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Selling is both an art form and a skill. Some people have an innate ability to persuade; others need to practice hard to achieve results. Selling jewellery is particularly challenging because of the cost involved for nearly invisible differences so don’t lose the sale by ignoring the basic techniques of selling. Here are 6 common mistakes that kill sales.

6 common ways to kill a sale

  1. “May I help you?” We’ve all used this greeting at some time in our careers and it is a sale killer. It is too easy for the customer to say “No thanks, just looking.” You need to engage your customer in conversation. Greet them as if they were coming into your home; ask if they need anything or if they just want to play with some pretty jewels for a while.
  2. Don’t ask questions. It is our job to find out what the customer wants and likes. If they are looking for a ring, ask which finger? Do you like yellow or white gold? How about rose gold? What is your favourite gemstone or colour? Keep asking until you can narrow it down to a few choices. If you don’t ask them they aren’t going to tell you.
  3. Don’t listen. It does no good to ask questions and not listen. Your customer will constantly be giving you clues about how to sell to them. Listen attentively to everything they say. They more they talk, the better chance you’ll make the sale.
  4. Make assumptions. Never assume anything about a customer. As soon as we start thinking to ourselves that this person can’t afford an item, or won’t like a style; we begin the process of down-selling our transaction. We will show something less expensive or less flashy. Show your best. Show your wildest. Your customers will often surprise you and buy it. At the very least, they will enjoy trying on something they can only dream about.
  5. Leave it in the showcase. Jewellery will never sell from a showcase yet in almost every store I see someone pointing to an item and describing instead of taking it out for a better look. Rather than telling someone about an item, show it to them. Get it in their hands, let them try it on. With jewellery it is often a case of love at first touch.
  6. Wait for the customer to say yes. Customers will not close the sale for you; you need to ask them for the sale. There are hundreds of books on ways to close a sale. Read a few of them to get some ideas and keep practicing on live customers. Don’t fear the rejection, it’s part of the game. But you won’t get their money without asking for it.


Most experienced sales people will find these mistakes to be old news, too basic to think about. But because of that we tend to forget about them. How many times does your sales crew fall into these traps? Maybe it is time to go over the basics again.



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India has been a jewellery-loving country where gold has become part of the fabric of its culture and an inseparable part of the belief of its people since time immemorial. The domestic Gems and Jewellery industry had a market size of INR 251,000 Cr in 2013, with a potential to grow to INR 500,000–530,000 Cr by 2018. Considering its immense potential and contributions, the Indian Government has also declared the sector as a thrust area for export promotion.


The art of making beautiful jewellery, with delicacy and acumen, has been developed through the historical times in India. The gold crazy country offers jewellery for almost all body parts, including hair parting, neck, ear, nose, arms, ankles, fingers, waist etc. India’s domestic market is flooded with hosts of branded and unbranded jewellery to suit to the pockets of every section of consumer. 


But in an era of cut-throat competition among jewellery manufacturers, collections with innovative and exclusive design attract more consumers. Manufacturers and designers here feel that good designs coupled with innovations and value additions always propel business even in an economic situation that is not conducive.


India’s Jaipur based Savio Jewellery has recently introduced a necklace that can be worn in six different styles by allowing the consumer to change the stones in three different colours - rubies, emeralds and sapphires. The pendant attached to the necklace can also be worn separately along with a diamond-set chain. Partner of the Company Mr. Ashish Sand says, “The concept of utilizing one piece of jewellery in different ways ensures that the jewellery is not just kept in lockers, so it offers our customers value for money. 

Innovation with value for money sells


The Creative Director & Forecaster, PDLG Ms. Paola de Luca, who conceptualized a clutch of new collections for Nazraana, a Rio Tinto Jewellery brand says, “Designing is not poetic but it is about analyzing and scanning the market. The next step is to identify environmental conditions; the third step would be to identify competitors, positioning and targeting the market. Market analysis includes studying social influences, consumer attitudes, geographic segmentation, demographics and psychographics.”


Ms. Luca also stressed that the manufacturers should follow merchandizing principles and categorize every collection based on concepts and each concept in turn should have price range that varies from high, mid and low. This would help retailers pick up and choose their inventory easily. Lack of consistency in collections can cannibalize the product range.


Strong design philosophy, impeccable workmanship coupled with affordable prices drive the jewellery demand these days. Creator of the Angaaraa brand jewellery Mr. Saurabh Mody says, “Design is an ever-evolving process. Even the smallest of the object can inspire you. I particularly like anything classic as it would always be considered as a heirloom and therefore treasured for life. Passion is the catalyst to success. If you are passionate about what you do, it surely reflects in your work. I also believe that travelling and reading can also help to open your mind in doing the things in a better way. Lastly, inputs from customers too can teach you improve on a constant basis.” 


So, it's like doing the common things in the most uncommon way. Consumers are always in search of a surprise element in their tests, those who provide it, can easily survive.



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To continue on the eCommerce theme I started last week, here’s another reason why many in the US jewellery industry should either be shaking in their shoes or trying to create strategies to take advantage of new selling opportunities. The two largest social media sites, Facebook and Twitter, are testing ways to have its millions of users buy products on their sites.


Last week Facebook announced that it is beta testing a “Buy” button to help businesses drive sales through news feeds and company pages. With this feature, Facebook said people on desktop or mobile can click the Buy button on ads and Page posts to purchase a product directly from a business, without leaving the social media site. 


A look of the new Facebook “buy” button that is being tested on the social media site.


The test is limited to a few small and medium-sized businesses in the US, Facebook said. And of course it will launch in the US first. 


This isn’t the first time Facebook has experimented with eCommerce. There were two half-hearted attempts to produce such offerings that were killed after lacklustre results. 


Meanwhile, on the same day of Facebook’s announcement, Twitter announced that it is purchasing, CardSpring, a payments infrastructure company that describes itself as a company that allows businesses to “build apps for payment cards.”


Twitter is also experimenting with its own buy button to create purchases but is doing it in a more stealth-like manner. A few observant Twitter users saw that a “Buy Now” button appeared on multiple tweets recently. The button wasn’t activated and it appears only on the mobile app, not on Twitter’s web page, according to various tech writers on the website Mashable. The company has yet to make a comment about the button. However, it has been open about looking for ways to getting into eCommerce.


The fact that these two companies are doing this at the same time is no coincidence, in my opinion. I don’t think these efforts are going fade like previous ones. ECommerce isn’t new and there are plenty of successful shopping websites. However, it hasn’t been successfully used in efforts, such as publishing and social media sites.


Now there seems to be momentum for this sort of eCommerce cross-over. Some of the biggest talk on the tech sector today is about this. I believe that with sites like Facebook and Twitter leading the way, new models and technology will appear that will allow businesses to more easily build and integrate eCommerce platforms at more places online.


Jewellers generally have a habit of treating any new way of doing business with fear or dread. It’s already proven that people will buy just about anything online. The only thing left is for jewellers is to see how this new eCommerce strategy plays out and then try then implement it into their businesses.


That’s what I’m trying to do with my blog.



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Last week I talked about selling the love. This week I’ll explore another way to create interest in your jewellery...selling the story.


Jewellery has been around since the dawn of humans on this planet. It is perhaps one of the first non-essential things we wore on our bodies purely for the enjoyment and adornment. Since that time jewellery has been a part of our existence. There are historical stories and legends that trace back thousands of years and new stories are being created right now. Use them all to make a sale.


One of the basic ways to add a story to your selling technique is to research the meanings behind different gemstones and jewellery styles. This information is readily available online and in libraries. You can print these stories on a small card in your showcase to create interest and get a conversation started. Talk about your own personal feelings about a stone or piece of jewellery. Does it make you feel happy? Calm? Excited? Let the customer hold it and ask them how they feel. Always remember that there is no correct answer, you just want them to respond to their initial impressions. This can be a clue to their motivations and can guide you toward making the sale.

Keep calm and tell a story

It is even better if you can personalize a story about a particular item. Did you find it at a show? Tell them a bit about the show, what else you saw, and why this particular item caught your eye. It is the story of why it is in your showcase.


If you travelled to an exotic foreign locale to source an item; back it up with the story of your travels. Make your story colourful and exciting. Let them feel they were with you. Talk about the sights, the sounds, the smells. What did you eat? Did you meet any interesting characters? Make it real and make it fun. Now it is more than just a piece of jewellery, it has a personality and a history.


Custom work is an excellent opportunity to tell a story. It can be as simple as describing the process of designing and building an item. Did you make a drawing? Is it cast or handcrafted? Did you run into any problems that you had to solve? How did you come up with the idea? Anything that adds interest can help make a sale.


You don’t even need your own story. Ask your vendors for their story. It might be a story of their travels for sourcing or it may even be a story of them overcoming personal challenges. If you or your vendor has a favourite project or charity that gets a part of their profit, tell that story. People want to know that their purchase goes to a higher purpose than just a profit. It makes them feel good about buying and we certainly want to elicit positive emotions from our customers.


A good story elevates your jewellery beyond just mere metal and stone. It brings life and personality into the picture.


What’s your story?


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India’s gems & jewellery industry had been flying high in the skies right from the beginning when general elections were declared three months ago and up to 10th July when the budget was presented. It was banking much over the formation of the new government with the hope that the new (Narendra Modi) government would certainly prove to be a savior for the ailing industry.


But all ‘aspirational tyres’ of the industry were punctured by India’s new Finance Minister (FM) Mr. Arun Jaitley last week when he presented his government’s first budget wherein none of the major demands of the industry was accepted. 


Some of the prime demands put forward by India’s trade organizations including the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) were to totally abolish or drastically reduce the gold import duty from present 10% to 5 or 6% and to review the 80:20 rule along with establishing a ‘Special Notified Zone’ under the department of customs for trading of rough diamonds on a consignment basis in India.


Various industry trade organizations had submitted a long list of demands to the FM as their pre budgetary recommendations, some of them have been pending and are being carried forward since many years. But what the FM did was only rationalization of the basic customs duty at 2.5% for all kinds of diamonds including semi-processed, half cut or broken diamonds, cut and polished diamonds and coloured gemstones.


India’s FM Mr. Arun Jaitley with budget proposals
India’s FM Mr. Arun Jaitley with budget proposals


Semi-processed, half cut or broken diamonds are exempted from basic customs duty in India at present, while cut and polished diamonds and coloured gemstones attract basic customs duty of 2%. Mr. Jaitley has also given extra weightage on promotion of exports by reviving the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) including the gem & jewellery SEZs in the country. 


But the industry stalwarts are not happy with these proposals which they feel are not going to bear any major impact on the sector. Especially the jewellery sector is very disappointed as the gold import duty has not been reduced even by 2 or 3%. They are now warning again that gold smuggling would continue as the duty has not been reduced even slightly.


An official statement issued by the GJEPC said, “While announcing various small measures and state level schemes, the FM has maintained the populist front. However none of them promise any major impact on the gem & jewelry sector. The industry is pleased with the renewed focus on promotion of exports and reviving the SEZs in the country. The GJEPC will forward its recommendations for reviving the G & J SEZs and will submit the same to the concerned authority shortly. We also welcome the rationalization of the direct tax mechanism for quicker settlement of tax disputes.”


Chairman of All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF) Haresh Soni is quite upset with the provisions of the latest union budge. Express his anguish, he said, “We are very disappointed with Mr. Jaitley’s budget proposals as the finance ministry did not consider our repeated plea to reduce the gold import duty and also to abolish the stringent 80:20 rule which is the biggest impediment in smooth operations of imports. Reduction in customs duty might have eliminated smuggling and removed involvement of black money. Instead, the entire industry now feels let down by the government.”

Mr. Arun Jaitley is well aware of the plights of the industry but at this (early) stage, he feels helpless for India’s gem & jewellery industry. He says, “We have inherited a very weak economy from the previous government. Our government is committed to the economic reforms and growth but you (industries and the people) cannot expect a miracle within 45 days. We have begun a process to improve the economy and it may take some years.”



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