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Celebrate Your Boys in Blue … and More December Tips

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Jewelers couldn’t operate without the wider protection offered by police officers. In recognition of this, Woolard’s Custom Jewelers in Burleson, TX, replaces officers’ watch batteries for free and delivers a free Christmas lunch to a local station each year. It also donates to the annual police banquet; last year, the gift was five custom designed badge necklaces. 

Cool Collabs

Collaboration may have been the word of 2017. Two tie-ups you possibly haven’t thought of:

  • A music school: Ocean Jewels in Myrtle Beach, SC, did that to entertain mall-goers with an impromptu concert last Christmas.
  • A bakery: M.K. Benatti Jewelers in Newburyport, MA, hosted a Chamber mixer at the store that featured a huge cake. “It was amazing — everyone was talking about our cake, posting on Facebook how awesome it was and how great our event was,” says Karen Khatib, who owns the store with her husband, Matt.

“Billionaires have a reputation for being competitive, egotistical, and controlling, while also being smart, hardworking and obsessive about their businesses.”

Write at Day’s End

Is your staff showing signs of stress as the holiday season reaches its crazy zenith? Ask them to do this simple act: spend 10 minutes at the end of the day writing about three things (work-related or personal) that went well that day. According to a report in the Harvard Business Review, this gratitude exercise lowers stress levels and physical complaints by roughly 15 percent.

A Home for “Puppies

“Words matter, both to staff and customers. That’s why “dogs” get their own clearance case at The Diamond Exchange of Maryland, Rockville, MD, “but we call them puppies,” says owner Ira Kramer.

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Add Some Mystique

If you really want to impress a customer, says Cal Newport, an associate professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University and author of Deep Work, cite achievements or processes that are hard to grasp, such as what goes into the engineering of a custom-ring design to ensure it can stand up to the rigors of daily use for decades. Referring to a response he calls the Failed Simulation Effect, he notes that if someone else “cannot mentally simulate the steps taken to reach an accomplishment,” they’ll be far more authentically awestruck. Magicians exploit this distinction all the time. Why shouldn’t you?

Beat the Grim Reaper

If you’re in a smallish community and have an older client base, be sure to check the local obituaries weekly. This habit can help you avoid awkward moments and maybe even win you some sensvitivity points. If you do come across a client’s name, be sure to remove that client from scheduled appointments and recall lists. And don’t forget to send the family a condolence card.

The Billionaire’s Secret

Billionaires have a reputation for being competitive, egotistical, and controlling, while also being smart, hardworking and obsessive about their businesses. It’s a description that could also apply to a lot of small business owners. So what accounts for the difference? Psychologist Brad Klontz says that billionaires are not afraid to ask for help. “In managing their often very complex lives, they have had to rely on a variety of experts to help them along the way. When they run into problems, they are less hesitant than most of us to seek help from someone who is an expert.”

Strike Friday Off Your Work Calendar

If at this time of year you find yourself wishing there were more hours in the day, or more days in the week, try proceeding as if there were fewer. That’s the advice of Laura Vanderkam, author of 68 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think. Vanderkam doesn’t schedule any work on Fridays. She doesn’t take Fridays off. She just pretends, for planning purposes, that the day doesn’t exist. That way, when projects inevitably overrun and unexpected tasks rear up, there’s a bucket for the overspill.


This article originally appeared in the December 2017 edition of INSTORE.

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Wilkerson Testimonials

Cleaning House for a New Generation

At Komara Jewelers in Canfield, Ohio, Wilkerson handled all the aspects of its retirement sale just as owner Bob Komara’s children took over day-to-day operations of the business. They’d used other companies before, says Brianna Komara-Pridon, but they didn’t compare. “If we had used Wilkerson then, it would have been so much better.”

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Tip Sheet

How to Become an Idea Machine, and More Tips for April

One tip involves a jeweler who allowed a client to pour his own gold.

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Strategy Be an Idea Machine

Write down 10 ideas a day. “Do it for six straight months and see what happens. It actually turns into a super power,” says serial entrepreneur and author James Altucher. To collect his ideas, Altucher buys 1,000 waiter’s pads at a time from restaurant supplies websites (10 cents a pad). “They’re great for meetings because I have to keep concise lists, and they’re always good conversation starters.”

Podcast: How Can Jewelry Stores Stop Losing Their Best Employees?
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Podcast: How Can Jewelry Stores Stop Losing Their Best Employees?

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Podcast: Using Social Media to Win Customers and Lower Your Intimidation Factor

Management We Are Family

Leitzels’ Jewelry in Myerstown and Hershey, PA, has a cool rule to reinforce the store’s culture: Every day, each team at both its stores must include a Leitzel family member. “We take pride in every aspect of the business and build relationships. It is easy to overlook how cool it is to be a family-owned and operated business,” says third-generation co-owner Allison Leitzel-Williams.

Customer service Pour It On

The trend of customers wanting to be intimately involved in the creation of a piece of jewelry can be considered either an annoyance or an opportunity. Collins Jewelers in Dallas, GA, opts for the latter view, starting with taking the customer out to lunch to go over their renderings and then involving them in every step of production. “One customer wanted to pour his own gold, so we made that possible and he was ecstatic,” says owner Marty Collins.

Productivity Take an Unwanted Break

According to a recent Columbia University study, the key to getting the most out of work breaks is to stop even when you don’t feel like it. “Participants who didn’t step away from a task at regular intervals were more likely to write ‘new’ ideas that were very similar to the last one they had written,” the authors explained in Harvard Business Review. So, “if you’re hesitant to break away because you feel that you’re on a roll, be mindful that it might be a false impression.” It’s notable, too, that the “break” in each case merely involved switching tasks. A change, it seems, really is as good as a rest.

Community Show Your Spirit

Communion season, which often takes place after Easter to around Mother’s Day, can be a nice opportunity for a jewelry retailer that is involved deeply in its community. Orin Jewelers in Northville, MI, is one such business, sponsoring a host of activities in support of groups from USA Hockey to the local hospital. They also sponsor, as well as make custom jewelry for, the Catholic high schools in their area.

Management Bad News First

When you’re delivering good and bad news to employees, always give the bad news first, says Daniel Pink, bestselling author of When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing. Pink acknowledges this often feels counterintuitive, as many bosses hope that by starting out positively, they will cushion the bad stuff. “The reason has to do with endings. Given the choice, human beings prefer endings that elevate, that have a rising sequence rather than a declining sequence,” he says.

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Tip Sheet

The Best Question to Ask Job Candidates and More Tips for March

Don’t miss “the right-hand close.”

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Security
Beware Social Thieves

Going to Basel? Beware of who you tell, what you post, and how you move. “Skilled gangs of robbers monitor social networks, and, based on information that the exhibitors post, the robbers have attacked, robbed and even burglarized hotel rooms that the exhibitors were staying at,” Itay Hendel, CEO of Israel-based ISPS, which specializes in theft prevention for the jewelry industry, says in a statement.

Management
Will Do, Not to Do

When making your daily to-do list, don’t pick 20 things you hope to do and that you think will add up to one day’s work: you’ll overestimate your capacities. Instead, pick the three or four most important things and really commit to doing them, even if you think they’ll take you only a couple of hours, suggests Luciano Passuello at litemind.com.

Showroom
Sign Language

When you go to a jewelry show, you ask your vendors what’s new, right? Of course you do. Consultant Larry B. Johnson, author of The Complete Guide to Effective Jewelry Display, says the best way to draw customer interest from regular clients is to put a whiteboard on an easel (total cost: $79) just inside your door with all of your new products written on it.

Sales
The Right-Hand Close

Owners are uniquely placed to provide a blessing to close a sale, but knowing when to intervene can be tricky. The sales associates at Linnea Jewelers in La Grange, IL, signal such situations by shifting the piece to their right hand (a technique recommended by sales trainer Shane Decker). Owner Denise Oros will then step in to provide the reassurance that’s often needed with a line such as “Great choice! I got that stone, pearl, etc. in Tucson, it is a one-of-a-kind, she will love it! You really have an eye for the finer things.”

Personal
Keep Vacations Short

There seems to be a belief that a “proper” vacation requires at least a week off. But as the American psychologist Thomas Gilovich told the Boston Globe recently, “If you have to sacrifice how long your vacation is versus how intense it is, you want shorter and more intense.” That’s because we remember and judge our experiences, whether good or bad, not in their entirety, but according to how they felt at their emotional peak and at the end.

Hiring
Ask How They Prepared

Anand Sanwal, the CEO and co-founder of fast-growing tech company CB Insights, has an interesting take on the best question to ask a job candidate: “Tell me how you prepared for this interview.” Not only does the reply likely reveal a lot about how the person’s commitment to the position — do they care? — but it will hint at their work ethic and their analytical capabilities, he says.

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Tip Sheet

A Low-Tech Loyalty Program and More Tips for February

From bench training to personal expectations, this advice provides holistic assistance.

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TrainingTake Your Bench Live

Live feeds from the bench have been used by jewelers to build showroom ambience and by sales associates to close sales for more than a decade. But there’s a second benefit that’s often overlooked — as a training tool, says Jude Dutille, owner of Dutilles Jewelry Design Studio in Lebanon, NH. Dutille has a camera at his work bench to “provide micro-visuals of what he is demonstrating,” be it stone-setting, fabrication, or hand-engraving to his staff of goldsmiths (all of whom are trained in-house “from scratch”).

Podcast: How Can Jewelry Stores Stop Losing Their Best Employees?
JimmyCast

Podcast: How Can Jewelry Stores Stop Losing Their Best Employees?

Podcast: A One of a Kind Family Heirloom is ‘Vaporized’ … and a Jeweler Goes Above and Beyond to Replace It
Over the Counter

Podcast: A One of a Kind Family Heirloom is ‘Vaporized’ … and a Jeweler Goes Above and Beyond to Replace It

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JimmyCast

Podcast: Using Social Media to Win Customers and Lower Your Intimidation Factor

ServicePass The Buck

A neat — and cheeky — way of dealing with overly demanding customers from a fellow independent retailer in the vision business: BJ Chambers of Carrera Optical in McQueeney, TX, told INVISION Magazine she keeps business cards of other optical shops on hand and gives them to problem patients and suggests they “go visit.”

ExperienceProtect The Window View

Yes, the job market is tight and you might be short of staff, but hang those flyers on a local bulletin board or near your counter, not on your storefront window as some retailers are doing. “Your front window is your customers’ first impression of your store,” says merchandising expert Tom Crossman. “Don’t make it a messy one.”

PersonalExpect Less

The problem with high expectations is they often result in future disappointment. Meanwhile, low ones tend to make you glum in the present, given there’s not much to look forward to. The answer? Stop expecting, says Jason Fried, who has written several books on work. “I used to set up expectations in my head all day long. But constantly measuring reality against an imagined reality is taxing and tiring, [and] often wrings the joy out of experiencing something for what it is.” Expectations also keep you mentally living in the future and deflated when events don’t measure up — even if what does happen is actually pretty good. In 2019, don’t expect … so much.

IncentivesLow-Tech Loyalty Program

Two-thirds of consumers shop more frequently and spend more at retailers with loyalty programs. But if all the recordkeeping seems like too much of a headache, you could do what Maxwell & Molly’s Closet, a pet-grooming business not far from our office in New Jersey, does: Spend $200 and earn 5 percent off all purchases for life. People appreciate simplicity.

MarketingFind Your CPP

When plotting a mass medium campaign, be sure to speak with the TV or radio channel’s consultants on how to best utilize your budget and determine what the “cost per person” you reach is, advises J. Dennis Petimezas, owner of Watchmakers Diamonds & Jewelry in Johnstown, PA. “What may be the most expensive on a cursory review may be the smartest choice if you do your homework,” he says, adding that any consultation should be at the station’s expense. “They can afford it, so don’t take no for an answer.”

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