In the past two weeks we’ve discussed how sales people deal with customers, especially those who think they know “exactly what they want,” and we’ve explained why the wrong approach by a sales person can result in losing a customer rather than making the sale. Here, we will explain an alternative approach that would be more likely to result in a sale, and a “relationship” that will result in future purchases from you by this customer.
Six of One, Half a Dozen of the Other: How Two Diamonds Can be Different and the Same
I'm sure some of you may have been thinking that the scenario I described in the last issue was the professional and honest way to handle the situation. Many may be thinking that the larger diamond was, in fact, a lower quality and that there was nothing wrong with what the sales person said. But this is not the case, and reflects how one of the most important of the 4Cs is really not understood by many sales people, and even some gemologists: the sales person was, in fact, wrong about the larger diamond being “a lower” quality than the smaller diamond: in fact, in that scenario, the two diamonds are the same quality…which is why they are the same price!
Let’s analyze the scenario more closely. The larger diamond and the smaller diamond are the same price; this is because the carat weight of the larger diamond is rarer than the carat weight of the smaller diamond, while the clarity of the smaller diamond is rarer than the clarity in the larger diamond. The “composite” quality of the two diamonds – the quality after assessing each one of the 4Cs – is the same because the rarer carat weight balances the rarer clarity difference. So the “quality” – the resulting combination of the total package – was comparable. In this case, the young man was able to see the difference since the “C” that made the difference was “carat“ weight = size difference. Thus, since the quality was comparable, the price was the same!
Let’s take the same scenario but change another one of the “Cs.” In this case, the customer is wondering why one of the diamonds is more expensive when the two look the same to him because, to his eye, they have the same approximate clarity, precision cutting, and apparent color. In fact, the color grade of one of the diamonds is rarer, hence the price difference. However, since a diamond’s color is graded on its side, in diffused light, against a flat white background, it is often difficult, if not impossible, to see any difference when the diamond is seen mounted, in the “face-up” position. In this scenario, a sales person has two choices in terms of how to answer the question: the sales person can either take a negative approach to explaining the difference in the two diamonds – why the larger diamond costs the same as the smaller diamond – by saying one diamond has a “lower” color and risk losing the sale since the customer clearly wants the larger diamond, or the sales person can take a positive approach to explaining the difference, by pointing out that the larger diamond has a color grade that is less rare, but a size that is more rare! Then a really good sales person will quickly point out how wonderful it is that when it’s in the setting, it will also be impossible to see the difference between the two diamonds!
This is a positive and un-biased approach that enables the customer to feel great about the purchase, rather than describing the larger diamond as having “a lower color” or saying “the color is not as good,” making the buyer feel he would be making a “less good” choice if he were to go with the less expensive combination of factors.
In both scenarios, using a positive approach creates a situation in which the customer can feel really good because he knows he has not compromised on the overall quality; he has simply “juggled” the relative importance of each of the 4Cs to reflect what is important to him – getting a size that appeals to him, or a rarer color, or a rarer clarity, should be the customer’s decision. It is the sales person’s responsibility to provide him with the facts pertaining to each of the 4Cs so the buyer can select the diamond he really wants…within whatever budget he is comfortable with. And you may be surprised if you take this approach; sometimes the buyer might even increase his budget.
My advice to sales people is to get rid of pejorative terms such as “good”/”bad” or “better than”/”lower than”/”worse than”. Let’s use professional terms, and state “facts” pertaining to degrees of “rarity” when answering buyers’ questions. Let’s explain that a diamond’s clarity, or color, or carat weight, or precision cutting are “more” or “less” rare. Let’s help customers understand that the fun in shopping for a diamond is in discovering the one with just the right combination of the 4Cs to best meet their needs. By so doing, the ultimate decision as to what is important will be left entirely with the buyer, where it belongs! And you will have established your own knowledge and offered wise “guidance” that will keep the customer coming back to you…for each of those “special moments” he or she wants to mark in a very special way!