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David Squires

Change the Way You Manage, Double Sales

Sales guru Harry Friedman tells retailers what to do to double their sales.



IN THE SECOND KEYNOTE of The SMART Jewelry Show’s “Monsters of Sales” series, sales guru Harry Friedman told a capacity audience of retailers what they’d have to do in order to double their sales. Some key points from Harry’s information-packed (and laughter-filled) session:

  • Remember what you are selling. “You are selling sex. You are sex providers. When jewelry is sold, sex happens.”
  • On an extra “C”: “The fifth C is more important than all the others put together. The fifth C is ‘compliments’. And the more she gets, the better.”
  • Harry’s in love with numbers. Specifically, the following numbers: Conversion rate/Average sale/Percentage of repeat customers/Number of transactions/Number of UPs per week/TOs Out/Conversion/TOs In/Conversion
  • You need to keep track of these numbers. Benchmarks for these statistics are what separate minor league players from major league players. If somebody is not hitting their numbers, get rid of them. Don’t think about anything but the numbers. Some jewelers place high stock on team players those who work well with others. Says Harry: “A lot of jewelers worry about the mood, the beat, the tempo. CRAP!!! I would rather be really rich and have a couple of pissed-off people. Than be broke and have shabatt dinner together … whatever that is.”
  • The most important number in retail? Conversion. The further your store is away from civilization, the higher your conversion rate should be. Because people are on a mission to find you. If you’re in a mall store, with lots of casual passers-by, your conversion rate will probably be lower.
  • Your goal is to make sales, not friends. Says Harry: “Did you open a store because you’re so pathetic you needed friends? Go to church. Join a synagogue. Donate some money and you’ll have friends. Don’t open a store.”
  • Jewelers sell about 1.2, 1.3 or 1.4 items per sale on average. But Harry says jewelry cleaner shouldn’t count in those figures. He suggests giving it away for free. Or selling a lifetime supply for $15.99, so customers come in again and again for refills. Forego the small sale to make the big one.
  • Percentage of repeat customers: “It is the only proof of the quality of your customer service. Period. You could call in the Gallup people to do a poll of your customers. But this number is more accurate. If they’re not coming back, you’re not serving them right.”
  • If you have an “up” system, be careful that your sneakier salespeople don’t rig it. Friedman, jokingly, demonstrated how he would steal sales from rookies. As a customer walked in the door, he would open his arms and start walking to the door, exclaiming excitedly, “Oh my God, I haven’t seen that customer in …” and once he was out of earshot … “ever”. How to have fun with customers who say they are just looking: “Give him a loupe, microscope, binoculars. Or give him a bicycle horn. It’s basically a signal for all the salespeople to leave you alone. And if you need a little help, what do you think you need to do? The customer answered, ‘Squeeze the horn’. I said, ‘Give it a try’. She squeezed it. And I said ‘Yes-s-s-s-s-s’.”
  • Bragging about his own store: “We ran a jewelry store in a mall with an 85% conversion rate. It’s true.” (Looks at Marlene.) “Okay, 83%.”
  • In the up system in Harry’s store. “Person who was up was not really up. Their job was to greet the customer, and then determine who would be the very best match for that customer. If that person was Hungarian, give them a Hungarian salesperson. Which, admittedly, we were a little weak on.”
  • Let poor performers go: “If you are a poor performer and we train you, all you are is a trained poor performer. If you have a smile on your face and love in your heart, you are going to sell some jewelry. That doesn’t make you a good performer. I don’t waste my time with these people. They should be good from Day One.”

David Squires is the Group Editorial Director of SmartWork Media. He believes that the first role of business media is to inspire readers.



When There’s No Succession Plan, Call Wilkerson

Bob Wesley, owner of Robert C. Wesley Jewelers in Scottsdale, Ariz., was a third-generation jeweler. When it was time to enjoy life on the other side of the counter, he weighed his options. His lease was nearing renewal time and with no succession plan, he decided it was time to call Wilkerson. There was plenty of inventory to sell and at first, says Wesley, he thought he might try to manage a sale himself. But he’s glad he didn’t. “There’s no way I could have done this as well as Wilkerson,” he says. Wilkerson took responsibility for the entire event, with every detail — from advertising to accounting — done, dusted and managed by the Wilkerson team. “It’s the complete package,” he says of the Wilkerson method of helping jewelers to easily go on to the next phase of their lives. “There’s no way any retailer can duplicate what they’ve done.”

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