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David Geller

David Geller: Clerks No More

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Don’t clerk repairs, sell them.

When you sell jewelry you’re selling beauty, style and love.

When you sell a repair you’re selling technical expertise, reputation and handling sentimental feelings. You must learn how to embrace these and use them to sell a repair.

So, how do you sell a repair? Through training and rewards.

Many inexperienced sales staff can sell jewelry without extensive training if they have personality and empathy for the customer. But shop sales require technical expertise. You must train on several fronts:

  • Technical expertise — the ability to explain how the work is performed and what precautions are taken when doing the work.
  •  Comebacks to customer questions about price and value.
  •  Communicating the experience level of your jewelers.

In our store, we accomplished this through regular sales meetings, spiffs and treating repair sales the same as jewelry sales. When we introduced our price book into the store, this is how we did it:

  •  One evening after the store closed, everyone stayed and we went through the price book just to get them familiar with where everything was in the book.
  •  Every other Friday we had an hourlong sales staff meeting divided into four 15-minute segments:
    Product knowledge. Each salesperson chose something each week and they trained the staff. Someone taught about sapphires, another taught diamonds. Someone else taught about how an automatic watch works.
    Sales training. We used Harry Friedman’s book, No Thanks, I’m Just Looking. Covered one chapter a meeting.
    Store news. Any promotions we were doing. No complaining about the staff but we might bring up areas where we could be sharper. We might also discuss some wins staff had the week prior.
    Selling and taking in repairs, and later custom design.
  • When going over the price book, we went through maybe 12 pages each meeting. We brought out a whiteboard and pen and drew how a jeweler takes a section out of a ring to size smaller. We discussed what we do, how far up heat travels, what stones can take heat. And we discussed what to say to customers concerned about price and selling the repair.

After six months or so of meetings, when we made it through the entire book, every member of the staff could run the repair take-in desk without ever having had bench experience. And they would have to ask the jewelers fewer questions.

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  •  If you pay commissions to sell product, you must also pay the same commission to sell the shop.
  •  Every now and then, I’d grab one of the jewelers and one of the sales staff before the store opened to go through the work that came in the previous Saturday. I went through each envelope telling them if the job taken in was done well or if there was room for improvement — maybe the stone condition was missing, they didn’t charge correctly, or they could have sold additional services. It was for the benefit of the sales staff as much as the jeweler.

Institute training in your store and you’ll see how your average shop sale will rapidly increase. (Ours doubled.)


David Geller is a consultant to jewelers on store management. Email him at dgellerbellsouth.net.

This article originally appeared in the October 2014 edition of INSTORE.

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