reasons should put fear into any jeweler to take
note and do something.  This is
what I recommend.  Have a policy that
limits the amount of jewelery on the counter pad to one piece unless the second
one is needed to compare.  However,
when the customer makes up their mind, put it back.  The other exception is if the salesperson is showing
add-ons.  Some of your salespeople
may complain that one piece is too strict.  Just ask them to give you a reason why they have more than
two pieces out and they will say they were afraid to offend the customer or
they had not yet made up their mind. 
If so, remind them they are allowing themselves to get asked that
question, “Which one is your favorite?”

The reason why salespeople are so defensive about putting
Jewellery back in the showcase is that they do not know how to ask for it
back.  Most of them don’t even look
at the customer first but at the ring on her finger, or on the counter pad and
then they ask the customer.  When
they finally look up at the customer, the salesperson is not smiling.  Of course it looks like he is not
trusting the customer.  Look up at
the customer’s eyes, smile and then ask to put it back while reaching for the
ring, holding your smile.  The
customer will smile back and be happy to give it back to you.

You have read it often in my columns about the power of your
smile.  You need it all the time
when selling fine jewelery, especially in this case. 


Leonard Zell is the
owner of Professional Jewelry Sales Training. He comes from a retail jewelry
background and has been a sales training expert for several decades. To learn
more about Zell’s sales seminars and many sales products please visit his
website at

Follow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
Follow JCK on Twitter: @jckmagazine
Follow JCK on Facebook: @jckmagazine
JCK logo

Log Out

Are you sure you want to log out?

CancelLog out