Why You Need to Push Appraisals
by Angie Ash, EVP
I was out with a group of friends last week (finally!), and over a glass of wine, one of my friends started telling me about her summer garage sale. She made $800 and seemed thrilled with it. Then she said something that made my heart sink and threatened to make me choke on my glass of cabernet.
“You know, I sold some jewelry I didn’t want any longer and had no idea what to charge. There was a man who looked pretty intently at a few pieces and bought them right away with a huge smile on his face. I have a feeling he got a real bargain. Maybe I shouldn’t have done that.”
Oops. Yes, he most certainly did get a real bargain. His demeanor indicated he knew what he was looking for. In fact, I’m sure he probably thought he hit the jackpot. I was at a loss for words and tried valiantly to keep the horrified expression off my face. I couldn’t bear to tell her she made a huge mistake when I was so happy to catch up with her after all this time. I wanted to hug her and simultaneously throttle her. She could have called me and I would have been happy to steer her in the right direction! This particular friend and her husband are both highly educated people in medical professions and make lots of money. As in their dogs have their own air-conditioned “house” near their pool, and they had a front door custom-designed for their 7,000+ square feet home out of exotic wood. So how did this misstep happen?
The answer lies in their lack of updated appraisals coupled with sheer consumer ignorance. Sure, appraisals are moneymakers for fine jewelers. But, more importantly, they’re a much-needed educational opportunity for consumers, and a great way for you to connect with them personally. Just sending a letter to your customers, reminding them that their fine jewelry pieces are due for an appraisal, is a simple step. Heck, if you have their email addresses, send a note to them that way. Just like dentists and vets send reminder cards to schedule appointments, so should retail jewelers.
Also consider creating a few social posts and videos about the importance of appraisals to post on YouTube, including some helpful pointers. Grab a jewelry box and put varying pieces in it, including a few costume pieces, maybe a Pandora bracelet, some sterling silver, and nicer gold pieces that are outdated. Perhaps some outdated diamond jewelry styles, too. Then walk your YouTube audience through how you would review all of those pieces as if they were right there with you in the store. Show them the markings you look for on pieces and educate them on what they can do at home before they ever step foot in your jewelry store.
No YouTube? Regardless of how you promote appraisals, your communication doesn’t have to be boring, and shouldn’t be. ‘No form letters’ should be your mantra! Make your communication engaging. Share a success story from one of your own customers who had items revalued at substantially more than the price that was paid years ago. Or share a horror story like the one I did here. Remind your customers to always bring pieces that are in question into your store rather than putting them in a garage sale, in plastic Ziploc bags on a card table next to that unwanted George Foreman grill. Honesty, I’m still recovering from the nightmare of my friend’s story!
No matter what you do, for the love of all things holy, put that appraisal plan into place STAT. But perhaps check out a few garage sales in upscale neighborhoods near you first.