If customers comment about jewelry price increases, consider it an opportunity to reset their perceived value framework. Shock them and say, “Yes, this is true.” Then add, “However, what is more accurate to say is that gold and platinum are more valuable now than they were a couple of years ago.” Pause for dramatic effect and then say, “As a result, the jewelry you already own is also more valuable.”
If you’re not stocking enough platinum bridal products in a variety of sizes and styles, then you’re not closing as many platinum sales as your competition. This guarantees you missed out selling a woman one of her most important pieces of jewelry. It’s especially important to stock a fairly wide selection of wedding rings in addition to engagement rings and findings. According to Modern Bride and Platinum Guild International, 81 percent of brides-to-be prefer their rings in platinum. That represents an opportunity that’s not being addressed, let alone maximized, in U.S. jewelry stores.
And even if the vast majority of your better bridal platinum sales are to men, very few buy an engagement ring without some female direction and input. The bride-to-be has done her dreaming, reading, and shopping homework about this ring for years. She played with her mother’s rings, watched her girlfriends get rings, walked the mall looking in jewelry store windows, and downloaded information from Web sites; she might have even used the technology found on many jewelry sites to design her own ring (and e-mailed it to her friends for their input). So, given the real dynamics in the better bridal category, what’s a jeweler to do?
To sell more jewelry, be prepared to change the way your store does business. Recognize the opportunity gaps that naturally occur, and work to create innovative ways to exploit them. Focus on the fact that women routinely say they do not feel welcome in jewelry stores, yet they control the majority of jewelry purchases, especially the big-ticket sales, at least indirectly. And consider this finding uncovered by PGI: When interviewed upon exiting a jewelry store, women said that two out of three times they were not shown platinum jewelry.
First, hire a mystery shopper and have her shop your store. With the initial reports in hand, start the next meeting with your sales associates by telling them you hired an independent professional mystery shopper to review and judge their sales techniques. Second, tell them that this information is your “baseline” for the store and its employees, and you will have the store shopped several more times a year, from now on. Third, begin to assimilate the findings in the course of doing business, and focus individually (in private) on specific areas of weakness uncovered by the research. Fourth, tell sales associates to start welcoming and servicing the living daylights out of the women who walk into your store and browse the bridal counter and the rest of your fashion jewelry. As Claudia Rose of the Diamond Promotion Service said: “Love your browsers!” (See “DPS Retail Landscape Study: It’s Rough Terrain for Jewelers,” JCK, September 2006, p. 109.)
Assure your sales team that this is critical to the business and you are committed to not only growing your business but also ensuring them that their incentives and bonuses tie into the increased sales that this new training process will create. This is an opportunity for them to improve their own skills and quantifiably show progress from report to report. Accountability is a critical element in any successful business or career, and it needs to be brought to bear in a constructive approach to better selling and, ultimately, job satisfaction.