By: Bob DeMaria
Competing with the internet or competing with anyone for that matter is all about knowing what you’re up against and delivering a clear message to your prospective customer that YOU can offer a better option.
That option can be in the form of price, service, selection and/or other intangibles. If all things are equal, why do some people choose Coke over Pepsi, Burger King over McDonald’s, Ford over Chevy?
Because somewhere in their conscious or subconscious mind they have created a preference for one over the other. Is that choice written in stone? Probably not. One bad experience, maybe a special sale or event can change that loyalty in a heartbeat. Someone sitting on the fence is one nudge away from being on your side.
A customer that walks into your store armed with a quote from any other source is ready for that “nudge” from you. They have already wavered from a commitment or they wouldn’t be there. They have no particular allegiance to an online retailer. They only assume that the best “deals” are on the internet because “they just are”. Making the case that this commonly held belief is not necessarily true may be tricky but it’s not difficult, if you’re knowledgeable and take the time to expose the fallacy.
Why are so many similarly graded diamonds offered at different prices?
Simply put, there’s more to determining a diamond’s true value (and hence its beauty) than just considering a handful of grading factors. You can demonstrate this by having two diamonds on hand that are graded the same but look different.* Once the price issue is clarified, you can focus on all the value added benefits of buying from a local retailer.
What they think they want or need and what they actually need, could be miles apart. Rather than just looking for a lower priced option based on the search they brought in, ask questions.
The greatest strength you offer is your counsel. Your value as an advisor should never be understated.
● Your ability to offer several options to view for free in a side by side comparison where difference can be seen (or not seen to the naked eye) and a value decision can be discussed.
● Your ability to show mountings with the diamonds to create a piece of jewelry from a concept.
● Finally, and most importantly, they are getting you. The person that took the time to ask the right questions, listen carefully and thoughtfully to their answers and, only then, made suggestions that best suited their needs.
Diamonds need to be romanced. They need to be matched with their perfect mate. We’re not keen on the idea of some guy picking out one of the most special purchase of his life while he’s lying in his shorts, watching a football game on TV as he googles during commercial breaks. A golf club? Maybe. Tee shirt? Sure. Engagement ring? No. Where’s the romance in that?
This process, this experience, is the basis for a quality sale. Regardless of whether we are dealing with millennials, gen x’ers or baby boomers this has never changed. Consumers want to be heard and understood. The internet may offer a newer form of competition, but once they walk into your store it’s back to basics with a simple seven step qualify: build rapport, displace the previous expert (the internet or other competitor), qualify, present options, answer objections (if needed), close/ask for the sale and seek referrals.
The wholesale end of the business is no different. Our most successful account managers delve deeper, ask better questions and ship better options to our retail partners. We have built our business on relationships and clear understanding. Unlike nearly all of our competitors, it’s one of the main the reasons we DO NOT sell to internet retailers.
Bob DeMaria has nearly 50 years experience in sales and marketing both as an inside and outside sales representative within RDI Diamonds and the wholesale jewelry industry. Bob welcomes any feedback or suggestions for future topics. If you would like more information on this topic (including available in-store materials) he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.