Although most jewellers will work with you to ensure that you get the ring that you’re looking for, there are definitely an unscrupulous minority who aim to squeeze as much money as possible out of every buyer.
This post is all about helping you to know what to look out for so that you don’t get shafted.
1. Good cop, bad cop
Not just a 70s cop show cliché. Working in a pair, one salesperson will put the hard sell on you, while the other is friendlier and talks you through your options with seemingly no pressure.
It’s a basic sales principle that people are more likely to buy from someone that they like and trust, so the good cop is trying to build a brief friendship to make you more likely to accept his advice.
This tactic is easy to spot but surprisingly difficult to resist without coming off as rude. However, the key is to be just as assertive with the good cop as you are with the bad cop.
2. ‘I have to talk to my manager’
Similar to good cop, bad cop. This time the person you are speaking to is the good cop but the bad cop, hidden out the back, may not even exist. This happened to us when we were looking at emeralds in India – the salesman kept on leaving the room to talk to his manager and coming back with a new offer. It was incredibly frustrating as we just wanted to be able to negotiate directly with the person with the authority to give a discount.
If the salesperson doesn’t have the authority to close the deal, insist on talking to someone who does. If not, walk away.
3. The ‘today only’ special
Adding artificial time pressure is a classic technique for closing a deal. If you’re offered a great deal but want time to think, don’t feel pressured to commit on the spot.
If you come back the next day ready to spend, they’ll still give it to you for the discounted price.
4. Persuading you through your partner
If you decide to involve your partner in the ring-buying process, bring her along to browse, but leave her at home when come to buy.
A common upsell tactic is to show your partner progressively more expensive rings, flattering her and increasing her expectations. It takes bravery to stick to your original budget with your wife-to-be gazing adoringly at a new, more expensive ring on her finger.
Selling is an art and a science – there are clear systems that sales people employ to manipulate buyers and close a sale and you do need to be on the look out for them when you’re looking for an engagement ring.
The key is to be clear on what you are looking for, to consider your options in your own time and to avoid being pressured into making a (potentially costly) decision in the heat of the moment while you’re at a jewelers.