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Language Matters: Words to Use Selling Same-Sex Couples April 27, 2016 (0 comments)


Merrick, NY--In many places, retail sales associates or the companies themselves are not set up to work effectively with LGBT couples. (If you missed the article on this market from yesterday’s newsletter, click here to read it.

A 2013 survey by CMI titled Same-Sex Couples: Weddings and Engagements had a few examples from the 24% of respondents who encountered these issues. From the survey this question--and three answers--stood out: Write-in Question: In your wedding planning, did you experience any discrimination or awkwardness with vendors?

The answers that stood out were:

1. Many forms and websites assume that there is a "bride" in the wedding. Many assume that we have a "bridal" party. The hotel insisted on calling it a"bridal suite" despite being totally gay supportive in all other aspects. Hello, no brides here. Vendors need to adjust more quickly, using "wedding suite" or some other gender inclusive term.

2. Hotel for honeymoon had our room listed under Mr. & Mrs.

3. I cried when I went to fill out the form for the wedding site planner we were about to drop thousands of dollars for services with and it said, "Bride" and "Groom" and the planner was trying to explain that it didn't matter and he'd cross it off. It does matter.”

While these examples are not jewelry-centric, it’s easy to imagine where they could be. The wish-list you hand to customers to fill out? A profile you keep on your customer that he/she might see? You get the idea. The words matter. 

Recently, The Centurion spoke with Phillip Bosen of Bosen Associates, LLC. Bosen, with experience in this area, offered five tips for luxury jewelers to better sell to potential LGBT clients:

  1. Don't use the term "homosexual."
  2. Don't assume that a man is looking to purchase a woman's ring.
  3. Don't assume that a woman shopping for an engagement ring has a guy at home. If she has a girl at home, you lose!
  4. Your forms or POS system uses terms such as "husband, wife, mother, or father"
  5. Don't assume that because a LGBT couple are purchasing rings that they are getting married.

So what should you be doing? Embrace the words ‘spouse’ or ‘partner.’ Consider using it in your every day language with your customers. Make sure your forms follow suit as well. Extend your customer service and training to include this market. In the same way you make the sales experience a good one for your male-female customers, ensure that it just as top-notch for your same-sex customers.

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