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Billy Metzer: Resurrecting the Sale

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Resurrecting the Sale

A tale of one customer provides a valuable lesson on assumptions.

BY BILLY METZER

Published in the May 2014 issue.

I had a customer last year who taught me a valuable lesson: Never assume anything.
My customer — let’s call her Patti — came to me looking at diamond semi-mounts last June. We hit it off immediately, but she let me know that she and her boyfriend — let’s call him Leroy — had an unconventional engagement arrangement: She would buy the semi-mount herself, while finding the perfect diamond would be up to Leroy.

She purchased a beautiful halo, two-tone pavé diamond setting from me.

Months went by without a word from Patti or Leroy. As the season was approaching, I decided to touch base with Patti to see what had happened to her vacant ring.

She was glad to hear from me and excited, but confessed that she had grown impatient with Leroy over the months since purchasing her setting and decided to tip the scales. So she took him diamond-shopping at big-box jewelers.

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When I asked why she hadn’t called on me, she said she did not realize I sold loose diamonds and that she had put a deposit down on a round cut already. (Imagine my gut-wrenching surprise!)

I asked Patti what the details of the diamond were, and when she didn’t know any other than carat weight, I knew this was not a good sign. So I asked her to call the sales associate and find out the remaining three Cs.

&#8220I could tell as she blankly
stared at the E-color round
in my tweezers that the
mistake she was making
was beginning to dawn on her.&#8221

Patti called me first thing the next day and informed me that she was looking at an M-color round, for which she felt she was paying a good price. I immediately asked her to come by, if for no other reason than to get more informed about the diamond she was buying. When Patti came in, I carefully explained to her that an M-color diamond may look OK inside a jewelry store, but once set in a G-color, pavé-set, halo mounting, the relative color contrast was going to be painfully obvious.

I have good rapport with Patti, so I could tell as she blankly stared at the E-color round in my tweezers that the mistake she was making was beginning to dawn on her.

Admittedly, she said she would prefer to buy a diamond from me and at such a better color, but could she afford it? I explained that I took partial blame for not making my diamond selection clear in the beginning, and offered her a great price. The E-color would cost her just $500 more.

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But with a $1,000, non-refundable deposit with the big-box, and the fact that Leroy did not have any extra money to put toward the diamond, we had one seemingly-insurmountable problem!

One week later (just before Christmas), Patti came back in devastated over her choice and obviously in love with our diamond. But I simply could not discount the stone any more.
After Christmas, with some time off to think about the fiasco, I called her to check in. And after pleading the big-box for a refund, she was still in the same predicament. I had realized that on one of her visits to my store in December, she had come in with a girlfriend — we’ll call her Tina — who was just as starry-eyed about diamond jewelry as was Patti.

We came up with an unconventional solution for everyone: Patti would transfer her in-store credit at the big-box to Tina, who will use it to deck herself out in fashion merchandise this year, paying Patti back over time; I would give Patti a little more time to come up with the difference in price; and none of us would mention any of the extra $500 to Leroy!

This latter part wasn’t terribly difficult for when he came in eventually with his fiancée to pick up the stunning ring, Leroy was just content Patti was happy — in fact, she was in tears! The hard work landed a diamond sale that seemed impossible, a happy couple, and even a happy girlfriend.

What we all learned in this process is: Never assume your customer knows your inventory, and never assume a sale is ever sunk!

Billy Metzer and his wife, Laura, own The Diamondaire in Naperville, IL.

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