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Belly Up to the Showcase: What Jewelers Can Learn from Bartenders

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KRISTA BAKER of Palas Jewelers in Atlanta recently told INDESIGN that “jewelers are like the bartenders of the retail world. You hear customers’ life stories. They’re in for a wedding or anniversary and we really get to know them when they’re at that stage in their life. I make friends every day.” It got me thinking: What else can jewelers learn from bartenders?

A great bartender coaxes stories from customers in friendly, subtle fashion.  And he or she always makes the customer the center of attention.  Remember Sam from Cheers?  Everyone knew he owned the place, but he came across as more of a servant and a friend than as the person in charge.  And he allowed Cliff, Norm, Frasier and the rest to vent their frustrations or celebrate their successes in a way that included himself in sharing their feelings.

That said, a great bartender always puts service first.  The most annoying thing at a bar is when you have to wait for a bartender to finish up a conversation before he comes and waits on you.  Great bartenders can smoothly and gracefully exit a conversation quickly to wait on other customers. As a jewelry store owner, manager or even salesperson, you may often find yourself in a similar predicament. But you have to always remember that your clients expect (and even appreciate) it when you put your job responsibilities first. You can always pick back up on a casual conversation.

Great bartenders are also experts in their craft.  They know every drink and come across as more of an expert than their customer. A jewelry salesperson has to be the same way and always know more than the client when it comes to your product.

Is there a bartender you know that you really like?  What lessons can you take from him or her?

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