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Shane Decker

Knowing How Much is Too Much and More Tips for Selling Technical-Minded Clients

You can figure it out by asking the proper questions and listening carefully to the answer.




GETTING TOO TECHNICAL with customers can cost you wins. Too often, salespeople assume clients want to hear everything they know about the gemstone or the jewelry they hold in their hands. Sometimes, the opposite is true. Sometimes, dropping that knowledge on a client will kill the sale.

More than ever, today’s clients want to work with knowledgeable, skilled, professional, educated salespeople. You can’t let the client know more about your product than you or your salespeople know. With the amount of knowledge they could walk into your store with, you would think they had just graduated from GIA!

That said, it doesn’t always hold true — and even when it does, you should give the client only as much technical information as he actually wants. How do you know how much is too much? After you’ve asked the proper selling questions to open your presentation, ask this question: “Would you like to know more about the diamond?” If the client says yes, find out how much more. Never volunteer information. When you give too much information and he’s not interested, he will think you’re not listening to his needs. If you don’t give him technical information and he wants it, he may think you’re incompetent. Either way, you lose — so ask the proper questions and listen carefully to his needs.

Here are a few more tips for selling technical-minded clients:

  1. If a client wants the GIA lab report on a diamond or asks for an ideal cut or a particular color grade, he’s obviously done some research, so ask if he’d like to see the diamond under magnification. If he says yes, he’ll be impressed when you show it to him — and he’ll also know you are not hiding anything.
  2. Never use tweezers when handing a loose diamond to the client; your client will feel self-conscious about possibly dropping the diamond or handling it incorrectly. Instead, always use a 2-inch, four-prong, spring-loaded diamond holder so that the client has no fear of the diamond slipping out. He’ll hold it longer, and the longer he possesses it, the higher the closing ratio.
  3. When you talk about the four Cs, always talk about them in this order: cut, color, clarity and carat weight.
  4. When using a color and clarity chart to explain diamond grading to a customer, always start at the bottom at I3 or Z and go up to SI1 or G. When you start at the top and go down, you devalue the diamond. But when you start from the bottom and go up, not only did you show them how far up the chart it was, you built value.
  5. Be sure the client is seated if you’re giving him technical information. This creates a more relaxed atmosphere and allows him to get more involved with the microscope and tools you’re using.

Technical knowledge is absolutely critical for your self-confidence and to build client confidence. But it should be used as support only; it’s never the primary emphasis. Remember that most of the time, the client is celebrating a special event.

Eighty percent of all jewelry sold is purchased to give to a loved one. So always build the relationship in a sale all the way through, and always before you get technical. Make sure to romance the reason they are in the store — that’s the most important part of your presentation.


Shane Decker has provided sales training to more than 3,000 jewelry stores. Shane cut his teeth in jewelry sales in Garden City, KS, and sold over 100 1-carat diamonds four years in a row. Contact him at



When There’s No Succession Plan, Call Wilkerson

Bob Wesley, owner of Robert C. Wesley Jewelers in Scottsdale, Ariz., was a third-generation jeweler. When it was time to enjoy life on the other side of the counter, he weighed his options. His lease was nearing renewal time and with no succession plan, he decided it was time to call Wilkerson. There was plenty of inventory to sell and at first, says Wesley, he thought he might try to manage a sale himself. But he’s glad he didn’t. “There’s no way I could have done this as well as Wilkerson,” he says. Wilkerson took responsibility for the entire event, with every detail — from advertising to accounting — done, dusted and managed by the Wilkerson team. “It’s the complete package,” he says of the Wilkerson method of helping jewelers to easily go on to the next phase of their lives. “There’s no way any retailer can duplicate what they’ve done.”

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