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At Halloween, Beware of ‘Vampire Customers’ in Your Jewelry Store

Here are some tips for recognizing and dealing with them.




AT THIS TIME of year, some clients seem to come out of nowhere to haunt us.

In this case, they are called “vampire customers.” They literally suck the lifeblood out of staff. And even with all the “Shane Deckerisms” applied, they waste time and never buy.

How it starts is a simple contact such as an email or in-person visit. These customers do not leave a door open to starting a relationship, they don’t react to open-ended questions, and they typically avoid anything but the pursuit of staff’s knowledge. Staff can try to show the value of dealing with the store, but inevitably, these clients go back to their lair to think of new questions. It’s apparent that they will never buy from us and want the information so they can then make their own “informed” decision of what to buy online.

Staff will persist in helping, hoping that this client will be an exception, yet this client continues to ask more and more. At a certain point, the staff get paler and paler as their blood is sucked out of them.

This client has some tell-tale signs:

  • Asks questions about almost every aspect of a product,  from ratios to millimeter sizes.
  • Asks to see different items on their hands to compare.
  • Takes lots of pictures of the product, from the top, side, even bottom.
  • Will come back in or ask for email follow up, followed by more questions, and more follow-up.
  • Often forgets who they are talking to and may have a few retailers sacrificing blood at the same time.
  • Has great expertise in jewelers “phishing” and “ghosting.”
  • May ask for some designs to be sent or even CAD ideas shown to them.
  • Never puts a dollar on the table for any service.
  • Enters the store looking pale and gaunt but leaves looking flush from sucking the blood out of staff.

Some things to try that may work:

  • Hang garlic wreathes at the store entrance.
  • Keep email to no more than three bullet points and suggest a physical visit, then hope point No. 1 helps.
  • When they start taking pictures, note the hands to see if they are withered and bluish from a lack of fresh blood.
  • Keep silver jewelry nearby to hand to them, to see if it burns their flesh.
  • Try to allow for lots of sunlight in the store.
  • If they cover their head and use sunglasses, do not look into their eyes directly as they may overcome you.
  • Be prepared. They are everywhere, and with shorter days they have more time to shop.

David Blitt owns Troy Shoppe Jewellers in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.



When There’s No Succession Plan, Call Wilkerson

Bob Wesley, owner of Robert C. Wesley Jewelers in Scottsdale, Ariz., was a third-generation jeweler. When it was time to enjoy life on the other side of the counter, he weighed his options. His lease was nearing renewal time and with no succession plan, he decided it was time to call Wilkerson. There was plenty of inventory to sell and at first, says Wesley, he thought he might try to manage a sale himself. But he’s glad he didn’t. “There’s no way I could have done this as well as Wilkerson,” he says. Wilkerson took responsibility for the entire event, with every detail — from advertising to accounting — done, dusted and managed by the Wilkerson team. “It’s the complete package,” he says of the Wilkerson method of helping jewelers to easily go on to the next phase of their lives. “There’s no way any retailer can duplicate what they’ve done.”

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