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Ask INSTORE: February 2011

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Handling raise requests when you can’t pay more, case displays for stores with low inventory levels, and more.

[h3]When a Job Isn’t Enough[/h3]Ask INSTORE 2-11

[dropcap cap=Q.][h4][b]I’d like to be a good boss but several of my staff are angling to be paid more, which I can’t do right now. Isn’t giving them a job in this environment enough?[/b][/h4][/dropcap]

[dropcap cap=A.]Simply paying someone a salary doesn’t by definition make you a good boss — even in the wake of the worst recession in 80 years. Of course, the issue isn’t just money — it’s what they’re trading for it — their time and their life, so money in your employees’ minds is tied up with the issue of “what’s fair.” If your employees feel they are working hard and not sharing in the benefits, they aren’t going to work particularly hard for you much longer. (One answer is to share some financial data so your staff can see you are struggling too if that is the case). In addition to the financial aspects, people want to be proud of the organization they work for and to be recognized for their place in it. They want some control over what they do, too — so go easy on the micromanaging — and finally, they want camaraderie, the sense of belonging to a team. Meet all these goals and you probably won’t have to worry about employees demanding more pay. Best of all, you are likely to have enthusiastic employees. [/dropcap]

[componentheading]DISPLAYS [/componentheading]

[h4][b]What kind of displays do you suggest for cases that have smaller inventory levels? I don’t want them to look empty.[/b][/h4]

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Go for vignettes instead of linear displays. “Group like items together in ‘stories’ and convey quality in the pieces you do show,” says Larry Johnson, senior VP of Pacific Northern and the author of The Complete Guide to Effective Jewelry Display.

[componentheading]ASKING[/componentheading]

[h4][b]Some of your Smooth Sellers seem to suggest they never pressure their customers or never use closes and yet they record these phenomenal sales figures. What’s their secret?[/b][/h4]

Fair question, so we went back to our million-dollar sellers and asked them. The conclusion: You need to “ask for the sale,” but that doesn’t mean using a canned line or piling on the pressure. It’s often just a matter of phrasing and timing. So if you ask a question like “So does this fit with what you had in mind?” And they say “It fits perfectly!” you can go straight to: “Great! Would you like to pay with cash or credit card?” But if they say, “No, it’s not” or “I’m not sure,” then you just need to ask more questions to find out what isn’t perfect for them, or perhaps romance the sale a little more. As Zig Ziglar once said: “For every sale you miss because you’re too enthusiastic, you will miss a hundred because you’re not enthusiastic enough.” Ask!

[componentheading]SECURITY [/componentheading]

[h4][b]I am considering using an invisible film on the inside of my showcases to prevent blatant smash and grab robberies. Is it worth it?[/b][/h4]

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Bob Frank, vice president of the Jewelers Security Alliance, says that based on crime reports received at the JSA, security film can be successful in slowing down someone attempting to enter a business by smashing a window or smashing a display case open with a blunt instrument, such as a sledgehammer. “Of course, it will not stand up to an attack forever. An important factor is proper installation and there may also be a problem with eventual fading or yellowing of the film,” he says. Top suppliers like 3M provide different guarantees against their product peeling, cracking and becoming discolored. Frank urges you to get on the Internet and start researching what would be the best fit for your situation.

[componentheading] SELLING [/componentheading]

[h4][b]What’s the best approach to selling a customer who wants something you don’t have?[/b][/h4]

If you can’t give them what they want, tell them where they can get it — but try to sow some doubts first. This may well be an uphill battle if it’s a particular brand-name item they’re after but go ahead and ask what it was about the piece that they liked so much and offer to show them something similar. You never know, they may just fall in love with it. As a last resort if you can’t provide it, tell them where they can get it, because that’s part of your job. “Everyone hates to walk somebody, but it’s the professional thing to do if you can’t turn it around,” says sales trainer Shane Decker.

[span class=note]This story is from the February 2011 edition of INSTORE[/span]

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