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Smooth Sellers

David Mazer

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Better All the Time/Pennsylvania salesperson’s secret: he never stops trying to improve

I ONLY READ business books ? no fiction. Fiction won’t help me in the pursuit of my goal.  

MY FATHER didn’t allow me behind the sales counter until I had proven competence in that area of the store. He was big into the ?psychology of the sale? concept ? that the item didn’t matter, the selling approach did. He wanted me to understand each phase of the sale, to know when to speak, and when to shut up and write. It was a great learning experience. 

?Outside the store, I can barely gas up my own car.’

I LOVE TO LEARN new perspectives. My parents’ store was part of a Scull group [through Scull & Company], and it was amazing to have the ability to sit with other jewelers and hear what they were going through. Shane Decker, Brad Huisken, Harry Friedman, Dave Richardson ? each one has something different to teach. I like to take it all in, and not regurgitate it, but make it my own style. 

I USED TO BE the featured guest of a radio call-in show about jewelry. I didn’t say the name of my parents’ store over and over, which really made my father peeved. But the fact was, I was doing it to make jewelers more approachable. Jewelers weren’t viewed in high regard at that time, and I took that as a personal affront. 

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IT’S FUN TO GET KIDS excited about jewelry. We go into high schools and teach young people about engagement rings. Girl Scout troops come into the store, and we teach them about birthstones (they actually earn a badge for this). They’re full of questions. You put something under a microscope, and they love it. It’s like you’re giving them a $100 bill. 

MY FAVORITE BOOK is Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard. I make sure every

one in my store reads it. Basically, it says that we as a society have become numb to bad service. But if a retailer makes their shopping experience extraordinary, customers rave about that business. That’s what we’re trying to do here ? make people feel like they have to go out and tell people about it. 

I DON’T BELIEVE in standard opening or closing lines. Just greet people as friends. For example, on Saturdays, we serve mimosas in the store. If a couple comes in looking nervous, I might say, ?Look, I know why you’re here ? you heard about our famous mimosas.? It breaks the ice, and hopefully allows them to have fun. Fun is big here. 

I LOVE SELLING important diamonds and gemstones. You think about these things being created by volcanic eruptions, and we’ve figured a way to polish them with mathematical precision to release their beauty. There’s no such thing as ?imperfections? in these natural wonders ? here, we say ?birthmarks.? 

WITH EVERY CUSTOMER, I attempt to make sure they have an unexpected pleasure while they’re here with us. It could be a glass of champagne while they’re viewing jewelry, or hors d’oeuvres during a designer event. Something they weren’t expecting. The greatest compliment I can receive is for a customer to send their dearest friend to me to shop. 

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THE ONLY REAL BREAK I take from selling is playing amateur baseball on Sundays. I don’t think about the store while I’m there. And I conduct myself very differently ? I spit seeds and curse. 

?The mistake I catch myself making most frequently is talking too much about the things that I love.’

I GET MOST FRUSTRATED when a customer wants me to do something in a way that’s not really best for them. They may tell me to just re-set a stone, and forget about the prongs. You try to explain it to them. At some point, you just have to say, ?Maybe I’m not the jeweler to do this repair.? It’s not my place to have an opinion as to how a person spends their money. But when a client insists on doing something in a poorer fashion just to theoretically save two dollars, it gets to me. 

SMOOTH STORY

David Mazer
Age: 46 
Years in jewelry sales: 28 
2005 sales: Not disclosed 

A fourth-generation jeweler, David Mazer spent much of his infancy camped in a bassinet under his dad’s jewelry counter. As he grew older, he decided his goal would be to become a world-class jewelry salesperson. David spent two years in college on a tennis scholarship, but quit when his parents decided to expand their store, so that he could begin working towards his dream. He has studied widely ? with the subjects being ?anything I can sink my teeth into to make me better,? he says. David is the manager of the Bernie Robbins Newtown location. 

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Bernie Robbins Fine Jewelry
Location: Eight locations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey 
# employees: 100 
Opened: 1962 
URL: Click here

Owner Harvey Rovinsky is a third-generation jeweler, who went to work for his wife’s father at a small appliance store named Bernie Robbins and did what he does best ? eventually transforming it into one of the premier jewelry stores in the region. Today, the company includes 10 businesses, including five main stores, three casino stores in Atlantic City, an outlet store, and a separate insurance business.

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