Posted on | May 16, 2013 | No Comments
The value of our various internet properties has not been HITS (How Idiots Track Success) but lead generation and appointments. We want to attract QUALIFIED visitors, not a large volume of unqualified visitors. This cannot be achieved from just having a website up and running google ads to your homepage or to other pages. It’s not a secret that relevant landing pages are the key to having your customers react to your website/brand the way you want them to.
Here are some samples:
So you get the picture. There are hundreds more. Landing pages are important for all websites and for every product/feature that you want to promote. Now is the hard part for me…patience. If you build it, they will come, just not right away.
That’s it for my educational post of the month. Enjoy!
Posted on | March 23, 2013 | 2 Comments
I came across a recent situation where a service provider is (constantly) making a mistake that we used to do here at Samuelson’s all the time. It’s all about setting expectations.
Here’s an example:
Someone wants an engagement ring made. Back in the day, we would do everything we could to do it as fast as possible. “Sure, we will have this ready for you by the end of the week.” This puts stress on me or the salesperson, the jeweler, and eventually the customer. A lot of things happen within a week that we can’t control. The jeweler doesn’t get it done on time, a part needs to be ordered, it doesn’t look right and has to go back to get fixed, someone gets sick, etc etc. So then we are in the uncomfortable situation of telling the customer their ring will not be ready on time. Can even ruin a proposal plan. How can this be avoided? “Your ring will be ready in three weeks.” Now, if you have it in a week or two you look like a hero. Under promise – over deliver.
This discipline is very hard to adhere to for a service provider because you NEVER want to say “no” to a customer. Especially if it means losing a sale. Here’s another situation. “I have to have this ring tomorrow.” My advice – learn to say no. Nine times out of ten it’s ok if you explain it right. If someone needs instant gratification, then they are often not great customers.
What prompted me to write this post is that I have been receiving these promises from a service provider. And all of my stress could have been avoided had the expectation been set properly. “I’m working on it now, I’ll have this for you in an hour, you’ll have this today…” If he would have said, “You will have this next week, or next month, or next year,” this would have made for a much less stressful situation. Instead, I was expecting these things to be done faster and I had to keep asking/emailing/calling to check my status. Not a good situation for either of us to be in. Again, a simple “It will be done in a month (or two or three)” would have solved this problem for me and the service provider.
It’s a rookie move that a lot of businesses do, and my staff here at Samuelson’s is trying NOT to do this anymore. Took a long time to learn.
There was an interesting article in the New York Times about this titled, “What Did You Expect? It Makes a Difference”. It starts out talking about a doctor setting expectations, but what’s most interesting is the scientific explanation:
…how we manage expectations applies to everything, from dating to job searches to what presents we’re going to get for our birthdays.
“It’s so central to our lives,” said David Rock, author of “Your Brain at Work” (HarperCollins, 2009).
There are two sides of expectations — what we expect from others and what we expect from ourselves. And how we manage those expectations is critical to how we view our experiences and pursue our goals.
Mr. Rock, who is also director of the NeuroLeadership Institute, which aims to improve leadership through applying the latest research on the brain, says there is a physiological reason we are disappointed when life does not meet our expectations. The neurotransmitter dopamine is released in our brain — and makes us feel good — when something positive happens.
Take an event as mundane as crossing the street. We push the button and expect the light to change in maybe 30 seconds. If it takes five seconds, “there’s a pleasant release of dopamine, and a general feeling of well-being,” he said, even if it’s only fleeting.
The downside is that when our expectations are not met — let’s say it takes a minute for the light to change — our negative feelings are much stronger than the good feelings we get when expectations are exceeded.
Which is a real shame. As Mr. Rock explains it, “If we expect to get x and we get x, there’s a slight rise in dopamine. If we expect to get x and we get 2x, there’s a greater rise. But if we expect to get x and get 0.9x, then we get a much bigger drop.”
“When we don’t hit our expectations,” he added, “our brain doesn’t just get slightly unhappy, it sends out a message of danger or threat.” That suggests that the cliché “hope for the best but expect the worst” has a lot of truth.
It’s all about setting expectations…
Posted on | March 14, 2013 | No Comments
It’s that time of year again! I will be going to see the Allman Brothers at the Beacon Theater in NYC this weekend. It’s the best place to see them. Here’s a great clip from a few days ago with a horn section and Eric Krasno from Soulive playing Southbound. Derek trucks looks especially happy in this version of Southbound and I can see why. Enjoy!
Posted on | February 11, 2013 | No Comments
As any reader of this blog will know, I’ve always been a big proponent of Facebook. Hell, I’m even the unofficial inventor of the word “unfriend”. I’ve spoken at various jewelry trade shows about social media and Facebook, and even national shows like Etail2009 about my Facebook Fan Page, which is now at 1.5 million likes. Back in 2008, I was amazed and enamored with the site. I thought it was crucial to building new connections, getting back in touch with old ones, and getting your name and personal brand out there. And it was…and maybe it still is. The PR I received from it probably helped my career in some way. However, at this point in my life I feel like Facebook is a huge distraction for me both personally and professionally. And this is probably more of a personal thing, nothing more, nothing less. Frankly, I would deactivate but two things hold me back.
1) The DiamondFans Page of which I am an admin and creator. As stagnant as it may get, it’s still a big traffic driver and a valuable asset.
2) If people want to get in touch with me, whether it’s business related or personal and they don’t have my email/phone number, I feel like I should still be available through Facebook and vice versa.
However, the reasons for me to try and stay away outnumber the pros:
1) It’s a bad habit. Going on my phone and refreshing my feed on the Facebook app means that I am not spending time with other people, mainly my family, or concentrating on more important things, like work or driving a car! It becomes a routine on my phone and one my computer and it’s one that I would like to break.
2) On a personal note, I can’t deal with seeing other friends/acquaintances or random people (who I don’t even know) having the time of their lives while I’m stuck at home. Let’s be honest, the only time most people are sharing their pictures and checking in is when they are on vacation or at a great event. The Super Bowl was an example of adding fuel to the fire of me missing out on something great. It’s not healthy to feel envy, jealousy and regret. And it’s not cool to brag about how great your life is at a certain time. Tell me about it over dinner one night and I just may be happy for you.
3) Facebook in it’s nature is extremely narcissistic and self serving. Five years ago, I when I was in the WSJ about Facebook and being referred to as some kind of expert, it was perfect. I got a lotta free trips to Vegas for it. Maybe I am not as into myself as I once was, or maybe I have just outgrown it.
4) Facebook is very childish. In what real social circumstance do you act like such an attention seeking yutz? If you went to a party and showed everyone pictures of your kids, vacations, and also updated them on what you did every day and your random personal thoughts, they would think you were really annoying. Think about it.
5) I don’t think it’s ok for children to be on there, and when my kids get to be teens I don’t want to set an example that’s it’s ok to be on Facebook all the time. There are a lot of scary people out there which brings me to my next point.
6) Remember when you didn’t even want to put your name online, and ESPECIALLY your kid’s names? Now it’s open season. That is a scary thought. Someone coming up to your kid and knowing what they look like and their name and asking them to get in their car. I don’t like it. How about people knowing when you are on vacation so they can rob your house? Paranoid, maybe. Cautious, yes.
So you may ask. What about updating your business pages? Well, I may do that once in a while and I’m hiring a marketing company to do that. You may also say, “Ron, there is no way you can do this.” Now that may be true. But I haven’t checked today so like an addict, I’m gonna take it one day at a time.
What do you think about this subject?
Posted on | January 3, 2013 | 1 Comment
I received an email from Martin Rapaport this year talking about the diamond and jewelry industry. I don’t always read his emails, but this one in particular hit home because it was not just about diamonds but about the business world in general. I’ve written about Mr. Rapaport before. He’s arguably the most powerful man in the diamond world, publishing his monthly Rapnet Pricelist and magazine, the blue book and bible of wholesale diamond pricing.
I have paraphrased his email, but there are so many important points in here. Here are some excerpts:
2012 was a year of great change, challenge and development. The idea that American economic power had lost significance proved wrong as the boom in China, India and Pacific Rim fell flat and strong U.S. demand saved the diamond and jewelry trade. Let us learn from this – while it is important to develop new customers, it is as important to maintain relationships with old customers. There is more to business than the latest fast buck. Loyalty and maintaining relationships serve our long term interests. Make room for the new but keep room for the old.
President Obama’s re-election is a clear sign that a generational shift is taking place. New priorities and values will dominate the political, social and economic landscape in the years ahead. Youth, women and minorities will have increasing say about what happens. The Arab spring, protests in India, and a changing government in China are all signs of new values and the power of the people to demand change. The jewelry trade must learn to excite and serve a much more diversified and segmented customer base. Our traditional and conservative industry must adopt new values and adapt to new customers. Our emotional products must be in sync with a new generation of emotional values. The idea that we can ignore what our new customers want and continue selling questionable products is false. It is vital that we re-vitalize and re-legitimize ourselves and our products. We must excite diamonds in the mind of a new generation of consumers.
As we head over the fiscal cliff we must recognize our need for financial responsibility. Even a wealthy country like America cannot live beyond its means. Eventually, everyone must pay the bill for indiscriminate spending. The idea that a society is entitled to a standard of living that it does not create is false. The same holds true for our trade. We cannot grow ourselves or our industry on funny money from irresponsible banks. Bank credit that enables firms to buy diamonds at unsustainable artificially high prices that inflate Ponzi scheme balloons must be stopped. Legitimate firms have no business manipulating prices. Given expectations that the fiscal cliff will reduce demand for luxury products due to higher taxes, increased unemployment and reduced government spending, responsible companies should refuse to buy diamonds at prices that do not allow for healthy profits. Buyers should just say no to high prices. The real value of diamonds must be based on real money from real buyers.
The emerging middle class demographics in India, China and the Pacific Rim are huge and unstoppable. While there may be a few bumps in the road, steadily improving demand from these markets will support the diamond industry. Economic and currency uncertainty will also increase demand for higher quality investment diamonds as wealthy consumers seek alternative stores of value.
While there is no denying the fact that the year ahead looks challenging I believe that the challenges will bring great opportunities for those that have the right positive attitude. A key opportunity will be getting to know your customers much better. Not just as customers but as people with real wants and needs. Get to know yourself better as well. What are your strengths? How exactly do you add value? What is the cost benefit of your added value? Be brutally honest with yourself and don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself. Most importantly, accept the fact that the world around you is changing. Recognize that people will always desire diamonds and jewelry. And position yourself to meet that desire.
Posted on | November 20, 2012 | No Comments
Several years ago, when we had the pawnshop, I learned a valuable sales lesson from my father. We had a great guitar, a Fender Stratocaster, for sale. An old customer who doesn’t play guitar picked it out and brought it to the counter to purchase it. I got bent out of shape about it. If you read this blog, you know I’m a guitar player, so I wanted this to go to a guitar player who would put it to good use, not a schmo who didn’t even play. My father said to me, “What’s the difference if he buys it, take its out of the store and throws it in the gutter? He’s paying our price.” And that’s true. As a salesperson, don’t be concerned with what happens to a piece after you sell it, just make the sale.
This lesson probably resonates more when we are BUYING diamonds, jewelry, and especially sterling silver flatware from our customers. A common question is, “You aren’t gonna melt my family’s silver, are you?” I used to dodge the question. Now, I’m brutally honest with people. The real answer to the question is if we’re giving a great price (with silver at $33 an ounce the prices are very high) what’s the difference where it goes after you sell it? It may get sold to a customer who uses it every day, or it may get thrown in the scrap pile.
Another lesson a diamond dealer told me – after you sell something don’t look back. It’s gone, you got your price, so move on to the next deal. In other words, if you’re treated fairly, like we treat everyone at Samuelson’s, make the deal and forget about it.
So remember this Holiday Season, if you want to sell your diamonds, jewelry, silver flatware or engagement rings, we will treat you with the utmost fairness and respect – what happens to the life of your piece is a mystery…
Posted on | October 10, 2012 | No Comments
This was just picked up by the Associated Press yesterday.
AP (Baltimore) October 8, 2012
Area man Steve Sherman found a copy of Dire Straits Live At Rotterdam 1978 on You Tube and excitedly forwarded the link to his friend Ronnie Samuelson. The concert featured one of the greatest unknown guitar licks of all time during the song “In the Gallery”.
Samuelson knew the guitar lick well as it was recorded on a compact disc he had purchased in an Athens, Greece flea market during the early 90’s. After listening to the CD with Sherman, Samuelson lent his friend the CD. Shortly thereafter the CD and mythical guitar solo were gone.
Sherman searched for a replacement CD, but he could not locate another of the bootleg recordings. Samuelson gave Sherman grief several times a year for the past 17 years and they lamented the lost piece of music. It was assumed to be lost forever. Until today. The lost lick is at 24:54 but you should listen to a minute before. Bonus – try 39:37 in Sultans of Swing for an extra tasty morsel.
Posted on | September 27, 2012 | No Comments
Now this is cool! I’ve posted about large diamonds like The Graff Pink going up for auction and there are often famous guitars and instruments for sale though various action houses. However, when I saw that Eric Clapton’s Patek Philippe watch was going on the auction block, it gave me goosebumps. Granted, the star of this sale will be the The Archduke Joseph Diamond, a 76.02 carat flawless diamond, but Clapton is a guitar god and we’ve been buying a lot of watches, including a few Patek Phillipe’s, so I want to showcase this one.
It’s a A 1987 Patek Philippe platinum perpetual calendar chronograph with moon phases. Estimate: $4.27 million. It will be interesting to see if this one goes!
And if you have a Patek Philippe watch that you are looking to sell, we pay top dollar for them at Samuelson’s Buyers. We also have some for sale at Samuelson’s Diamonds for a little less than $4 million!
Click here to view a video where I discuss some of the watches are buying at Samuelson’s.
Posted on | September 6, 2012 | No Comments
It’s been a while (all summer) since I’ve posted, as I am still “Lost in Transactions” but I want to show a short video clip of Warren Haynes playing Jessica that I saw at Merriweather Post Pavilion. Enjoy!
This was taken with my iPhone, not bad
Posted on | June 9, 2012 | No Comments
I usually give a rundown of my show experience in Las Vegas every June. Last year, we saw strong diamond prices and strong demand. This year, I felt like prices were a little softer in diamonds but not in other categories like luxury and watches. The show was pretty crowded and people seemed to be buying. I also attend the Antiques Show at Paris every year where there is more trading and action going on between dealers – at the JCK Show it’s really just designers taking orders from retailers.
There was certainly not a lack of inventory, especially from diamond companies. It’s really amazing how much goods flow through the floor. These guys obviously have enough cash to hold onto diamonds and wait for their price, so that’s a good sign that they believe the market will remain strong. Check out the colored diamond bracelets and even the loose parcels displayed above and the larger fancy yellow diamond rings on the right. These were only a couple booths of thousands, so you can imagine how much there is to see.
However, the best part of Vegas was being with my wife to celebrate her 40th birthday. You never know who you run into on the casino floor. We saw some good friends and we partied like we were 20 and paid for it for the next week! But it was worth it – I worked 2 days and relaxed 2 days. Having fun is the most important thing and we did. So bye-bye Vegas until next year and Happy Birthday to my beautiful wife Laura!
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