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Vendors - What makes for a great client?

Discussion in 'RockyTalky' started by strmrdr, Feb 10, 2005.

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  1. strmrdr
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    by strmrdr » Feb 10, 2005
    Vendors,
    Im working on an article and need your help.
    There are a lot of threads that talk about what makes a great vendor now its your turn to tell us what makes a great consumer.
    I thought of doing this by email but I think the free exchange of ideas on the board will make for a better answers.

    What makes for a great client?

    What can we do to help you help us find the diamonds of our dreams?

    What steps can we as consumers take to help avoid problems?

    A lot of sales are dependent on trust if there was one thing you would want every client to know about you in this area what would it be?

    If there was one thing you would want every consumer to know before they contact you what would it be?

    Thank you for your help :}
     
    


    


  2. Colored Gemstone Nut
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  3. denverappraiser
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    by denverappraiser » Feb 10, 2005

    For me, the most important element of the retail relationship is just that, the relationship. I’ve never been fond of the big-box style of retailing where you buy your product and move out the door. This doesn’t suit custom jewelry especially well but I don’t actually like it for much of anything. I always liked customers who were willing to say what they want and what they like, and are interested in an exchange of information. These stores are the most successful by a significant margin in almost every category, including jewelry so I guess I'm obsolete. It’s a fair part of the reason I retired from retail. Customers tend to expect all of the handholding that make the relationship style stores popular but also expect the prices of the warehouses. Quite a bit of the value from a retailer is presented up front and is not separately billed. The habit of customers to come into a store and solicit a free education, examine the jewelers inventory for design ideas, consult with their experts on structural and design issues that may apply to their project and then take their designs or repair suggestions to the cheapest guy in town is, in a word, rude. These same people won’t tip a taxi driver because there is nothing left that they can get out of the deal. They will never see that particular driver again and so there is almost no downside to stiffing the driver, right?



    I actually had customers come back and complain because they took one of my designs to someone else and it didn’t come out well. This was somehow my fault and they expected me to fix it!

    Neil Beaty
    GG(GIA) ISA NAJA
    Recovering Jeweler in Colorado
     
  4. Rhino
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    by Rhino » Feb 10, 2005
    Ok... this answer is given tongue in cheek but it just happened as I write ...

    The client who comes in ... give me a budget to work with ... knows what setting she likes (happens to be a tiffany type solitaire), and says PICK THE STONE FOR ME! I need it done by tomorrow afternoon. :)

    hehe

    I''ll give ya a more serious answer a lil later senor.
     
    


    


  5. Wink
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    by Wink » Feb 10, 2005
    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. The client who is prepared to make a decision if I give the right answers and have the correct stone. The client who is prepared to laugh and have fun as well as seriously look at diamonds. The client who is willing and ready to become my friend if I earn it. I thrive on relationships, be they by email or telephone or in person and I want to deal with people who also thrive on relationships. Most of my clients become my friends and many potential clients become my friends even if they found what they wanted somewhere else. Many people here are in that catagory. Some I have met, some I have not but I still consider them to be my friends and that is more important to me than whether or not they have ever bought anything from me.

    On Polygon we occassionally have get togethers called conclaves. It is amazing to me how I can go to one, meet people I have only typed to and insantly have the rapport of long lost friends, because we have been friends on Poly. I know this would be true if we ever had a Pricescope get together. Any of you coming to Boise are ALWAYS welcome to call and we can have lunch or dinner together.

    The perfect client is demanding, but not unreasonable and willing to wait for the job to be done correctly and the perfect client pays as agreed. Also the perfect client refers other clients if I did the job to their satisfaction, trusting that I will treat friends and collegues just as well as I treated them.

    I am sure with a little thought I could make this better, but this is what jumps to the top of my mind.

    Wink
     
  6. valeria101
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    by valeria101 » Feb 10, 2005
    Overconfident, loaded, big mouth kind of guy/gal with lots of like-minded, jewelry-addict friends.

    Politeness and education come extra, useful especially if the customer makes repeat visits.


    Anything wrong with this profile ? [​IMG]



    Can't immagine where one could get more expert jewelers' free time than on this forum. Quite amazing !
     
  7. Iceman
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    by Iceman » Feb 10, 2005
    Lets stop being politically correct for a moment. My favorite customer is one that walks in and says Ill take that and pay's full price :)
     
  8. Iceman
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    by Iceman » Feb 10, 2005
    What steps can we as consumers take to help avoid problems?


    Cut with the 10,000 emails on when the ring is going to be done when the given dead line is not close :)
     
  9. Iceman
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    by Iceman » Feb 10, 2005
    All in All every customer is different that is what makes every day fun. Be yourself, we know its all new to you and we will help you through these difficult times. :)
     
  10. strmrdr
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    by strmrdr » Feb 10, 2005
    Thanks everyone keep it coming :}

    Wink you posted exactly what I thought you would post my friend :}
    Glad to see you made it back ok from your vacation.
     
    


    


  11. diamondsbylauren
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    by diamondsbylauren » Feb 10, 2005
    The easiest consumer to work with is one that knows what they want. Sometimes a person wants a 57% table, and other times a person simply wants a gift for his wife of 10 years- and wants guidance. Each one probably has different needs.


    Here''s a method to avoid problems- ask questions, and if you feel that the person you are talking to is evasive, or tying to hide something, trust your instincts and move on.


    I think consumers need to use their own judgement and consider information about the vendor gleaned from every source possible.

    I''ve been quite lucky to have met some pretty amazing folks- some who knew exactly what they wanted- some that did their best to make us crazy ( one way or antoher)- still many of them touched me deeply. Diamonds are so often as gift of deep love- it''s one of the nicest times to talk to someone.
    I''ll bet others who sell rings that folks use to show their love to someone have similar tingly feelings.
     
  12. YoungPapa
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    by YoungPapa » Feb 10, 2005
    okay strmrdr, I''m game:

    To me, a great client is someone who appreciates my staff, my diamonds and my experience as much as we appreciate the client. They know what they''re looking for when they call, but they keep an open mind if we suggest something different. They don''t ask for a better price than our "best price". They praise us publicly and endlessly if we do them right. They forgive us if we do them wrong.

    And how do you know when you''re dealing with a truly "great" customer?

    They call and say "thank you" when it''s all said and done.
     
  13. Garry H (Cut Nut)
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    by Garry H (Cut Nut) » Feb 11, 2005
    No one has mentioned yet "how she looks?"

    A perfect client is one who rings up and says "you know what she wants"
    We deliver [​IMG] and all the relationships [​IMG] grow [​IMG]

    Or, the guy who said "You can increase the budget, but you cant spend more than the Bently I just bought"
     
  14. windowshopper
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    by windowshopper » Feb 11, 2005
    SO THE BEST CLIENTS ARE GOOD LOOKING AND RICH..................................SO WHAT ELSE IS NEW!
     
  15. strmrdr
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    by strmrdr » Feb 11, 2005
    Thanks everyone that took the time to write serious answers.

    Garry I expected you to say something like that.
     
    


    


  16. windowshopper
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    by windowshopper » Feb 11, 2005
    i would imagine that a key factor would be how realistic (yes also informed but not necessarily a pricescope "expert") the customer is; alot of people want the hope diamond for 5500.[​IMG]
     
  17. fire&ice
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    by fire&ice » Feb 11, 2005
    Much of what has been said - to add:

    Don''t talk the merchandise down *JUST* to get a better price.

    I''m not interested in the great deal you got on Ebay or where ever. It''s a horrible position to be in the "appraise" someone else''s problem.

    If you are just wanting information only, be upfront. If not busy, I am happy to share.

    And, I dissent - I don''t mind if you don''t know what you want. I can assist you in finding out with some questions.

    I would like your business; but, please don''t assume that I need or want it. Sometimes, the fit isn''t a good one from the beginning.
     
  18. Garry H (Cut Nut)
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    by Garry H (Cut Nut) » Feb 11, 2005
    Rich OR good looking will suffice [​IMG]

    Seriously though Storm, did you think I would be serious?

    A great client is someone who believes you when you say this is beautiful. The best sales people are those who can match the right beautiful thing to the right person. This is one big problem for the Internet, but we can see that Amazon is doing a pretty good job of predicting clients taste and desires.
     
  19. LesleyH
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    by LesleyH » Feb 11, 2005
    Well, I''ve been mulling over this for a good while. I have to admit that I was a little reserved at first as I like to think that every request or call has potential and it is hard to generalize:

    We came up with the following:

    Education (the customer has either learned or is willing to learn).
    Information (the customer requests and compares available information).
    Communication (the customer emails or phones to ask any pertinent questions left unanswered).
    Decision (once the information is balanced and all questions have been answered the customer is not afraid to decide to buy).

    I have to say that for the most part, every day has many enjoyable and memorable customer experiences. I think the best part of working in this business is that we become involved in one of the most special emotional experiences of our customers'' lives.

    LesleyH
    www.whiteflash.com
     
  20. canuk-gal
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    by canuk-gal » Feb 11, 2005
    HI:

    Actually I thought you were going to say the problem with the Internet is that you can''t determine whether people are rich or good looking......
    Sorry, back to your regularily scheduled programming........

    cheers--Sharon
     
  21. DiamondExpert
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    by DiamondExpert » Feb 11, 2005
    For me, as already having had a career of training students, the best experiences with clients are those where both parties feel elated about the outcome of an interaction (regardless of whether or not a sale was made), and would be eager to interact again.

    The relationship can be simple, brief, complex or long term, it varies for each individual case.
     
  22. strmrdr
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    by strmrdr » Feb 11, 2005
    I was curious as to what your answer was going to be and to be honest it was one I couldnt predict despite all the awesome gemstones iv bought from you.
    But your answer makes perfect sense looking at our dealings :}

    Thank you :}

    BTW. iv been admiring the new beauties you brought home from Tucson.
     
  23. mdx
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    by mdx » Feb 11, 2005
    So my good friend Sammy Sherman comes to the office and says. It’s my wife Rebecca’s 50th Birthday. I want to buy her a diamond for $100,000.

    He chooses a beautiful IdealCut D IF. (Such a beautiful stone even uncle Gary would approve)

    Sammy takes the diamond home to Rebecca and the following morning over breakfast wishes her a happy birthday and hands over the rock.

    She looks him up and down; hands back the diamond and says “ Sammy I don’t want this diamond I want a divorce.

    Sammy takes the diamond back, puts it in his pocket and replies ”Sorry Rebecca I wasn’t thinking of spending that much”

    Sorry Storm not what you are looking for just a bit of humour
    Johan

     
  24. Wink
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    by Wink » Feb 12, 2005
    Made it back, but was very sick for a while, dang!

    Sorry to be so predictable, but hey, I am fairly transparent...
     
  25. strmrdr
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    by strmrdr » Feb 13, 2005
    Sorry to hear you wernt feeling well glad your feeling better.
    Being predictable is a good thing :}
    Especially on the net it give people more confidence when considering you for purchases.
     
  26. Rhino
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    by Rhino » Feb 13, 2005
    Ok... catching up on this excellent thread. Gary ... you never cease to make me laugh (as well as Ice).
     
  27. Rhino
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    by Rhino » Feb 13, 2005
    Excellent thread and idea strmrdr. I've put a little more thought into this so here goes.

    >What makes for a great client?

    Many excellent answers have been given already but here are ones that come to the forefront of my mind.

    A great client is ...



    a. (the short quick answer) 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.
    (the why's of this answer) Yes it is great helping educated consumers but I do not assume that they are as knowledgeable as they seem sometimes. Ie. many people learn about the characteristics of carat weight, clarity and color enough that they can recite the defiintions to me, but generally most people have not seen and compared these clarities/colors next to each other and most don't have a clue when it comes to cut. There are many people who are "book smart" but are not "street smart". The latter only comes with years of experience and that can not be attained via the net. This is where the help of a seasoned pro can really be of benefit, but it is also the street smart vendor who can take advantage of people if they are not cautious. When a client comes to our store and after we've introduced ourselves, my first questions are generally to get an idea of how far along in the education process they have come. My primary and initial job is to fill in the blanks of their education and correct any misinformation they have been given and demonstrate why. Some people only requre our presentation on cut, some on cut & color some on all 4C's. We are prepared to help them in each category if necessary and there have been times when we would have to teach for as long as we can and if necessary extend the presentation to another visit should time run short for them. We can generally complete an entire presentation on the 4 C's within 45 minutes but if they have a lot of questions and want to make alot of comparisons, that can sometimes extend from a couple to a few hours. We will take the time necessary for the client to become educated and answer all their questions as well as familiarize them with our selection process and the expertise & lab equipment we use to do this. While leads to point #2.

    b. 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. 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. In the past there have been Internet (and in-store as well) clients who took advantage of our kindness in this matter. We would spend hundreds of dollars calling in stones to scan in to show them (not to mention our time doing it) only to not get any answer whatsoever. This forced us to change our policy to requre a non-refundable deposit to cover our shipping expenses (which is absorbed into the price of the diamond upon a sale). This year we are experimenting with a different procedure and are offering to call in 2 stones on our tab based on the best available data/specs within their range and seeing how things pan out. We realize there will always be dead beats but if the majority of people are people of integrity we are considering dropping this criteria if its worth it in the long run.



    c. One who appreciates art, the time it takes to create it, and is willing to pay a fair price for it. I tend to be an extremist in the fields I set my heart and mind to. No matter the subject, once it captures me ... I go all out. My type of personality tends to attract the anal retentive. This can be viewed as both a negative and a positive however I look at it in the positive, generally because I know I can satisfy most of these types. Patience, of course, must be a prerequisite. [​IMG] I would probably make a terrible appraiser because I would not encourage most diamonds I see in the general market. Cutting factories either love me or hate me as I am generally accused of being too picky. [​IMG]



    d. A great client not only appreciates our investment in their education and diamond selection but will also let others know about it as well.



    e. As someone had already mentioned. A great client is one who forgives if an honest mistake is made. We are all still, only human.

    f. People I generally enjoy helping are those who are have or share a certain passion about life. I personally strive for excellence in all I set my heart to do and when I meet individuals like myself, there is usually an instant chemistry. Their passion doesn't necessarily have to be diamonds either. People who have vision are people who are working towards their goals, accomplishing them one milestone at a time, acheiving small successes' and lead happy and productive lives. I tend to jive well with peeps like this and make for a great client.

    >What can we do to help you help us find the diamonds of our dreams?

    Become as educated as you can about the subject and communicate as clearly and plainly as you can what it is you want. If not very educated on the subject ... ask us and we'll help do that via both web and phone. If your expectations are unrealisitic we will let you know that too. One of the problems in this category is that jewelers do not know the questions to ask to HELP the consumer HELP US. The open flow of communication is key. One party should not leave the other guessing. Ie. if someone has taken the time to educate you and has invested IN YOU... the least that consumer can do is be open and honest about what it is they want.
    I've seen inexperienced sales people help a person, find out what they want, the consumer tells them ... they call up and bring in the goods ... THEN the consumer says ... yes that's what I want but that is NOWHERE near the price I want to pay. Somewhere along the line there was not *enough* communication. If a person spends the time with you, teaches you, etc. they have earned the right to also know what budget they are looking to keep within. There are some consumers who are offended by salespeople whose *first question* is "How much do you want to spend?" and I can understand this. IMO it is a bad approach, but if a vendor has taken the time to invest in YOU, it is only fair that you be upfront with them on all counts. Some salespeople are afraid to talk about the 5th C (cost) up front but if this is not asked, alot of unneccary time and monies could be avoided.

    >What steps can we as consumers take to help avoid problems?

    It is my opinion that the pro will help step you through the process. The only steps required by the consumer is to follow the instructions of the one who is helping them and of course QUESTION anything they don't understand or if something is not clear.

    >A lot of sales are dependent on trust if there was one thing you would want every client to know about you in this area what would it be?

    Our track record.

    >If there was one thing you would want every consumer to know before they contact you what would it be?

    The content of our website.

    >Thank you for your help :}

    It's a pleasure strmrdr. If anything else comes to mind I'll edit and add to this post.

    Warm regards,

     
  28. strmrdr
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    by strmrdr » Feb 13, 2005
    wow Rhino my friend you just about wrote my article for me :}
    Thank you.

    Some other time we will have to have a discussion on your "street smart" vs "book smart" comment.
    While in general I agree with it I think a "book smart" person can do better than a lot will give them credit for if they take the time and use all the tools available to them.
    We can agree that they can and will likely get burned badly when dealing within the trade if handed a uncerted diamond and a loupe and base the decision off that where a "street smart" person could do well.
    On the secondary market where there is a lot more leeway as to what is a good deal it changes a lot but thats another story/thread.
     
  29. JohnQuixote
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    by JohnQuixote » Feb 13, 2005
    Rhino - Great elaborations on very valid points. I especially like your elaboration on the all-important aspect Lesley brought up about education!

    Book Smart versus Street Smart: Book smart is good for definitions, but street smart comes by trial and error (costly in this endeavor), or alternately by using a street-smart guide who helps you learn the territory and avoid dangers.

    (that's where "we" come in)
     
  30. JohnQuixote
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    by JohnQuixote » Feb 13, 2005
    A further thought on gaining Street Smarts... By "we" I am referring to this PriceScope-type family of vendor/appraiser/science and consumer educators.
     
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