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Commentary: The Business

Steve Feldman: Liar, Liar

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Sometimes it takes conspiratorial fibbing to make a dream come true, says Steve Feldman

HE’S A PLOTTER AND SCHEMER,, making up one cockamamie story after another ? white lies all in the name of love.  

He entered your store, recruiting you or your salesperson as his conspirator. He’s decided he’s found the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with, but before that, he’s going to lie to her, and you’re going to help him.  

You have no choice because at the heart of all this subterfuge is the bread and butter of your business ? the engagement ring.  

We’ve all seen the process, but until you’re thrown into the midst of it, it’s difficult to fully appreciate the depth and breadth of it all, the plots, subplots and yes, lies. Do your salespeople fully comprehend the state of mind of this customer and (hopefully) fianc?-to-be? Do they appreciate their vital role in this, the most important time of this couple’s lives? They need to. I should think they’d want to. What fun! (Not to mention the sale.)  

Why am I such a maven? I’ve just gone through it: My daughter, Kerrin, was the target of Olivier’s affection, and for a time ? in the name of love ? his lies. Come to think of it, I had to tell quite a few lies myself.  

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Ultimately, Olivier asked Kerrin to marry him in a picturesque wheat field, in a quiet countryside in France. Picnic, flowers, fine wine, her favorite culinary delights, down on one knee, the complete package. She was shocked. Sure, she knew this day would come, but not when. Sure, she shared her preferences for diamond color (yellow), shape (cushion) and ring design (basic platinum setting with a trillion side stones), but until that ring was on her finger, it was merely a concept.  

They picnicked for a while, all the details of the past few months exploding from him. He was bursting with pride. She was overwhelmed. They later drove to a spectacular chateau in Avallon. Then off to Colmar, her favorite town in all of France. Then back to his mother’s house (yes, he’s French) for a surprise engagement party. (Kerrin, fooled by the lies leading up to it, was the only one surprised.) When my wife and I walked out, it was a moment we’ll cherish forever. When Kerrin’s grandparents (both in their 80s) walked out, the emotions were uncontrollable. The moment of her grandparents’ lives as well.  

Here’s the point of my story: The more insight your salespeople have into who this gentleman is ? what’s going through his mind, the adventure before him, the extraordinary significance of his purchase ? the greater the rapport they will enjoy. We all know that sales success is all about relationships. Well, what better way to build that relationship than to participate in this extraordinary event? You’re no longer that used-car salesman (my apologies to all the used-car salesmen reading this) focused on his prey. You are, in fact, a conspirator. He desperately needs your help. So don’t sell him. Help him.  

Here’s another perspective: He’s carrying around a huge secret, often not even shared with family or friends. You’re the one person he can safely confide in, share his feelings with, vent his frustration upon, let all that pent-up energy escape, right there in your store. What a moment! What an opportunity! Are your salespeople ready, willing and able to participate; to be forever bound to that couple, their story, their family and friends?  

Back to my personal story. What do you think was everyone’s first comment when we were all there gathered in France? ?Let me see the ring,? of course. In virtually all similar situations, this is certainly one of the future groom’s proudest moments, because your salesperson made certain it would be so. Here on the bride-to-be’s finger is the ring she always dreamed of wearing, because your salesperson took the time to get to know the customer better and to find the perfect ring. I only hope you’ll be insistent the happy couple comes back to visit you with pictures. And those pictures belong in an album you should share often with other newlyweds-to-be.  

You’re their jewelry salesperson. You’ve proven yourself when it counted most. In return, they could become your customers for life, along with many of their family and friends. All because you cared. And at that special time when he needed a friend, not a salesman, you understood. You connected. Your shining moment.  

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To think, by simply being professional, compassionate, knowledgeable ? and perhaps a bit conspiratorial ? you’ll get to do this time and time again for so many loving couples. What a blessing! What an opportunity! Congratulations!

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