This morning I called a local accounting firm to inquire about the cost of filing quarterly taxes through them. The receptionist quickly transfered me to an account who did a very strange thing. I asked him how much he would charge to assist me in the filing of quarterly taxes, and he instead began to educate me on the process. I began to the questions that were in my head about the whole thing, and he answered each and every one of them. I was on the phone with him for at least 20 minutes, and he never once said anything like, "Well, you will have to make an appointment for us to answer that" or "That advice will cost you." When I hung up the phone I was flabbergasted. Did an account, a very educated professional, really just give me, a random stranger, 20 minutes of no-strings-attached tax advice for free? Yes, he did.
This got me thinking about professionalism in my industry, the jewelry industry. Like my fellow colleagues here at Liberty Diamonds, I have extensive education in gemology and jewelry. I have worked in the industry for seven years serving literally thousands of clients. I have sold millions of dollars worth of jewelry, and all of this experience has made me very wise about this industry. There is nothing that excites me more than a client that is truly interested in my opinion and in my knowledge. Sure, it may sound a bit egotistical, but I, like many people, appreciate being valued as a true professional. When someone comes to me with open ears and an open mind, I give them more advice and industry "secrets" than someone who approaches me as standoffish.
I have personally encountered many educated and experienced people in the jewelry industry who refrain from offering free education and advice to consumers and colleagues. Many feel that they are being used by consumers who will just end up purchasing an item from the internet or a competitor. This is a valid concern as this does occur frequently. However, in my opinion, diamonds and jewelry are such blind purchases that consumers need some assurance that they are buying from a knowledgeable and reputable company. After all, if the people at the store cannot explain the differences in value factors, how could they possibly set different prices on the diamonds you see?
Many of our clients here at Liberty Diamonds are engineers. These individuals are highly educated and are very analytical by nature. To them, purchasing a diamond becomes an obsession with finding the perfect stone at the perfect price. Clients like these can easily scare a less-seasoned jewelry salesperson. Rather than treat inquisitive clients in an offensive manner, we use our knowledge and sophisticated gemological equipment to show them exactly what makes each diamond different and why it is worth the price we are asking. They appreciate this, and they buy. It's that simple.
So to you, the consumer, I caution you on purchasing diamonds and jewelry from salespeople and companies that are reluctant to provide at least a basic education of the value factors of your purchase. You deserve to know what you are buying and why it is priced that way it is. To my fellow colleagues, I suggest that you try to be more open about offering advice and education to interested consumers. It is our duty to protect the integrity of the jewelry industry, and this can only be achieved through proper education and professionalism.
Originally posted by me to LibertyDiamonds.com on 5/13/2010.