Thu, 19 May 2005

What makes for a great client?

There are many facets to a consumer- vendor relationship that come into play when buying a diamond. My goal is to help you gain some understanding of what is involved in forming a solid working relationship with a vendor, as seen through the eyes of vendors themselves. To get their perspective, I posed the question ‘What makes for a great client?’ on Pricescope.com recently. While the answers varied, there were five main points that really stood out; Education, Communication, Respect, Patience and Willingness to close the deal. I will use quotes from some of the vendors to highlight each aspect, and then follow up with comments of my own.

EDUCATION

“LesleyH” from www.Whiteflash.com:

“Education (the customer has either learned or is willing to learn).”

 

“Rhino” from www.Goodoldgold.com:

“The
lady or gentleman who realizes this is one of the most important
purchases they will make in this lifetime and is willing to take the
time necessary to learn about what it is they are purchasing.”

 

“Wink” from www.Winkjones.com:

“The perfect client for me is a well educated client. The
client who already knows a lot about diamonds, but will ask me
questions to see if I really know my trade or if I am just another shoe
salesman who is selling diamonds this week and computers next.”

 

Strmrdr’s input:

The vendors that thrive on pricescope.com are well versed in dealing with educated consumers. I expected almost every one of them to mention education in some way, and wasn’t disappointed by the responses.

 

COMMUNICATION

“Denverappraiser” from American Gem Registry, Inc. www.gemlab.us:

“I
always liked customers who were willing to say what they want and what
they like, and are interested in an exchange of information.”

 

“Diamondsbylauren” from www.diamondsbylauren.com:

“Here’s
a method to avoid problems- ask questions, and if you feel that the
person you are talking to is evasive, or trying to hid something, trust
you instincts and move on.”

 

“LesleyH” from www.whiteflash.com:

“Information (the customer requests and compares available information). Communication (the customer emails or phones to ask any pertinent questions left unanswered).”

 

Strmrdr’s input:

While not stated by any of the vendors, there are two more things that I think needed to be mentioned about communication:

1. It is crucial to make an appointment if you intend to visit in person. This will ensure you get personal and professional attention. Many
of the vendors would love to be able to spend more time with their
customers, but this is not always possible without some advance notice.

2. Email is not always the most reliable means of contacting a vendor. If you send an email and don’t get a response within 2 business days, then it’s a good idea to call them on the phone.

 

RESPECT

“Youngpapa” from www.dirtcheapdiamonds.com

“To me, a great client is someone who appreciates my staff, my diamonds and my experience as much as we appreciate the client.”

 

“Rhino” from www.goodoldgold.com:

“The person who respects our time and the effort it takes to help them find their dream stone. I don’t expect to close every sale or win every client and never will you get a hard sell or pitch here.”

 

“Feydakin” from www.imagesontheweb.net:

“1. Educating customers.

We love educated customers, and we do enjoy sharing what we know with them, when we have time. The
#1 thing we would like is that when you walk into our store and have no
intention of buying at all, but want to see a few things, or learn a
bit of what we know, whether it’s how different diamond cuts look, or
the differences between types of gold, or anything else at all, say so. Be
honest with us that you have no intention of buying today but you would
like to chat with us about what we know so that you are a better
informed customer. Do not come in and tell us that you are looking to “buy” when you are just looking and learning.”

This allows us to determine if now is really a good time to spend an hour or more with you. If it is, great, we’ll sit and chat all day long. Realistically, it’s far more fun to sit and talk about diamonds and jewelry than it is to clean cases. But,
if we are busy, or our best specialist is out that day, please don’t be
offended if we ask you to come back at a better time for us, or someone
has to cut short the chat to go out and make a real sale. Because in the end, we need to sell to feed our kids.

2. Give us a fair chance.

If you have no intention of buying from us, and have already decided share and what you will buy, please do so. We are competitive on many levels. And not having a chance to sell before we even talk to you is not really fair to us. If you are “just looking” don’t be offended if we don’t put our best closer with you. If
the sales person helping you can’t answer your question they will go
ask someone who can, but if you are just looking, we are better served
by letting our best people help people that are buying.”

 

Strmrdr’s input:

Respect is a two-way street. If you don’t get respect from a vendor, then move on to another. I cringe when I hear a fellow consumer say “He wasn’t very nice, but I bought something from him anyway.”

 

WILLINGNESS TO CLOSE THE DEAL

“Wink” from www.winkjones.com:

“[a good client is] the client who is prepared to make a decision if I give the right answers and have the correct stone.”

 

“LesleyH” from www.whiteflash.com:

“Decision (once the information is balanced and all questions have been answered the customer is not afraid to decide to buy).”

 

“Rhino” from www.goodoldgold.com:

“We
truly believe that a quality product will sell itself, so if we do our
job right and find that stone and the client has made it clear they are
ready to purchase that they hold to their word. However
if we are investing our time, energies and even capital (calling in
stones for them to view) a great client will follow through on their
word just as we had.”

 

 

Stmrdr’s input:

Be careful and investigate anyone you are considering doing business with.

Use
all the resources available to check out a vendor until you are certain
that everything is satisfactory. A good vendor will work with you to
make sure that you have the information you need to be comfortable with
your purchase. If they pass the test, and are offering what you want at the right price, don’t be afraid to go ahead with the purchase.

 

Final Thoughts

The
five areas discussed here are all work together because when you are
educated in the product and have established good communication with a
person you respect, then willingness to close the deal doesn’t seem
like the huge step it was when you started out.

In looking
back, I found that there are many more facets of a vendor-client
relationship than even a dozen articles can address but I think this
information gives insight into what some vendors are thinking and where
they are coming from.

I hope you have found this article useful
and informative. I have to say that I learned a lot in putting it
together and got to know the vendors a little better.

I would like to thank each the vendors for their input. Without them, this article would have never been possible.

**** *I would like send out a huge thank you to Belle for making this readable!

Believe me it wasn’t easy! Well those that have read my posts on the forum probably do believe it! :} *****

I would also like to thank several others who helped out including but not limited to John from www.whiteflash.com , Jon from www.goodoldgold.com and Leonid from www.pricescope.com for the help and encouragement to get this done.

 

Original thread: Vendors – What makes for a great client?

 

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