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Commentary: The Business

Chuck Kuba: Our Business? It’s About Belief, Ritual and Ethic

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Or, in another word, love, so put those lab reports away


Ever hear the expression, “The older I get, the smarter my parents get”? As I was growing up, my mother used to say that, “Things happen in threes,” both good and bad. If somebody in the family died, she’d start looking over her shoulder for Malakh (the angel of death) to appear. I thought it was pretty nuts.

Years later, while working on one of my many college majors — I finally finished one in non-profit management — I took a course on comparative religion. Bear with me now, this will all make sense. I was taught that all religions are tripartite, that is, composed of three major parts: Belief, Ritual and Ethic. Wow, Mom just got smarter and me along with her.

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Fast forward now to 2007. Iowa Diamond was selected by Inc. Magazine for the Inc. 5000 as one of the fastest-growing small companies in the U.S. Our success was due in a large part to our sales training manual that I had reworked a few years earlier. Even though it’s chock full of theory (certainly not all original material), and procedures (copied the basics on most of that as well), it’s also grounded on the philosophy that “People make major purchases from salespeople they like.” First impressions are paramount. Get off on the wrong foot and you are toast.

Most important, I discovered there is such a thing as “tripartite engagement” (I made that up), which parallels tripartite religion: Love, Demonstration (not the least of which is the engagement ring), and Commitment (the promise of fidelity, trust, loyalty, etc.). Embrace this principle and you will be eons ahead of your competition who are still pointing at lab reports and literally sucking the romance out of getting engaged, while lying about selling GIA-certified diamonds.

&#8220Our success was due
in large part to our
training manual and the
philosophy that people
make purchases from
salespeople they like.” &#8221

While I’m on the subject, watch out for the lawsuits because they are coming. The GIA does not certify diamonds, they provide lab reports and there is an enormous legal difference. If you don’t believe me, call and ask them or go to gia.edu and search “certification.” But just to make sure, I went to the GIA booth at JCK Las Vegas and was told emphatically that the GIA does not certify stones of any kind or in any way. They provide lab reports. My attorneys tell me that if a customer purchases a diamond from us on the basis of it being certified a certain quality by the GIA, it could later be considered as fraud during, for instance, an insurance replacement claim dispute. And, really, don’t you get a little tired explaining why a “J” from one lab doesn’t look the same as a “J” from another lab?

If you really want to increase engagement and bridal sales, adopt the tripartite engagement concept. Concentrate on the love and devotion that brought that customer to you, the feelings of the moment, and the theater of the mind. Build upon the romance and watch their faces. Let science take its course (fodder for another article) and let it become your best salesperson. Iowa Diamond enjoys a 26 market share of the engagement business in our metropolitan statistical area (MSA) and we have a nearly 75 percent closing ratio. Even so, we work on trying to find ways to heighten the engagement-ring buying experience for couples every three days. Thanks, Mom.


Chuck Kuba is the owner of Iowa Diamond in Des Moines, IA.

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