Apprentice contestants provide a lesson in how not to sell jewellery

In a show first, last night’s Apprentice contestants were tasked with selling goods live on TV shopping channel, TJC (formerly known as The Jewellery Channel).

Alongside three other items, both teams had to choose a piece of jewellery to sell live on TV.

One team opted for a white gold diamond and tanzanite necklace, with a starting price of £897.99, while the other group went for an 18ct gold pair of diamond hoops, which had a £2998.99 price tag.

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This was an interesting task for the contestants, as those who have appeared on shopping channels before will know. it’s difficult to sell on live TV, especially when you are having to listen to information being given to you in your ear.

As always, they gave it their best shot though – and the TV edits made them out to be doing a terrible job – but while they did manage to sell the other items they were tasked with, none made a single jewellery sale.

The tanzanite necklace started at £897.99 and went down to £349.99 at the last minute.

During the show, two necklaces were sold, but in the end these sales didn’t go through.

The contestant’s sales technique for this piece was to appeal to the men first, and the ladies later.

She said: “If you are a hubby out there and thinking what can I do to show my wife I really appreciate her, I know what you can do, you can buy a 18ct white gold, AAA tanzanite, which is like the best, of the best, of the best.”

At this point the show’s producers had to jump in and ask her to retract the statement about AAA being the best, as this is in fact not true.

In her final efforts she said: “Treat yourself ladies, look how beautiful it is, diamonds are a girl’s best friend.”

On the other team the hoops started at £2998.99 – and one pair sold straight away before the contestants really said anything.

The price then dropped to £2699.99, but no more were sold.

It was later revealed in the board room that the big jewellery sale they had pinned their hopes on actually fell through.

For the sale of the earrings a male and female contestant worked together to try and bring in the big bucks. The girl said: “Wow, do we have a treat for you. We have some stunning hoops. Look at the way the glisten,” before the guy chipped in with: “Diamond’s really are a girl’s best friend. How would you feel if I bought you these diamond earrings?” The girl responded: “If you bought me these diamond earrings I would marry you tomorrow.”

Anyone with experience in selling jewellery would have cringed watching the contestants try and give it ago.

While they had no training or experience, and had to attempt to sell via a shopping channel for the very first time, it did highlight how selling jewellery is completely different to selling other products.

First of all, you need expertise. You can’t go around throwing words such as its AAA, without understanding what that means and explaining it to the customer.

You also can’t expect to sell a high-value item without explaining why they are worth the number on the price tag. At no point did the contestants go into details about the craftsmanship or story of the piece, and the group selling the gold hoops were not seen even mentioning what stones were in the piece.

Last but not least, neither group showed what the piece of jewellery would look like on. Obviously through a TV, the customer can’t try it for themselves, but the contestants could have put the pieces on themselves, or at least showed what they look like against the skin. By not touching them or playing with them, it was hard to picture what they would look like or feel like.

Jewellery is such a personal item, and as such, expertise and the ability to tell a story is needed to sell pieces in the jewellery trade.

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