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Are Well-Researched Customers a Hindrance or an Opportunity? The Brain Squad Sounds Off

Depending on the information, it can be a bit of both.




  • I welcome my customers to educate themselves! I want them to research, shop other stores, see who they feel gives them the best information, the best customer service and best price. Also, what comes with the purchase? We are a full service jeweler and we do repairs, sizing, etc. Other stores send everything out. People like the idea that we are full service to them and that we don’t charge you for a warranty. — Mary Jo Chanski, Hannoush Jewelers, Rutland, VT
  • We have a higher closing rate on the shoppers that have done the research and have shopped around already. It works out as a better opportunity to close the sale. — Frank Salinardi, Linardi’s Jewelers, Plantation, FL
  • Huge help. It used to take 9-10 hours over a six-week period to sell an engagement ring. I can do it in 20 minutes now. I rarely get to give my 10-minute “4 Cs” spiel. — Steven B. Goldfarb, Alvin Goldfarb Jeweler, Bellevue, WA
  • I think it is great. It gives us a good idea of what is popular in the market. — Amanda Lanteigne, Gold-n-Memories, Steinbach, MB
  • Depends. If they are a “know it all” customer, it’s definitely a hindrance. — Alison Sophy, Sophy Jewelers, St. Clair, PA
  • Opportunity to close. When a customer knows what they want, at that point, it is easy to show them how you can meet their needs. — Joel Wiland, J. David’s Jewelry, Broken Arrow, OK
  • I believe that this is both. Hindrance when they have flawed info — not understanding the colors especially. An opportunity to show them in person what they think they have been looking at online. Again, using color as a reference and that some stones may have a body color but face up look better or worse than a stone of same color. — Shari Lewis, Cravens & Lewis Jewelers, Georgetown, KY
  • You have the task of either having the easiest sale or the impossible sale because they are totally confused and truly need help, or they know it all and you are just there to satisfy their decision. The buyer who comes in with all the facts are the greatest danger to themselves because they have set themselves up to be targets of the best storytellers/sellers and seldom are capable of knowing what is the best option for their purchase. — Ed Menk, E.L. Menk Jewelers, Brainerd, MN
  • Love when they think they know… we can play on it for exact design concepts that they already have decided they love and show similar instead of contrasting and then re-educate as needed. But it helps us skip over the confusion of blasting too many ideas at once. — Erika Godfrey, Hawthorne Jewelry, Kearney, NE
  • It can be an opportunity. It is a hindrance, however, if they have a photo of some offshore disposable jewelry piece of poo that they want to know if you can custom-build one for them just like it for less money. They you have to explain that it is illegal to copy a design, and number two, to make one piece is going to be way more expensive than something that has been made in quantities of thousands. — Murphy McMahon, Murphy McMahon & Co., Kalispell, MT
  • It is definitely an opportunity to showcase the benefits of shopping in a “Mom and Pop” store and to remind them that trust is key when making one of the most important decisions you will ever make. — Andrew Russakoff, Russakoff Jewelers, Skowhegan, ME
  • It makes our job much easier when a customer walks in with his phone and says, “This is the ring my fiancée wants.” Nine out of 10 times, we will have the ring to show him, and from there we can move on to showing him loose diamonds. We will then ask a customer if they have done any research about diamonds. If they say yes, we will then go into order of importance of the 4 Cs. The more they know, the better. Sometimes if they come in cold, they will have to think and do research. — Michael’s Jewelers, Yardley, PA
  • Opportunity. Most people now know that everything you read online is not totally true. We have enough examples now of online purchases that were not what they were advertised to be that we can throw some doubt into the minds of the potential online purchaser. If they come into your store, they are obviously not completely sold on the Internet anyway. We embrace it and close a lot of those sales. — Rick Sanders, Sanders Jewelers, Gainesville, FL
  • I have found both sides of the coin. The problem isn’t one of having the research, it is more of getting misinformation and just bad information. That is where it seems the Internet is the source of truth and brick-and-mortar stores are just liars. Just this week, I had to explain to a young guy why the information he received on moissanite was wrong when he was told to look for excellent cut. — David Blitt, Troy Shoppe Jewellers, Calgary, AB
  • The information they know is fine, and sometimes makes the presentations easier. It’s the margins that kill us! — Debbie Fox, Fox Fine Jewelry, Ventura, CA
  • I love it! Informed clients make my job easier! Once I know they are shopping around to other stores, I know exactly what tools to arm them with and educate them. I teach them things like how to use a loupe (if the sales associate at other stores use a loupe wrong, then my client totally knows they don’t know what they are doing). I show them the difference with the loupe of a VS-I1 stone. I take them in all different lights in the store; we even talk about Internet pricing. I believe buying a diamond is just like buying a truck: everyone has that same truck in similar prices, so why not pick the dealership you like and trust? — Stephenie Bjorkman, Sami Fine Jewelry, Fountain Hills, AZ
  • Hindrance. The more research they’ve done, the more difficult to close the sale. They are shopping around, pitting local jewelers against each other. — Jill Hornik, Jae’s Jewelers, Coral Gables, FL
  • It is both. A good deal of the time, the “information” gathered is mostly true or even mostly false. I try to be gentle when correcting misinformation gained online. There have been a couple of instances where I have bowed out of a potential sale because of the “expertise” gained online, but that is the exception. The Internet provides a lot of inspiration for design ideas, which I welcome. When a guy comes in with his phone set to her Pinterest page, it makes finding the right ring pretty dang easy. — Cliff Yankovich, Chimera Design, Lowell, MI

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. jewelry store, you’re invited to join the INSTORE Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting the jewelry industry. Good deal, right? Sign up here.



She Wanted to Spend More Time with Her Kids. She Called Wilkerson.

Your children are precious. More precious than gold? Absolutely! Just ask Lesley Ann Davis, owner of Lesley Ann Jewels, an independent jewelry store that — until the end of 2023 — had quite a following in Houston, Texas. To spend more time with her four sons, all in high school, she decided to close her store. Luckily, she was familiar with Wilkerson and called them as soon as she knew she wanted to move on to bigger, better and more family-focused things. Was she happy with her decision? Yes, she was. Says Davis, “Any owner looking to make that life change, looking to retire, looking to close, looking for a pause in their career, I would recommend Wilkerson. Hands down!”

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