Sales Tactics

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi?

Isaac Mostovicz writes...

According to the economic news, Graff Diamonds, founded by Laurence Graff, recently pulled its IPO offering just before its deadline. At the time it had orders for just half of its $1billion initial public offering.


Who is Laurence Graff? Allow me to share a short story with you. Between 1998 and 2000, Enea Galucero, the late David Kiets – one of my colleagues at De Beers – and I tested the high-class jewelry market by sending people to pose as diamond jewelry shoppers along Old Bond Street in London. For the most part, they had horrible experiences in the most glitzy shops. But one of my “shoppers” had a great experience at Graff. She entered the shop, telling the salespeople she couldn’t afford a thing and that she was probably in the wrong place. Laurence Graff was present and, making her feel like a queen, managed to turn her initial impression on its head and almost convinced her to buy.


When the group of “shoppers” met afterwards, everyone wanted to know what Graff diamond she had been offered. However, even though she was a pro in diamond lingo, she was not sure whether the diamond had been round or square and remembered only vaguely that its weight was close to 1.5 carats. And yet she almost bought it! Graff had spoken to her, about her – and not about diamonds. With this approach, despite his diamonds going for prices of 25k and up – he was almost able to sell to someone with no intention to buy at all! One must bow his head when seeing such a master.


Sadly, now Laurence Graff seems to want to bail himself out of his diamond inventory by using part of the IPO proceedings to buy out his own diamonds. Does the master not believe in his own sales skills to turn his diamond stock liquid?


But he never saw his sales approach as his truly unique offering, and therefore did not spread that to his other shops. That was the mistake that put him in the position he is in today. Exceptional salesmanship – like Graff’s – sells; reputation is not enough. And now he seems to be jumping ship and just trying to liquidate funds. Hopefully Graff will overcome the current economic pressure. Even more so though, hopefully he will realize that his power is in his customer-oriented sales – and use that to appeal to more clients and build himself up.

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Post-purchase is where luxury marketers must place the emphasis in the buying cycle

Isaac Mostovicz writes that luxury brands must connect with their customers post-purchase ...

An interesting article on Luxury Daily has revealed some research from Condé Nast Ideactive, the research arm of the publishers, which showed that luxury brands must improve their marketing efforts to high net worth customers past the point of sale.


Image courtesy of Stock. XCHNG

The research shows that unsurprisingly, most brands focus all their attention on customer attraction but when it comes to retention, they could be missing out on the chance to turn brand loyalists into brand advocates. Condé Nast Ideactive examined consumers’ emotions at each stage of the sales journey and what marketing devices are used to satisfy their needs at each point.


Previous posts on this blog have discussed the importance of marketers connecting the luxury purchase process with emotions and making customers feel special, singled out, or important.


Pat Connolly, head of strategy for Condé Nast Ideactive, New York echoes this idea.


He comments: “Brands need to invest in emotion, and these gaps where people are very emotional [explore and post-purchase] is an opportunity for brands to invest in things like content and experience,” he said.


“Doing this post-purchase will create advocates and content-creators that deliver on the first gap [the explore stage].”


Post-purchase, the research has found that consumers, especially the youth market, need almost immediate validation from friends and family post-purchase – often carried out through mobile or social media.


Within Janusian thinking, this is a particularly Thetan trait – as Thetas seek belonging through bonding or affiliating with their peers. Thetas aim to fit in or contextualize themselves within their desired group and use socially derived understandings of product characteristics as a basis for their consumption.


However, the idea of a personal gift or something that singles out the buyer post-purchase is something that will particularly appeal to Lambdas. Lambdas seek distinction as an ultimate end goal – so a personal touch from a luxury brand that helps them stand out will satisfy their desire for uniqueness.


Clearly, brands should take advantage of this part of the buying cycle and view the post-purchase experience as an opportunity to reach out to their consumers.



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