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David Squires

Replay: Best Opening Lines For Jewelers

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Last week, we reached into the INSTORE archives for a list of 15 things you shouldn’t say to customers.

And a couple of you out there, quite rightly, wondered why we were telling you what not to say, but not replacing the things we took away with things you couldsay. Anyway, in this week’s column, we fill the gap with this oldie-but-goodie feature from INSTORE, circa February 2004, on “Best Opening Lines”.

BEST OPENING LINES

This month, we’re looking at openers. These are the things that our retail contacts around the country are using to welcome their customers and set the right tone for a comfortable, and hopefully profitable, visit. One of the central tenets of sales guru Harry Friedman’s teachings is that customers don’t want to feel like they’re talking to a salesperson. They want to feel like they’re talking to another human being. (Not to say that salespeople aren’t human beings. No, never.)

So Friedman will warn against opening with a “Can I help you?” or “How can we be of service today?” (Even a simple opener like “How you doing?”, while not scoring particularly high on the romance scale, will fare better in establishing the human connection than “Can I help you?”) Talk about the weather, the Lakers game on television last night, or compliment the customer on their jewelry. But, at least in Friedman’s case, the quickest way to establish the human connection is humor. Here are a few examples of his wackier opening gambits. If you’ve got the personality to get away with them, give them a try:

Lady with a baby in a stroller comes up to the counter, Harry looks at her and says: “Nice baby. Where’d you get him?”

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“I loved walking up to a customer who was looking at loose gems. “Hi, I have to help this lady over here but I want you to study these gems. When I come back there will be a test. See ya!” Then I’d come back look at her and say, “ Okay, ready for your test? You can chose one gemstone for free if you can name all of the stones in this case.” (Of course, the tags for each item were clearly visible, including the type of stone, carat weight, and price.) Says Friedman: “They’d all do the same thing, ‘This is an emerald, this is a ruby….’ ‘Sorry, you lose. I didn’t ask what they were, I asked their names. This red stone is Marvin, this blue one is Suzy…’ Always got a chuckle and broke the ice.”

Another Friedman opener: “If the showroom got busy I’d yell and make an announcement “Listen up everyone. We’ll be with you shortly. Anyone not helped by 6:00, dinner’s on me!”

LIGHT-HEARTED

And here are some other light-hearted opening approaches from our other retail panelists:

Jeweler Marta VanZandt of L. Morgan Jewelers, when she has a female customer come in, says: “Are you looking for anything special today or would you just like to drool a little over all the pretty things we have?” Says Van Zandt: “They usually laugh and that breaks the ice.”

Cal Griffin of Griffin Jewelers has a fun opening invitation: “Hi! Come on in and play…”

When he gets a nervous-looking male customer, Griffin says: “Hi, looks like you are about to be put in the doghouse. We have the keys to get you out.”

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Sabrina Haywood of Haywood Jewelers takes a bold approach, greeting customers with: “What kind of big fat diamond can I sell you today?”

And, as we all know that jewelry purchases can do serious damage to a customer’s bank statement, sometimes the best approach is a warning (albeit one made with tongue placed firmly in cheek). Says Randy Hays, a specialist in custom 3-D design: “I have one customer that is really hyper in an over-medicated rock star kind of way. I saw him coming one day, so I went and met him right at the door. “You know, if you come in today, I guarantee you are going to get in trouble.” He replied “I guess I’ll take my chances” “Okay, but you have been warned.” He did happen to get into about $2,000 worth of trouble that day. Now he always asks at the door. “Got any trouble for me today?” Sometimes I’ll say no. If he happens to buy that day I’ll say: “So I lied. Shut up and give me the money.” Be sure to smile when you say that. It’s a fun little game, and it puts money in my pocket. I have branched out a little and will occasionally warn others. “Didn’t your mother tell you this is a dangerous place for a young lady?”

WELCOMING

Making a customer feel immediately welcome in your store is another winning strategy:

From Scot Congress of Congress Jewelers in Sanibel Island, Florida: “Where are you from? How long are you going to be staying on the islands? Would you like a cup of our famous coffee? We brew it ourselves.”

When customers enter his store, Michael Derby of Corinne Jewelers says: “Welcome to Corinne Jewelers. Is this your first time to our store?” And if it is their first time, he adds: “Welcome to the family.”

Elizabeth Parker of Curt Parker Jewelers asks customers: “Have you been in yet?” And if a new client responds that it’s they’re first visit and they’re just looking, she responds: “Well, you certainly came to the right place. We have lots of beautiful jewelry to look at. Is there any particular type of jewelry you like to look at when you look?”

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Says Priscilla Van Gundy of Van Gundy and Sons Jewelers: “If a customer comes in with children,”We just bought some new coloring books! Would your children like to break them in?”

At Bradshaw’s Manufacturing Jewelers, Wayne Bradshaw immediately sets a super-friendly opening tone by saying: “Welcome to Bradshaw’s, we hope your good day will soon be better.” If the customer says he or she is just looking, his reply is, “Great, that’s where it all begins. Let’s look together. Let me show you one of my favorite designs.”

CUSTOM-IZED

Jewelers who specialize in custom design find that it’s good business to reflect this in their opening approaches:

John Anthony of John Anthony Jewelers tells customers: “If you don’t see what you are looking for, we can make almost anything here in our shop.”

And Charles M. Beaudet of Beaudet Jewelry Design gets customers involved by saying: “Hello, would you like to see a custom ring that I’ve just finished making for someone?”

FLATTERING

One important thing to remember is that when it comes to customers, flattery will get you everywhere:

Pamela Rossi of Rossi Jewelers makes it a point to compliment people on their jewelry: “What a neat ring you have on!”

TRIED AND TRUE

And here are some fresh spins on the tried-and-true approaches like “How can I help you?”, “Welcome to our store”, and the old: “Is it hot enough for you today?”:

In his opening, Jef Timms of Hephaestus both greets his customers and also shows his pride in his company: “Welcome to Palm Springs and the best collection of designer jewelry in the desert.”

Janne Etz of Contemporary Concepts asks customers: “Are you on a quest for anything in particular today?” or “What can I point you in the direction of today?”

When it’s hot out, Cal Griffin says: “Hello, the air conditioning is free today!”





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