How many times should I follow up with a client who is interested in an item but leaves without buying?
Three times, says sales trainer Shane Decker. For clients aged 20-34, send them a text before they get in their car. For those aged 35-49, send an email the next day, and for 50 and up clients, phone them the next day. The subsequent two follow-ups can be made by any of those methods, based on what you know about the client. “All three follow-ups should be done very professionally with no push in your dialogue,” says Decker.
Should you charge to sort the jewelry from a family estate, and if so, how much?
Joseph Candella of Connecticut Gold Buyers, LLC (Wallingford, CT) says not to charge a penny. “I even write a very basic estimate/appraisal for the probate court at no charge. I don’t always see the items return, but I do now have lawyers and judges sending customers here on a regular basis. I get to see some beautiful antique pieces and coins and whatnot. I would say about 40 percent of the customers return to sell me the items. I make better margins on estate than just about anything else.”
My employees think they are entitled to everything. After 40 years, it’s really getting old. What can I do?
Management consultant Kate Peterson says to start with the mindset that no one is indispensable. Clearly articulate your core values and expectations. Then, look carefully at the people you have. “If the fit isn’t right, put a plan for recruitment in place. Don’t be paralyzed by the belief that somebody is better than nobody.” Next goal is a system that ensures your standards are maintained over the long term. Peterson recommends installing a clear management structure and adopting a performance management system with “semi-annual performance reviews that actually mean something”. Everyone on your team should be given performance goals (sales, gross profit, professional development, etc.) and progress should be monitored closely.
I may have trouble meeting some of my financial obligations in the not-too-distant future. Should I apply for a line of credit or look to sell a stake in the business to help get me through?
Two bits of crusty old business wisdom to consider:
- Never take from a partner what you can borrow from a bank.
- You can’t borrow your way out of trouble.
We’d advise that you try to get the line of credit (although it may not be easy if revenues are slumping) and then try not to use it. During times of change like this, your best resources are your imagination and entrepreneurial skills. Start testing different approaches to the way you do business. Explore new markets, new business models, new marketing channels. Topping off the gas won’t help if there’s something fundamentally wrong with your engine.
I inherited a lot of furniture and cases along with the store from my parents, and for whatever reason, I can’t just bring myself to throw it out even though my parents have long since passed. Any ideas?
Jane Hammerslough, author of Dematerializing: Taming The Power of Possessions, suggests checking eBay to see just how cheaply you could buy a duplicate of that heirloom as a way to uproot the belief that in throwing out Mom’s favorite floral armchairs in your bridal area, you’re really throwing out Mom or somehow disrespecting the business she built. “Blood doesn’t pump through veins in furniture or jewelry or tools,” Doland notes. “If you get rid of an object, you’re not getting rid of the person who gave it to you.” If that fails, take a photo of it as a keepsake and then look for a way to donate it to a charity. Remember that the greatest honor you can pay to your parents’ efforts in building up the business is to keep it going as a vibrant, fresh entity.
This article originally appeared in the May 2017 edition of INSTORE.
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