"are 66% of jewelers are jerks?" mailbag

Philip Morgan

Great responses on the "are 66% of jewelers jerks?" email, y'all!

Here's an anonymized roundup of the various kinds of responses y'all shared:

"We have boundaries around here"

  • "I will not work with people I do not believe in. Unfortunately, if I don't like them because they are jerks, the bar to believe in them becomes quite high."
  • "Weave some ground rules into your positioning? I did this myself as a copywriter who was fed up of having to explain that copy is about more than making sentences sound nice. The homepage of my website states this explicitly. My goal is to short-circuit some of the lengthy debates at the start of an engagement with a new client, rather than put them off entirely... but if it does put them off because all they really want is fluff, then that's money I'm willing to lose."
  • "I have a policy in my business-don’t work with assholes. I told the potential tenant to take a hike and wound up with a much nicer family. It wasn’t an easy decision-I was broke…but thank god I listened."

"I smell an opportunity hiding in that thicket of jerks"

  • "Figure out a service or a productized service based on what I did for my clients and sell to the jewelers; Or go talk with them and figure out what problems they have, how can I fix it and if they would pay for it. I would start these talks with my current clients and ask for referrals. The second one is the one that probably works best…"
  • "I would simply charge the 66% of the jewelers more to make up for the pain of communicating with them-the extra time it takes etc."
  • "Market yourself to jewelers if you think they could be profitable and you enjoyed working with one. However, you should incorporate controls in your marketing funnel to position yourself as the expert and filter out the ... bad ones. Maybe make part of my funnel a phone call, or call them at their store and ask them a question."

"I believe in data, yo"

  • "I would want to reach out to 100 more jewelers, to see if I could set up research calls with them. I'd reserve judgement about their "jerkiness" until after that experiment."
  • "Speak to as many jewellers as possible to find out if your hypothesis was true (e.g. are 66% of jewellers jerks - What do the jerks have in common?). Also be honest about your personality, can you successfully work with ‘jerks', you may have great people skills."
  • " I might go to wedding-related forums or parenting forums to ask people if they know nice jewelers, because these people are likely to be dealing with jewelers to get engagement rings and wedding bands. And then if there seem to be a number of nice jewelers out there, I might consider jewelers as potential clients."

"Search your feelings..."

  • "For me it would be important to put it into the bigger personal context. Are you okay with dealing with these kind of jerks, and does the money make up for it? Or do they make you come home frustrated, so you yell at your kids and wife even if the money is good?"
  • "There’s a different kind of profitability from the financial one. And a different kind of feast and famine; namely the emotional feast and famine. This has been one of the benefits of positioning. It’s not merely a marketing tactic. It’s a business choice and a lifestyle choice. Who do I love to work with, so that it’s a win for them and for me, both financially and emotionally?"

Which approach is the right one?

Any of them.

Or put another way, what are you trying to do with your business?

That matters quite a lot in how you think about this question.

The answer might lead to clarified vision and mission statements, and those might be a jerk-inclusive, or jerk-exclusive. They might implicitly exclude jerks, or they might explicitly attract non-jerks.

BTW, I got a few specialization success stories in your replies to this question. I want all of you to know what happens when I get an emailed success story:


Have a great weekend,