It’s Not Training, It’s Shopping!

“Margins are not shrinking in color stone sales,” said Doug Hucker, executive director of the American Gem Trade Association, during his Friday seminar “Add More Color to Your Life.” He wants jewelers to get more involved with color. “Color is everywhere,” he said. “It’s hot!”

To prove his point, Hucker showed random pages from many of the latest fashion magazines, including W, InStyle, Town and Country, Elle, Women’s Wear Daily, Vogue, and Lucky.

A jeweler doesn’t need any better marketing campaign for colored stone jewelry, he said. “These magazines are telling women how to dress, how to put on make-up.” “These magazines are telling us how to accessorize, what colors to mix and match, and what jewelry will go with what.”

Hucker added, “If you’re not selling color, then you need help in rethinking what you’re doing. It’s not complex, but it requires discipline and engaging your staff.”

Hucker said the key is to understand that women are buying the majority of jewelry as a self purchase, so don’t try to teach your staff how to be gemologists. They’ll have more fun reading fashion magazines.

“Put it together for your staff,” said Hucker. “Take a page of color with shoes or dresses, and ask them what jewelry will go with it. It’s not training—it’s shopping!

Women’s desire for colored stone jewelry arises from the basic appeal of color, said Hucker. “So get your people comfortable with color. Whenever you have training time, pull colored stone jewelry out of your showcases.”

Hucker also advised jewelers to prepare their people by asking them questions. The three basic questions are: What is it? How much is it? And why is it that much? “How many of your sales staff are prepared?” asked Hucker.

For example, the answer to the question, “What’s a zircon?” should be simple. “It’s a beautiful natural gemstone,” Hucker said. “There are certain things you need to say, and the first is about the gem’s authenticity. Yes, it’s a real, natural gemstone.”

Hucker added, “Get them talking about the gemstone, because if the customer comes in, and they don’t have the answer, where’s your customer going to go?”