Rapaport Magazine
Retail

How does your sales approach reflect your store’s philosophy?


Two independent jewelers explain their strategies for providing personalized customer service.

By Phyllis Schiller
BONNIE L. PICCONE
MANAGER, STAFF Development
Van Scoy Jewelers
Wyomissing, Pennsylvania

"We are known as a friendly and pressure-free store. We are an independent, which people seem to like. We welcome every person. Our customers have become friends. We support the community, and they support us as well, because they know we’re locally owned and very active in helping them out. Our approach is based on many hours of sales training and guidelines from retail experts. We follow the basic sales steps, [such as] greeting the customer, establishing rapport...but we adapt to the type of customer we are helping.

“For example, some business professionals often just want the facts. So we would get right to the point, businesslike but in a friendly manner. With a young couple who may not have done research on their own, we take the time to educate them about diamonds. A single gentleman may come in quite nervous, perhaps worried he will be pressured into spending more than he can afford. We start by introducing ourselves with a handshake and asking him questions, such as whether his fiancée has given him any hints on the diamond shape or type of metal she prefers.... It’s not a quiz, and we want to put him at his ease. Or we may have an older couple celebrating an anniversary or a milestone, who have a diamond ring they want to repurpose. We can suggest remaking it into a pendant inside a floating heart made from the band so she can wear it on a chain, close to her heart. With same-sex couples, we are happy to sell two engagement rings or a custom design with special meaning to them.

“We have a full library of books on selling that we encourage the staff to read. We attend educational seminars. We are always learning."

BARBARA HIGHT-RANDALL
CO-OWNER
Hight & Randall Personal Jeweler
Rochester, Minnesota
"We don’t have specific training sessions for our staff. It’s not structured. It’s by osmosis. We share some things with them, such as the elements of a new designer, the facts the customer needs to know. But from our point of view, interactions with customers have to fit under the umbrella of what it means to be a personal jeweler, which essentially is that not only do we take care of your jewelry, we take care of you.

“We emphasize that through transparency and honesty of representation. If customers bring in a piece of jewelry, we give them a lesson under the microscope so they can see if something is paper-thin or cracked and why it needs repair. Whenever we sell a diamond that’s laser-inscribed, we emphasize the need to copy that number and keep it someplace handy. Our philosophy is selling through education.

“Rather than being all about the transaction, we are definitely relational. We’re a small store, and our goal is to be by appointment only, but we still do have walk-ins. And we take the time to sit down with guests in our offices and talk. We get a lot of referrals, and we strive to live up to whatever kind words were expressed.

“Millennials often come in with a whole boatload of data off the internet. We don’t argue with the data, but we become the translator of that information. With the gentleman, we might explain about proportions and other mechanics in words he’s comfortable with, showing how each diamond is individual. The lady might have in mind certain elements. We talk to her about how the design will suit her lifestyle. It’s a partnership.... We’re their guide through the jungle."

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - November 2018. To subscribe click here.

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