Business owners in general like to believe that they are capable of (and even good at) change. I would challenge this premise. We need to ask ourselves what the implications are of not changing.
President, Diamond Dealers Club of Australia
Of course, there is always the fallback position: Why fix it if it isn’t broken?
The answer to that question is a lot simpler than you think. If you wait for it to be broken, it may be unfixable and then you really are stuffed.
As usual,I like to relate it to our industry. When I sit and discuss data analytics with jewellery retailers, I often get responses such as “we deal with these people all day long, we know what they want” or “my clients would cringe at the idea that I am analysing their buying habits or even preferences”.
I recently did a presentation on technology in the diamond industry. My focus was on the GIA’s Origin Certificate and the connectivity of this program to the mines, the cutters, the polishers and the retailers themselves. In addition, it also covered the Sarine journey and where blockchain technology fits into all this.
I bring this up because during my research, I could see a significant resistance by a number of retailers to using these tools effectively and, furthermore, their failure in getting past the cool visuals and looking to get a deeper understanding of the importance that these programs are revealing when it comes to sustainability.
All of us over the years learn a ‘patter’,or in this trade, I think we can call it a ‘spiel’. No matter what we are selling, we have this five-step process, which incorporates a certain language, style and methodology which works in the majority of cases for us to close a sale. So why change what works?
There is no doubt that reading it is a lot easier than doing it. I also accept that I’m no different to the rest of you when it comes to my spiel. However, I am acutely aware that as everything around us changes, we need to constantly reflect on what we are doing.
I need to determine if this spiel could be more effective, could be more relevant, and is connecting with my customers.
I’m sure that it’s fair to say that very few of you have ever gone back to a customer to find out why you didn’t make the sale. And the truth is that they will rarely tell you the real reason.
What if the real reason was that you did not really connect with them? What if sustainability was really high on their agenda but they weren’t going to bring it up unless you did. In my webinar, after interviewing some very successful people I came to the conclusion that in today’s world, it’s not enough to just tell your customer something. You actually have to be able to prove it.
The technological tools which I have spoken about above, i.e. origin and journey certification, are only one aspect of the equation, but they enable a retailer to highlight the journey and sustainability that natural diamonds are taking, and the importance that we place on it.
Why don’t you ask your team around you if they think you’re good at making changes? Or your family — just ask your partner.
When was the last time you made a radical change to your window jewellery display or asked someone else in the team to do it? Have you ever looked at all the different technologies in our industry or in retailing or wholesaling and asked yourself what could help you? Forget the cost to begin with. Ask the hard questions.
What would my business benefit most from if we were to change? It may be your location, it may be your merchandise mix, it may be your lighting, it may be your suppliers, it may be your working hours, or specifically the ability for a customer to contact you outside of traditional working hours, it may be the way people come dressed to work. Have you ever stopped to listen to the language everyone in your team is using when they sell? Is there consistency? Does your store have the ability to create a clearly defined journey for every new customer?
Last but not least, maybe it’s you that needs to change.
You notice I posed the question can you change? I believe anyone can change. The problem that I see from my own experience and watching others is that because change is so difficult we often will only change when the pain is so great that we do not have a choice.
So, let’s ameliorate some of this pain and start by asking ourselves the sort of questions I posed above. Success is often achieved by small but continuous adjustments aiming to improve. The Japanese call this “Kaizen”. You don’t have to make massive change, just meaningful and continuous change.
Clearly, without change and the desire to find better ways to do things, we would never have the mobile phone as we have it today or the ability to find a vaccine in 12 months where other viruses have been worked on for decades with no result. Yes, that is the big picture, but in our own individual bubbles which we reside, it’s the questions we should contemplate.
So, can you change? Of course you can.
Do you want to? That’s the magic question.