written by Cody Grampp
It was a bleak, cold, and rainy day outside my office window in Cleveland. The phone on my desk began ringing, and I recognized one of my regular clients on caller ID. I answered, ready to take notes on her diamond request, and noted a staccato rhythm to her voice. Our pleasantries began to develop a tone similar to a breakup. She sounded like she was dreading the conversation, and having a hard time choosing her wording. She wanted a 1.50 round cut GH SI XXX. This wasn’t a difficult request to fill, so I wasn’t surprised when the unease of the conversation peaked as I asked for her budget.
“I’m looking online”
Her customer told her the three most dreaded words in retail; “I’m looking online.” This was the first time I had heard first-hand of a customer shopping for prices online for jewelry, and then going to a retailer to have them undercut their own livelihood to make a sale.
If I were to put myself in the customer’s shoes, it’s an understandable solution. Buying a diamond ring for my future-wife is no easy task. In theory, it could be; but like most men, I would overthink the purchase until my head splits.
After an uneducated consumer chooses to do the research to make an educated purchase, they’re bombarded with information on angles, clarity grades, brilliance, proportions, and more. It’s overwhelming. It’s crazy to think that someone can spend hundreds of hours online researching diamonds, reading reports, and can even believe they’ve found a winner – without ever having seen the diamond in person.
My client stressed about losing the sale and knew that the price online was so cheap it was unlikely to be beat. I asked, “has the customer ever seen a 1.50 RD GH SI XXX?” She hadn’t shown him one and said that he probably hadn’t. She sent me the web-page of the diamond he was price-shopping, and the price was fair; for a stone with strong fluorescence and a terrible haze throughout. This diamond was more dead than Beethoven.
“How does he know what the diamond would look like?”
Now that I knew we could not only fill this call but help my client out, I began selecting diamonds from my inventory and preparing overnight insured shipping labels. I sent one diamond exactly matching the call; a 1.50 RD G SI1 XXX; without fluorescence. I also sent along a 1.50 RD H SI2 excellent and very good combo and a 1.45 RD G SI2 good and very good combo. She was hesitant to show the 1.45 because her customer was so specific on what he wanted. So, I asked her a straightforward question, “How does he know what the diamond would look like?” She paused for a moment and considered what I said, “When I show him the cert for the stone, he will hate it.” “Well,” I paused, “What if you showed him all of the stones side by side then showed him the certificate after you asked him which one looked the best?”
“Let’s try it,” She said. She didn’t have anything to lose. If her customer didn’t like the diamonds she offered, then she wasn’t going to make the sale. She would’ve been in the same position she was in before she called me. If her customer did like one of the diamonds, however, then she could have a better chance of winning.
Buy the Diamond, Not the Cert
After doing the song and the dance with the customer, she was able to close the sale. He actually chose the diamond my client was least looking forward to showing; the 1.45 RD G SI2. She was able to convince the customer that they were buying a diamond, not a piece of paper. For those jewelers trying to compete with online retailers: I welcome the challenge. Find me on JHJ, or reach out to my office at 440-442-7280.
Cody Grampp is a second-generation Diamond Specialist at Bluestone Trading, a diamond and estate jewelry wholesale company headquartered in Lyndhurst, OH. As a member of the Bluestone team since 2013, he specializes in buying and selling diamonds and jewelry and customer connections on a business-to-business level. He can be reached at Cody@Bluestone-Trading.com or 440-442-7280.