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A Diamond May Last Forever, But The Traditional Sales Rep Won’t

Centurion

September 24, 2021


This is the second column in a series dedicated to the needs and challenges of the industry's high-level designers and manufacturers by successful retail, wholesale and consulting veteran, Megan Crabtree.


Key Largo, FL--Growing up in the business with my dad as a traveling sales rep and later owning his own jewelry store, he would religiously preach to me the importance of building relationships. If you think about it, relationships were at the epicenter of every sales transaction. Now, I am not trying to say that relationships don’t matter, because they most certainly do, but it is definitely no longer the only factor when it comes to deciding who you do business with.

If we think back to what it was like 10 or 15 years ago to buy a bigger purchase like a refrigerator, the process was fairly simple. You would hop in your car and go to the friendliest appliance store, meet a sales associate that shows you the functionality of a few models in your price range, and then you would pick one. A pretty simple process where the biggest challenge a salesperson faced was side-by-side comparison or a french door model.

But think about what that process is nowadays. We start with an internet search that results in knowing more than I ever needed to know for this one-time disposable transaction. With this newfound knowledge, I can waltz into the appliance store at a much later stage in the buying cycle with much more knowledge and many fewer questions. This means much less time for relationships as well.

This change to the sales cycle is not all bad news. It just means that there needs to be a change in the salesperson from a traditional sense to a more modern and consultative type of selling. In the jewelry sales rep world, this type of selling requires 3 fundamental ideas: think like a retailer, be aware of data, and own the entire customer experience.

Think Like a Retailer

This is a concept nearly all manufacturers have a problem with because to truly think like a retailer you often need years of experience running retail operations or being behind the counter. The good news is both manufacturers and retailers share a common goal: move product! Any concept that applies to you as a manufacturer applies to them as well. Just like you don’t like products sitting in your safe not selling, they don’t like products sitting in their cases not selling. Another thing to consider is who they are selling to. Whether it’s an engagement ring sale or a graduation gift, there is always an opportunity to upsell. So manufacturers need to consider this when creating products and stop making one-offs. Instead, make the matching wedding band, or matching earrings too.

Be Aware of Data

This goes for both owners of the manufacturing companies and sales reps at those companies. Owners, if you aren’t providing your sales team with what they need to conduct sophisticated meetings, do you really expect to remain relevant? And sales reps, have you even honestly looked into the capability of your software’s reporting? You might be surprised what it is capable of. So many data points, like top sellers, aged inventory, percentage of sales per price point or category, are waiting right there in your data, you just have to utilize it.

Own the ENTIRE Customer Experience

Stop it with the same old dog-and-pony-show consisting of going into your meetings unprepared, and showing tray after tray of products they’ve already seen and already have. You must learn about your accounts before you go into the meeting. Your competition definitely is. What added value can you provide for your customers? From readily available quotations to high res imagery and back-end portals for ordering, there are countless ways to be a part of every step of the sales process with your customers… and without physically being there!

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