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Manager's To Do

Capitalizing on Valentine’s Engagement Sales, March Madness and More March To-Dos

Your managerial planning for the month starts here.

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Mar. 3-9

BUDGETING Time to get started on making a budget for the 2019 buying season and get ready to trade in old inventory for new inventory. Also, if possible, have an inventory reduction sale to get rid of the dated inventory before going to Vegas.

SALES FLOOR Beware the ex-brides of March! Divorce filings are highest this month. Do you have a script ready explaining why the resale value of an engagement ring may not meet the customer’s expectations? If not, get busy.

Video: Hand Out Specialty Items That Jewelry Buyers Actually Care About
Jim Ackerman

Video: Hand Out Specialty Items That Jewelry Buyers Actually Care About

Video: Stop Asking Jewelry Customers ‘What’s Your Budget?’
Jimmy Degroot

Video: Stop Asking Jewelry Customers ‘What’s Your Budget?’

Waiter Donates $200 to Jeweler’s Fundraiser, Wins Billionaire’s Heart, Gets Dream Job
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Waiter Donates $200 to Jeweler’s Fundraiser, Wins Billionaire’s Heart, Gets Dream Job

MARKETING Remember all those clients who bought engagement rings in advance of Valentine’s Day? Call to see what their plans are for wedding bands.

Mar. 10-16

MERCHANDISE It’s March. Embrace the madness. The NCAA Men’s Basketball Finals starts on March 17 and runs through to April 8. It’s a great chance to clear out old inventory with a quick Sheer Madness Sale! At the very least, organize a pool for staff.

SHOWROOM Is your custom area as friendly as it could be? Does it feature a gallery highlighting past designs, portraits of satisfied customers, updated displays, appropriate lighting, a signature scent?

Mar. 17-23

MARKETING Hold a Prom Dress Party. Encourage girls to bring their dresses into the store and try on jewelry with the dress. Identify pieces to excite them at prices that will entice a sale (that means jewelry with a big look for less money).

MERCHANDISING Pull out your promotional calendar and view it from the perspective of using the events to manage and reduce specific inventory. Annual customer appreciation sales, trunk shows, open houses, and repair/jewelry remodeling events can all give your finances an even greater boost if you execute them with a view to moving certain items.

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MANAGEMENT Download a time tracker to your phone and start logging how you spend your work life — not because there’s much value in the record you create, but because the very act of recording can have a powerful psychological impact, leading you to use your time much more efficiently. (Warning: Brace yourself to be alarmed at how you fritter away time.)

Mar. 24-30

SHOWROOM In one analysis of a university building in Oregon, workers on the greenery-facing side took 19 percent fewer sick days. It apparently has to do with how we evolved to function best in nature-rich settings. If you can’t knock a side wall out to provide a view of the glorious outdoors, buy a few potted plants to place around your sales floor.

PERSONAL Take an inventory of your tech use and evaluate each item for its usefulness, working on the assumption that if something can’t justify itself, it’s out. Exit the social networks you barely use and get rid of the apps that, when you think about it, have no benefit. Yep, that means Candy Crush may have to go.

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at editor@instoremag.com.

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Wilkerson Testimonials

He Thought It Was a Great Time to Retire — So He Called Wilkerson!

As David Kiselstein, owner of J. Albert Johnson Jewelers in Fairfield, CT says, it was a perfect time to close the store he’d owned for 45 years. “I’m 72-years old, the lease came due and I thought it would be a great time to retire.” A savvy businessman and one of the founders of the Continental Buying Group, Kiselstein urges others who want to conduct a retirement sale to pick up the phone and call Rick Hayes at Wilkerson. “He’ll talk you through it. He’ll help you understand it. He’ll give you the confidence you need to go through such a big experience.”

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Remembering Woodstock, The Little One’s First Day in Kindergarten, and More Useful August Dates

You’re always busy, but this month, get things done.

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19 Mark the 30th anniversary of the launch of Stephen Covey’s THE 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE by doing something in its spirit: keep a journal of everything you do, broken down into 30-minute increments. At the end of each workday, assign a value — 1, 2 or 3 (the lowest) — to your time, and at the end of the week, evaluate the results. They may well surprise you. Obviously you want to be spending at least half your time on No. 1s.

1 August is GET READY FOR KINDERGARTEN MONTH. On the first day of school, invite all new kindergarten moms to come in for mimosas and snacks. They can reward themselves for surviving this milestone.

4 The FIRST ELECTRIC LIGHTBULB sparked to life 140 years ago today. Mark the occasion with a brainstorming session with staff for fourth-quarter promotions.

15 Fifty years ago today, the promise of free music, a good time, and … umm … a pretty good shot at “getting lucky” drew 400,000 young people to WOODSTOCK, NY. To many folks, that’s much the same promise that jewelry makes (minus the music). Roll back the years with a store party.

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Manager's To Do

Brush Up Your Credentials, Double-Check Pricing on Your Hottest Sellers, and More Manager’s To-Do Items for August

Your managerial planning for the month starts here.

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Jul. 28 – Aug. 3

INTERNET Need a tech project? Learn how to integrate the tools on Google Docs so you can easily share store information (training tips, store manual, rosters) among staff.

MANAGEMENT This is a good time of year to consider your employees’ salaries. According to a study by Dale Carnegie Training, 26 percent of engaged employees would leave their current job for just a 5 percent increase in pay. Don’t lose great people because you’re underpaying them, especially in the current tight market.

Aug. 4-10

SYSTEMS Write scripts for greeting customers: what to show them, handling take-ins, getting wish-list information.

MARKETING People defer to authority (it allows them to think less about decisions requiring specialized information). Don’t assume your expertise is self-evident. Get those credentials up on the wall, and on your website with a brief explanation in your About Us page about what it takes to attain them.

Aug. 11-17

MARKETING Hospitals, nail salons, spas, fitness centers, car dealers, realtors … there’s a number of businesses that have surprising potential to be a great marketing partner with a jeweler during the lead-in to the holidays. Draw up a shortlist and reach out.

STAFF A good way to help create a standout sales team is by sending staff members to other stores to watch their great salespeople in action. Have a relationship with a non-competing jeweler with outstanding salespeople in your state or region? Write a letter to them, starting with “Hey, I’d like to ask you for a really big favor …”

Aug. 18-24

MARKETING Hire a pro to take new photos of your store and your staff while everyone is tanned and happy. These are valuable marketing tools you can use when meeting new vendors at trade shows, dealing with local press, or even entering next year’s America’s Coolest Store contest.

PRICING If you’re like a lot of smaller jewelers, you may be underpricing a proven seller compared to your competition. “Fast-sellers in particular need to be fully priced,” says the Edge Academy’s David Brown. This week, spend time researching what prices your best-selling items are achieving across the industry and make sure you are realizing their full potential.

Aug. 25-31

FINANCE According to our Brain Squad surveys, only about 50 percent of independent jewelers offer some form of financing, and among those who do, most say the programs are an effective way of supporting sales. Investigate the options offered around the industry.

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Manager's To Do

Fun, Sun and Strategy … And More Manager’s To-Do Items for July

Your managerial planning for the month starts here.

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June 30-July 6

MANAGEMENT Summer is a time for fun, sun and strategy. To help you, a question to ponder from business author Jonathan Byrnes: Do we have bad profits? “Some investments look attractive, but they also take the company’s capital and focus away from its main line of business,” he explains.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT It’s parade season. Dust off your store mascot suit and join in the Independence Day festivities. You’ll be spreading a message of fun, community involvement and jewelry care.

July 7-13

OPERATIONS Are there some summer days when you show up and just pretend to work? This month, experiment with an abbreviated week. Knowing you have less time to get things done might just prompt a burst of productivity — and give you the chance to better enjoy the warm months.

SECURITY Place height markers along doorways so police looking at surveillance footage can determine how tall a robber is.

OPERATIONS You should have this already, a file documenting employee performance through the year. Actually, you should be tipping your workers off about how they’ll fare in their annual reviews. This keeps everything moving along smoothly, and you avoid those dreaded showdowns when employees get defensive. This is also a good time to plot your compensation plans.

July 14-20

PROMOTIONS Try a vault sale: Take older merchandise and offer it to your best customers at “incredible” discounts. Clients love it and often buy a number of items.

TRAINING Improve your staff’s question-asking skills with the Probing Game. Staff stand in a line, facing you or your sales manager, who kicks things off with the statement, “I’ve been looking for something for (insert occasion).” The first associate must ask a probing question about the customer’s needs, wants and desires. Fail to come up with one, and they sit down. Probing questions must be open-ended (who, what, when, where, how, why or tell me about your husband/wife …). Yes/no questions result in instant expulsion. Winner is last one standing.

July 21-27

TRAINING Discuss how to use company stories during sales presentations. Highlight how selling yourself and your store is just as important as selling the merchandise.

SERVICES If you don’t already, look into providing “Jewelry Box Reviews.” For $25, offer to evaluate a client’s fine jewelry collection to identify repair items, custom restyling options, and to document for insurance and estate purposes. It’s often a gateway to a series of custom design projects or repair jobs, appraisals, and gold and diamond buys.

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