Nobody’s perfect — even store owners. Here, the Brain Squad admits its collective failings when it comes to selling jewelry.

  • Talking toooo much! I was that person that had the piece sold, and then before I knew it, they were there so long they started to talk themselves out of it. I learned later to start walking toward the cash register to finish the sale. — Rita Wade, Wade Designs Jewelry, Rocky Mount, NC
  • Talking too long. I need to remember that not everyone wants a crash course in antique jewelry. — James Doggett, Doggett Jewelry, Kingston, NH
  • I sometimes get too overconfident and figure that “why shouldn’t they buy from my store?” Sometimes I need a kick in the head. — David Mann Cyrkin, David Mann Jewelers, Geneseo, NY
  • Not adding on to the sale and not suggesting an idea for a future sale. — Gene Poole, Hudson-Poole Jewelers, Tuscaloosa, AL
  • I get too easily irritated at stupid customer comments. — Peter Tims, White Mountain Jewelers, Show Low, AZ
  • I am not on the floor much, but the most recent mistake I made was clerking a customer. I helped her with what she came in for then I headed to the computer to ring her up. She said, “Before I pay, could you show me this ring?” Duh. — Kristin Cornwell, Cornwell Jewelers, Athens, OH
  • Dropping stuff. (Quite embarrassing!) — Marta Jones-Couch, Elements Ltd., Des Moines, IA
  • Assuming everyone is on a tight budget. I was trained never to pre-judge and always show big and then narrow down, but I have a tendency to assume they’re looking for the least expensive option. — Kas Jacquot, Kas A Designs, Jefferson City, MO
  • Showing too much; confusing the customer with too many choices. — Jim Greenfield, Spritz Jewelers, Champaign, IL
  • Hurrying the customer along. And not taking the time to bring up more ideas and thoughts on what we can do. — Meg Rankin, J. Rankin Jewellers, Edmonds, WA
  • Too often, if we don’t have exactly what a customer wants, we offer to order or make it instead of selling a similar stock item. — Jill Hornik, Jae’s Jewelers, Coral Gables, FL
  • I tend to go over the facts instead of appealing to the emotional side. I have a bad habit of assuming my engagement ring customer wants to know every spec.  Ashton Yates-Woolley, Yates & Co Jewelers, Modesto, CA
  • Saying “how may we help you?”— old habits die hard! — Jane Johnson, RM Johnson & Sons, Salem, VA
  • Calling GIA Lab Reports “certs” or “certificates”. That is a deceptive trade practice and, if advertised, false advertising. Now, at our company, it is a fireable offense. — Chuck Kuba, Iowa Diamond, West Des Moines, IA
  • Saying the word “stones”. So hard to remove it from the vocabulary. — David Scott, David Scott Fine Jewelry, Panama City, FL
  • Forgetting a good customer’s name. — Michael Rumanoff, Rumanoff’s Fine Jewelry and Design, Hamden, CT
  • Not allowing my team to work it out on their own. Your good employees need room to grow, develop and unfortunately make mistakes. If I am on the floor with them, I often jump into their transaction and sometimes this is a mistake. — Mark Snyder, Snyder Jewelers, Weymouth, MA
  • Not talking with a customer waiting for a battery to be changed in their watch. — Cindi Haddad-Drew, Cindi’s Diamond & Jewelry Gallery, Foxboro, MA
  • Leaving stock in customers’ hands. — Shahraz Kassam, Shamin Jewellers, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
  • Picking up or organizing while waiting on the customer. — Jeremy Shea Leech, J. Shea Jewelers, Abilene, TX
  • I forget to shut up and listen. — Erin McMichael Hess, Extinctions, Lancaster, PA
  • Less talk, more listen. I’m a talker and I get excited. I develop a close relationship with a lot of my customers. Many times, we will go off subject of a diamond and end up talking about cooking, hunting or the Game of Thrones! Eventually we get back to the diamonds, LOL! — Mary Jo Chanski, Hannoush Jewelers, Rutland, VT
  • Personally, I don’t ask for the sale often enough. We just had a customer shopping for a large stone and they both loved it; however, I did not close the sale because I did not ask for it. This is now my personal goal to get better at asking for sales. — Erica Lorenz, Michael & Sons, Reno, NV
  • Letting a customer walk. — Chris Wattsson, Wattsson & Wattsson Jewelers, Marquette, MI
  • One of the most common mistakes made is over-educating the customer from the perspective of the gemologist. It doesn’t happen often, but you can tell when it does by the looks on the customer’s face. — Morgan Bartel, Susann’s Custom Jewelers, Corpus Christi, TX
  • I still have to aggressively refrain from speeding through a sales transaction when there is someone waiting to buy something. — J. Dennis Petimezas, Watchmaker’s Diamonds & Jewelry, Johnstown, PA
  • Not acknowledging another customer if you are busy with another one. — Glyn Jolly, G.J. Enterprise, Victoria, TX
  • Misplacing my keys. — Andrea Riso, Talisman Collection, El Dorado Hills, CA
  • Not engaging a customer quickly enough. — Michael Halem, Halem & Co. de Sonoma, Sonoma, CA
  • Forgetting to offer water or soft drinks. — Mark Neumann, Ross Designs, Highland Park, IL
  • Trying too hard. — Scott Lefcourt, Scottsdale Fine Jewelers, Scottsdale, AZ
  • Failing to have fun. — Brenda Newman, The Jewelry Source, El Segundo, CA
  • Trying to sell everyone. The reality is we will NOT make every sale and I’m disappointed when we don’t close a sale I thought we would. — Gary Youngberg, Ames Silversmithing, Ames, IA
  • Sometimes not able to engage with younger clients. — Buddy Bear, Buddy Bear Jewelers, Merion , PA
  • Worrying about all the other stuff that needs to get done and not being fully engaged with the client. — Nicholas Pronko, Steve Pronko Diamonds, Dickson City, PA

This article originally appeared in the February 2018 edition of INSTORE.

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