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Manager's To Do

Display Advice, Customer Service Tips and More To-Do Items for September

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Sept. 3-9

DISPLAYS Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer — it’s time to change up your window displays to give them more of a focus on your bridal offerings.

SALES  For young customers in particular, having a diamond that is different from “everybody else’s” has become very important, says designer Todd Reed. “Be interested in the diamond’s provenance. Don’t emphasize the four Cs, but rather the fifth C — the character aspect of it, and that’s pretty priceless in a lot of ways.”

STRATEGY Schedule a brainstorming session with staff. We’ve heard of jewelers who help negotiate discounts from bridal vendors in their market, offer gift certificates for wedding day manicures, even kick in for relationship consultations, What can you do to stand out from the crowd?

Sept. 10-16

CUSTOMER RELATIONS Talk to your insurer about what would be involved in letting some VIP customers borrow some nice jewelry for their special days. And it pretty much guarantees they will tell everyone they know what great service you gave them.

MARKETING Do you have an FAQ page on your website yet? If not, get busy. It allows you to show off your expertise and to avoid answering the same questions over and over. 

MERCHANDISING The No. 1 mistake in display, according to Larry Johnson, author of the Complete Guide To Effective Jewelry Display, is hiding the good stuff among the bad. Expensive goods need air to breathe. Make sure your displays give it to them.

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Sept. 17-23

SALES Work out a smartphone strategy for your sales presentations. In short, it should involve an employee offering to snap a photo of the ring on the customer’s finger and then immediately emailing it to her with the ring’s details. In addition to the bio data obtained, this keeps the piece and store top of mind in the browser’s mind, and allows her to easily upload it to social media or forward it to friends and family.

OPERATIONS Draft a cleaning schedule to ensure all your bridal goods are polished, sparkly and freshly ticketed. 

Sept. 24-30

SHOWROOM Consider installing a large mirror in an area with a bit of privacy and inviting a bride-to-be to try on jewelry while she tries on her wedding gown. “It’s easier to get someone to fall in love with it once you’ve gotten them to put it on,” notes retail expert Paco Underhill.

SALES FLOOR Matching the couple with the right salesperson is a crucial part of bridal sales. Reward and track successful T.O.s to ensure the best fit, recommends sales trainer Shane Decker. “Most stores encourage T.O.s but don’t reward them, and salespeople avoid them because they want all the commission,” he says. “If you reward them tangibly, your salespeople will actually do them.”

Over the years, INSTORE has won 76 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at editor@instoremag.com.

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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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