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David Geller

David Geller: Build to the Moment of Truth

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On Running Your Shop: Build to the Moment of Truth

As with a high-school flame, you have to woo the customer

BY DAVID GELLER

Published in the March 2013 issue.

While many customers today will check the Internet before heading to a brick-and-mortar jeweler, there are some who visit a store first and then go home and buy on the Internet.

Now why would they do that?

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It most likely has to do with how they were not treated: Was it like cattle? Or was it like a houseguest or maybe even that girl who agreed to a date during your teen years?

I was taught by a high-school buddy that when you took a girl on a date you should build up to the kiss at the door. My pal had determined six touches throughout the evening was the magic number.

“You open the car door for her when you pick her up. Touch her back with the slightest nudge, showing her how to get into the car.” First touch!

“When you park, say, ‘Stay right there,’ and jump around to open her door. Extend your hand to help her out.” Second touch! “When the restaurant door is opened, put a hand on her back as she enters.” Third touch!

“So when you take her home, you may not have even held her hand, but a front-door embrace should not be a surprise!” It’s all about building up to the moment of truth.

Selling jewelry from the case, repairing heirlooms or doing a custom design should be approached similarly. You don’t “meet, greet and pounce” on a customer. You go through the “touch” process.

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OK, so how are customers treated on the Internet? The answer is, they aren’t. Although they are informed, trained and educated. The Internet has three main advantages over B&M retailers:

 Price. Yes, it is possible to often get a better price on the Web. But 80 percent of jewelry is still sold in stores, so customers obviously still like the traditional experience with polite staff to answer questions and make them feel at ease.

 Ability to compare stores. Forget it: you can’t compete with Google.

 Education. You can match the Internet here. Train the sales staff. Set up signs or flat-screen monitors or even iPads out in the showroom with lots of easy to find information about jewelry.

The final issue to consider is accessibility. There is no one on the Internet to tell a browser what she can and can’t look at. In a store, all the goodies are under lock and key. How to overcome this problem? Attentive care.

As soon as you see a customer looking at a ring for three seconds, take the ring out of the showcase, hand it to her and say something like: “Isn’t this a beaut?” Place the jewelry in her hands without asking. It shows you trust her. There is much here that is similar to dating skills. Use compliments, be courteous, and always be willing to help them try on jewelry. In short, woo them.

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