Navigator for jewelry trade
Professional retail trade starts with obtaining knowledge. This gives the seller self-confidence and allows monitoring the process of selling. What knowledge is needed? Where can you get it and how to systematize? The answers to these questions are in our today's article.
Know and love your goods
To know your product, to know the jewelry, means to perfectly know manufacturers, range, prices, technologies, materials, gemology, styles, fashion trends and to know the history of jewelry. You can get this knowledge from different sources. Consider the table "Product Knowledge" – the first column lists the main categories of knowledge about jewelry, and the second – sources of information on these categories. Fill in the table to the end yourself: what categories of knowledge we have not yet recorded, and about what possible sources of information have forgotten. And now with arrows connect the points from the first and the second columns. And never miss the opportunity to get (extract, fish out, pull out, steal) valuable for you information from available to you these or other sources!!!
So, that is what the jewelry seller-consultant has to know:
About the product range – basic jewelry assortment groups, structural elements of various ornaments. To know the product range of each manufacturer. For example, are there earrings, and/or a pendant of suitable design, model and insert, for this model of a ring? Probably, another manufacturer has something that is a complete set with this ornament. You just have to know exactly what chain weave should be chosen for the bracelet with the same weave, what color of gold, etc.
About the manufacturer – when it was founded (how long at the market), the location, if there is any specialization (for example, ‘X’ specializes in chains and bracelets, ‘Y’ – in ornaments with inserts of colored stones, while ‘Z’ – in jewelry with inserts of precious stones of the first group, etc.), what equipment is used (for example, plant ‘A’ has Italian weaving machines, specialists (well-known artists, designers, cutters), awards, achievements (participation and winnings in the industrial competitions).
Range of goods: the basic assortment lines, which a given manufacturer produces, in what color of metal different models are possible (what ligatures uses in alloys), what inserts uses in ornaments, what model range, design, jewelry style, what technologies uses (rhodium , gilding, hot enamels, etc.).
The manufacturer’s strengths (large range, superior quality, rapidly and frequently renewed range of goods, possibility to order the item you liked, but with another insert than that on the counter, etc.
The manufacturer’s weaknesses (poor earring fixture on earrings’ locks, thin shank, prone to deformation, on some models of the rings, large weight, therefore more expensive, etc.)
Draw up the manufacturer’s passport for each supplier, which will contain information about him. If the number of suppliers in your salon is very large, make such passports for the biggest and the most respectable (for example, top twenty). Also make folders to collect advertising booklets, catalogs, magazine articles about these manufacturers.
! See for the sample of the manufacturer’s passport in "Psychology of selling jewelry" directory.
About prices – the seller has to orientate in cost of gold both per gram (in different range groups, from different suppliers) and of the item as a whole. You must quickly understand and answer the buyer if he/she asks, “Are the earrings at 3540 rubles, which I saw on the counter last week, already sold?” and give the answer to the question,"What is the price per gram of your chains?” Also, the seller must always be ready to talk about the principles of price formation of jewelry in general.
If a customer has a question about the price of the jewelry in the show-case, and you, in order to answer the question have to find the key, open the show-case, you risk to fail the sale. The buyer, meanwhile, ‘cools down’, begins browsing other items and decides that he does not have time to wait, or (even worse) makes a conclusion that you have never sold this model and know nothing about this item, and perhaps it is something wrong with it. There are many reasons why the knowledge of the price of goods is very important. Among them are such as, the possibility to show the customer goods of a certain price interval, the ability to be a professional in the customer’s eyes, and as a result, the customer’s trust; and for you – your growing self-confidence, possibility to quickly and efficiently respond to phone calls, etc.
About materials – the seller-consultant should hold the basic information and be able to talk about metals and alloys, ligatures, inserts – all kinds of inserts that are in the range. The seller-consultant should know the elements of gemology. It is important to know about any other materials, used in jewelry – rubber, ivory, mother-of-pearl, fine woods, glass, enamel, strasses, etc.
About characteristics – must orientate in inserts’ characteristics, know their classification and qualitative indicators.
About manufacturing technologies – the seller-consultant must orientate in technologies and techniques used in jewelry manufacturing. He/she must be able to explain to customers, what is blackening, silver plating, oxidation, rhodiuming, enameling, etching, filigree, etc.
About fashion trends – should know and be able to talk about the latest trends in jewelry fashion.
On peculiarities of selection – you need to know the main rules of jewelry choice depending on bodily constitution, the form of his/her face, hand, the color of eyes, hair, etc. It is necessary to have the skill to match the jewelry to each other, a dress, a suit, an event. Yes, yes, you are not just only a seller; you are a stylist as well.
About the jewelry history and art – the seller-consultant should know and be able to illustrate his presentation with short, emotionally colored stories about what they used to wear, how they used to wear, and what came to the modern culture of jewelry wearing from the past. He should see into styles: in any ornament it is possible to find elements referring it to a particular style; it will help selling.
Let it sound loud, and even utopian, but the seller-consultant must know ALL what, in any way, has to do with jewelry. At least to aspire to this, to work in this direction constantly.
Now we know the jewelry. And how to take a fancy for the jewelry? The paradox is that the more you know, the more you love the object of your knowledge. If you have enough knowledge in mathematics, you find pleasure in solving problems. If you have seriously worked on any report on history, were for a long time and a lot searching for information on a specific topic, then you cannot remain indifferent to the historical identity or the era, that you have written about. The same with jewelry – the more you begin to understand and focus on this issue, the more you are captured by the feeling of love to it. And this feeling is great!
Know and love your customers
To sell means to help the customers to get what they need, and encourage their good mood. Before, during and after the purchase.
To know the customers means: 1) to understand what the buyers can be like, how they behave and, the most important thing, to know the reason of such behavior; 2) to know the customers’ names, their tastes, the jewelry, they already have, their desires and dreams; create personal clients’ database and actively work with it.
There are a lot of types of customers. All these classifications have different foundations and are quite common for the business literature, and periodicals, including the jewelry industry issues. And we will not repeat them again. Much more important and efficient is to use the typology which every seller bears in mind. Say yes, that even in the shops of the same network located in different districts of the city, there will be different customers. So, their typology will be different in each shop too. It often happens that the number of unloved, complex, troublesome customers in the seller’s personal typology is 3-4 times more than the number of good and loved ones.
Among the "problem" customers you will necessarily meet the following types:
- “know-it-alls” (come to the store to demonstrate their superiority over the seller in the field of jewelry knowledge);
- "time killers"(come without a specific purpose of buying something, just wait out free time waiting for the end of the lunch break or the beginning of a meeting);
- aggressive (people who openly, sometimes rudely express their dissatisfaction with the goods, prices, sellers etc.);
- cads (ill-bred people, who can call you a fool, be saucy, humiliate with words and behavior both the seller and other buyers);
- arrogant ( people, demonstrating with their behavior, words and manners, their material, social, intellectual superiority);
- indecisive (doubting buyers, who can't make a decision of the purchase, they often do not have their own opinion, are influenced from the outside, dependent on others’ opinions and on the circumstances – they need a lot of time on choice);
- “want to speak” (lonely people, suffering from the lack of communication; the purpose of their visit is communication with the seller; they can be either old women or young housewives; both women and men);
- drunk (no comment);
- foreigners (language barrier creates psychological one, more often it concerns ethnic groups, who have arrived for work), etc.
From positive categories, first of all should be singled out those who know what they want, and quickly make up their mind of what to buy, and also regular buyers. But a lot of sellers note that the majority of regular buyers also belong to the category of “problem” customers. But no matter how “problem” the buyer is, if he made an expensive purchase, he should be forgiven.
The most important for the seller is not only single out the different types of buyers. The main thing is to understand why the customer, communicating with the sales assistant, behaves in the store like that. Though his behavior seems horrible to you, remember, he has certain reasons for it. Simply they are inaccessible for us, we cannot see them. What causes such impropriety? You can answer this question yourself. The client is rude or aggressive – problems with upbringing, parents, or somebody has just affected him that he poured out everything on us; arrogant and “know-it-all” – inferiority complex; “want to speak” – unhappy lonely unrealized people etc. Such behavior is typical of people with personal problems. Very often unpleasant way of interacting is common psychological defense, which appeared due to former psychological traumas. Having realized what underlies the unpleasant conduct, you can justify any behavior. We need to understand that a person is often unhappy himself because of some of his character traits.
As for regular customers, you should know them by sight, by name, to organize personal attitude to them. If you know the buyer’s name, address him/her by name. The name is pronounced a bit louder than the other words in the sentence, as well as all words of courtesy. Between the name and other words intonation pauses are made. The professionalism of the seller in this part is in his ability to get off on the right foot with regular customers in such a way that the buyer also knows you by name, and comes to the store to look for a personal contact namely with you, wishing to make a purchase namely from you, with your help. Form personal clients’ database. After all, such seller is priceless.
What does ‘to love your customers’ mean? Just take a person as he is. Let him be himself. Try to be unbiased to anyone who comes to your store. It is known how erroneous the assessment of a person by clothing, manner to behave, to speak, can be. You yourself can give a lot of examples when an unattractive and unpleasant in behavior person appears to be a buyer of rather expensive ornaments.
Buyers should not be blamed for their carelessness or bad mood, moreover, if you don’t know the reason for that. It doesn’t matter in what mood they come to you, it is important in what mood they leave.
Try to serve each visitor as if he is a very significant and important person for you, but not a stranger. In fact, it’s like this. The customer is the only reason for opening jewelry stores and working in it. If there’s no customer – there’s no store, no you as an expert, no your job. Get sincerely interested in the buyer’s problem; direct all your knowledge, skills, all your professionalism to HELP the buyer. How you treat the customers, – that they become!
Forget about money, about your salary, and about your profit. When there is free confidential communication, it is absurdly to think of how it benefits you. Let it be only sincere interest and desire to help the customer to realize his wishes. Try to change your attitude to the customers, try to give them more, without expecting anything in return. Just for no particular reason. And you will get much more than just temporary material benefit; – you will get a customer for all your life.
When you show genuine interest in and concern of the customer, he feels it and will employ your services and offers as the best.
Know and love your business rivals
To know your business rivals means to know the jewelry market in your district, city, and region. To know where the jewelry salons are located, who are their suppliers, what the price of similar goods (price per gram of metal in various range groups and pricing) is, what promotion actions they organize, how they lay out the product, how sales advisors work, etc. The closer geographically your competitors are – the more you should know about them. Do not be lazy and from time to time visit the jewelry shops of your city. You are an expert, – you know everything about the jewelry market. But in practice it often happens that customers know more about your competitors than you. Fill in the table with data about your rivals; it will help you.
! See for the table "Competitive Analysis" in "Psychology of selling jewelry" directory.
To love the business rivals means to respect them. Under no circumstances, speak ill of them, especially to your customers. Firstly, it makes no sense, because it will be accepted by the buyer as the result of competition; secondly, criticizing the rivals in response to what they slander about your store, you descend to their level and therefore, you are not better than they are. Do not unite in criticism with dissatisfied competitors’ customers, and criticize nothing in general. It will not elevate you.
Do not be afraid to let the buyer go to the rival’s store. The buyer has the right to. Such is jewelry’s specific character as commodity, it is not living essentials. Therefore, no matter how much an item costs, cash expenses are perceived as significant. And this means that the buyer for a long time will think over, compare different offers, prices, quality and spend a lot of time to find a desired variant. Give the buyer time to tune in his choice. Respect the customer’s serious approach to jewelry purchasing. The buyer has the right to freedom of choice. Do not make the choice for him. Leave it to your customers’ pleasure!
By the way, no need to fear of a neighboring jewelry store, but fear of organizations that provide other consumer goods and services. There is a huge number of companies in the market, which pretend to money that customers could leave in your store. They are mobile phones shops, makeup and perfumes shops, fitness centers and beauty salons, travel agencies, even pharmacies with vitamin complexes and biological supplements, – expenses for their services are comparable with the cost of a jewelry item.
Instead of worrying that the buyer will go to a nearby jewelry store, you need to show him your high professionalism and level of service. Then the buyer will return to you again and again and you will never be afraid of any business rivals.
Author: Anastasia FISENKO, jewelry companies’ business trainer and business consultant