By Jim Ackerman
Jim Ackerman is a retail jewelry marketing expert who has spoken to jewelry retailers at JA New York, JCK, The Smart Jewelry Show and others. He can be reached at 800-584-7585, ext. 3 or by email at

If you’re advertising isn’t working, it’s a good bet you’re not making a compelling offer.

Look, I know you don’t think you should have to make any offer at all. People should just come in because they need your product and you’re the best jeweler in town.

Trouble is, you don’t buy that way and neither do your customers.

People need to be enticed, cajoled, persuaded. And if you’re not making offers that do that, well, they’re not going to buy.

A lot of jewelers don’t want to face this reality. I’ve had them tell me they don’t want to make offers, they don’t want to offer discounts, they don’t want to be “salesy.” And they’re not … until their going-out-of-business sale, where they discount the heck out of everything, clear down to the fixtures.

“But Jim, I shouldn’t have to give away the store and all my profits with it to get a sale!”

Correct. But you’re making the mistake of thinking the words “discount” and “offer” are synonymous. They are not.

“But Jim, I don’t want to be seen as a pushy salesperson.”

Right. That’s why you have offers. They do the pushing for you. They’re your excuse to ask people to buy.

To make better offers, begin by determining the reason for the offer. (It doesn’t have to be a sale.)

Here are eight reasons for offers:
Lead generation (you should be doing a lot more of this);
Lead conversion;
Initial trial;
Straight purchase;
Repeat purchase;
Client reactivation; and
Referral request.

There are others but the point is, you begin to craft your offers with a specific end in mind.

Don’t Discount … Add Value
Generally speaking, as a consumer, which would you rather do, pay $80 for a $100 value, or pay $100 for a $140 value?

All else being equal, the answer is obvious; pay $100 for the $140 value.

Why is this so hard for jewelry retailers to figure out? If you’re willing to give somebody a 20 percent discount, you are taking $20 out of your pocket for every $100 in value rendered in your product. Why on earth won’t you take the same $20 and pay--at wholesale price--for an additional $40 worth of value for the client, but collect the full $100 in doing so.

It costs you the same $20 either way but the perceived value to the client is enormously different and twice as compelling.

If this isn’t the normal way you craft offers, you either can’t see the forest for the trees, or you simply haven’t taken the time to think it through, especially from the customer’s point of view.

Right Time, Right Place
There are, of course, times to discount.

Major inventory reductions are one example. Anniversary events are another, perhaps. But while you could argue the value of discounts even in these circumstances, there is one time and place where discounting is a no-brainer--add-on selling.

The resistance I get to this never ceases to astound me!

Think about it: You’ve already paid for the advertising, rent, utilities, fixtures, personnel, computers, systems, cleaning, signage, training and everything else it takes to run your business when you got them in the door in the first place.

If you get them to spend an extra $100 at this point, the only additional expenses are cost of goods and spiff or commission. The rest is pure profit. It’s just silly not to entice them to get a little something extra, with a discount that makes such an addition a no-brainer. And it’s literally free money for you.

Of course, you ask, why don’t I just offer them the extra stuff without a discount? And you can! And if you’re a really good salesperson, and your sales staff also really good, you may be fairly successful. But by making your add-on offers extra appealing, you could see up to a 30 percent “yes” rate, and perhaps even more. This is difficult to achieve without the compelling offer.

There is an art to crafting offers your clients and prospects won’t refuse, just as there is to crafting a stunning and irresistible ring.

Candidly, if profit is your goal, you’re better off learning the craft of offers, and let others make your jewelry.

Jim Ackerman has spoken to jewelry retailers at JA New York, JCK, The Smart Jewelry Show and others. He has teamed with Shane Decker for the Ultimate Jewelry Sales & Marketing Boot Camp, to be held this September. National Jeweler readers can get more information about the event and download a free report here.

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Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.