Selling to Generations X & Y

An educational seminar called “Client Profiles: Know Them, Sell Them” offers demographic insights into two younger generations. It was created by Jay Lell, former education director for the American Gem Society and current director of training and business development for the Diamond Promotion Service/DWA Communications, headquartered in Sunrise, Fla. The seminar, first presented at the 2001 AGS Conclave, included these sales tips:Explain why the product is important. Talk about the emotional aspects of owning the product. Help them visualize how they’ll look and what their friends will say when they wear the jewelry. Also discuss your services, warranties, and guarantees.

Tune into their frequency. Find out customers’ hobbies and interests so you can personalize your presentation.

Focus on accomplishments, not job titles, to boost your credibility. Sharing your knowledge, showing interest in their needs, and stressing how you can help them make the right decision is key to earning their respect.

Involve them in product familiarization, engage all of their senses, and keep the sale fast paced. Have them hold, wear, and feel the product. If you’re showing a watch, let them push the buttons and “experience” the features. Put a case mirror in front of them so they can see the projected image for themselves.

Use a multimedia approach. In showing diamond merchandise, use sales aids such as display pads and diamond quality documents and brochures, or host a “demo” mounting for loose diamonds. Use of the microscope or videos will also appeal to these groups.

Make them “stars.” Knowing customers’ interests allows you to put them “on stage.” For example, if a client is an artist and is participating in a gallery opening, anticipate the impression she’ll make wearing a unique piece of jewelry. Speculate on how it will evoke comments from friends and clients.

Set an example. Dress the part of a fine jewelry professional by wearing fashionable jewelry and a watch. Generations X and Y warm up to people they can identify with.

If they’re shopping with friends, involve the friends in the sale. Ask friends what they like about the item. If you don’t get positive responses, ask more questions and show different merchandise. Remember, these customers become bored quickly.

Defining the Generations

Group Born Total Births Time Capsule
Source: American Gem Society, Las Vegas, Nev.; National Center for Health Statistics via Davenport & Co, LLC, Richmond, Va., “2000 Annual Jewelry Industry Investment Conference
Mature 1901-1945 62 million radio, Depression, WWII
Baby Boomers 1946-1964 77 million TV, Cold War, civil rights, Vietnam, man on the moon
Generation X 1965-1976 45 million PCs, scandal, divorce, Challenger crash, video games
Generation Y 72 million 1977-1997 Internet, digital technology, domestic terrorism