How to Sell a $250,000 Diamond Ring
June 12, 2015
You know how when you want to sound professional on the phone, you do that thing where you clear your throat, steady your voice, and then inevitably start talking THREE OCTAVES HIGHER in that sickening sweet, Southern-Belle-esque manner, almost as if you were speaking to a priest, or maybe the sheriff, all while using words like “extrapolated” and “decisive” and pacing around your living room hoping they have no idea you actually just had wine and DOES HAVING WINE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY MAKE YOU A BAD PERSON? (For the record it definitely does and I am living proof.)
Yeah. That voice. That voice is the reason I almost laughed my literal ass off yesterday.
You see, it all started with this ring.
I saw that ring on Tiffany’s, and who wouldn’t want that ring? That’s the kind of ring for people trying to detract from how large their wrists have gotten, which is precisely the kind of person I am.
I do all sorts of things with this ring. I screenshot it. I print it out. I upload it into Evernote. I doodle hearts around it. And that’s when an evil plan formed.
Me: I have oneeee more thing to add to your to-do list.
Me: It’s kind of a…weird request.
Jess: No problem!
Me: Will you call Tiffany’s and inquire about the cost of this ring?!?!?!
Jess: Uh……Sure! (Because Jess is the kind of person who is never ever disagreeable even when people like me ask her to do ludicrous things like this.)
And so we laugh and I go about my day thinking nothing more of it, and Jess goes about hers, until later on, when I suddenly see a stream of capital letters and exclamation points come into the screen.
We get on video, where Jess proceeds to laugh hysterically as she tells me how she used her most professional voice of all her professional voices—relaying an exact play-by-play of what was said, and how she basically sounded like Violet from Downton Abbey, the imagery of which really made it all worthwhile. All I know is that the words “what kind of an investment are we speaking of?” and “a minimum of $250,000” were uttered, at which point I break down into tears of laughter imagining Jess on the phone with TIFFANY’S NEW YORK INQUIRING ABOUT A ONE-OF-A-KIND $250,000 BLUE BOOK COLLECTION DIAMOND RING—the only one of its kind in the world—sweating through her armpits and surely wanting to murder me.
But, you know, I had my reasons. Not because I was considering putting a house on my finger, but because I had read this article about whether a Tiffany’s diamond was any more inherently valuable than a Costco diamond—and turns out, not always. Carat for carat, the diamonds they looked at were, all things considered, the same. So, why such a significant price difference?
The answer was already one I knew: Because brand is selling power.
The Tiffany’s brand is what creates the additional value—not merely the product itself.
Because when you’re wearing Tiffany’s, you’re never just wearing jewelry. You’re wearing a feeling. You’re wearing pride. Sophistication. Class. Poise. You’re wearing worldliness. Elegance. Savior vivre. And maybe a little sex.
And that is what people who buy from Tiffany’s are paying for.
A chance to reinforce the story they so desperately hope to be true about themselves, to themselves.
A chance to wear a feeling.
And a chance to belong to an exclusive *mental* world that the Tiffany’s brand has created, one blue box—and $250,000 ring—at a time.
Because when nothing about buying is rational, the way you sell doesn’t have to be, either.
Turns out, a person's feelings about your product are your product.
…Sometimes more than the product itself.