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5 Easy Tips to Help Get You Through the Holidays

Quick and easy improvements go a long way at this time of year.



This story was originally published in December 2014.

WITH THE CHRISTMAS selling season taking up your every moment, you only have time for quick, easy and effective improvements to your holiday sales game. Here are some good ones I found from around the web.

Tell customers how to give their gift. Says business strategist and sales coach Bob Phibbs: “I worked with a great jeweler this year. They always tell a guy who buys a gift to, ‘Look at her face when you give it, not at the (ring, pendant, etc.) because you want to see her reaction.’  Be creative and your customers will start thinking of their own presentations. (From Bob Phibbs at

Utilize gift tables. A gift table, such as a tiered cake table, is a great way to display new merchandise and recommend gifts to customers, especially for items that have shipped in great quantity but don’t quite have a home on the sales floor yet. (From Gretchen Kroll at Tripar International,

Ask for five. Request five minutes off the floor when you get that crazy and overwhelmed feeling. Even better, suggest a five minute breather to a co-worker who clearly needs it. (From Doug Fleener at

Hum non-holiday music to yourself between presentations. The constant holiday music can start to drive you crazy when you hear it every second of every day. Plus, non-holiday music can keep you focused on the opportunity at hand to make sales, rather than distracting you with holiday-related thoughts. (From


Stay hydrated! Not enough water can bring on a headache. And, bring a light snack like an apple or Power Bar to munch on between presentations. (From



Gene the Jeweler

When Gene the Jeweler Speaks, His Employees Listen

In this episode of Jimmy DeGroot’s Gene the Jeweler series, Gene has a simple request for his employees. The good news is that they follow his instructions. The bad news is that they follow a bit too literally.

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Editor's Note

These Are The Three Factors Driving Revolution in the Jewelry Industry

All three are technology-based.



WHEN A BUSINESS REVOLUTION arrives, there’s no stopping it. Your only options are to ignore it and die a slow death, or join it and learn, quickly, how to do business within the new paradigm.

Three powerful pistons are driving revolution in the jewelry industry. The first is e-commerce. Some retailers have complained of manufacturers going direct to consumers, but many are now learning to compete in the online space as well. We just started judging this year’s crop of America’s Coolest Store contestants, and we are impressed not only by how many of the applicants sell online, but also by the quality of their websites. Read about retailers doing e-commerce right in our story, “E-Commerce For Everyone,” beginning on page 74.

The second piston is the lab-grown diamond phenomenon. The category continues to gain traction among consumers, and largely driven by consumer demand, not marketing. Read about Soha Diamond Co., a retailer who sells only lab-grown diamonds and gemstones, in our “Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution” story starting on page 63.

The third piston is social media, which offers retailers the opportunity to engage local consumers for very little monetary investment. Social media is where the people are; it’s just a question of how to reach them, and then how to interest them in your jewelry and your store.

A revolution is on your doorstep, whether you like it or not. Will you join it or be left behind?

Trace Shelton

Editor-in-Chief, INSTORE

Five Smart Tips You’ll Find in This Issue

  • During slow times, take photos of all waxes not already in your CAD library and add them. (Manager’s To-Do List, p. 46)
  • Use an aggressive commission to incentivize salespeople to sell old items. (Ask INSTORE, p. 108)
  • Present customers’ kids with gift-wrapped presents to make them feel special. (Tip Sheet, p. 98)
  • Match the percentage of marketing dollars spent on a department with its store performance. (David Brown, p. 112)
  • Make a list of all verbal buying cues and have staff practice their question closes for each. (Sales Truths, p. 112)
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Dave Richardson

24 Verbal Buying Signals Your Sales Staff May Be Missing

Do this exercise to improve your team’s closing ratio.




WHY IT IS TRUE: The customer will say things that indicate they are ready to buy, but many salespeople talk right through these cues.

PLAN OF ACTION: During a meeting with your staff, write these verbal buying signals on a flip chart and ask your staff if they can think of any to add to the list.

  • Do you take credit cards?
  • I really like it.
  • I think she’ll like it.
  • Do you have a warranty program?
  • Will you gift-wrap it?
  • You provide an appraisal?
  • What if she doesn’t like it?
  • What time do you close tonight?
  • Do you have it in white gold?
  • Will you be able to size it for me?
  • If I buy it, when can I pick it up?
  • I really like the feel of it.
  • I really like the way it looks on me.
  • Can I put it on my store credit?
  • Can you engrave it for me?
  • You have a layaway plan?
  • Since I can’t take until it is sized, do you deliver?
  • Does it come in a box?
  • How can I care for it?
  • Do you have the matching earrings?
  • Can I borrow a calculator?
  • If I buy the ring, will you pay the tax?
  • What is your return policy?
  • What do you think?

Then, divide your salespeople into groups of two or three and have them write the appropriate closing question to each one of the verbal buying signals. Then you can compare the results.

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Commentary: The Business

Here’s How To Get Millennials’ Attention

Tell them your story, says fast-growing retailer.



MANY ARTICLES HITTING newsstands today are pushing blame on millennials for everything from the decline in sales of paper napkins, to poor numbers at movie theaters, to even the decrease in market share for Budweiser and Coors.

As jewelers, we are very familiar with the decline in jewelry sales — most notably diamonds. It seems that every month, there is a new report blaming millennials for the number of failing jewelry stores, the shrinkage of diamond districts, and even the shift in the trend away from “two months’ salary.”

Rooftop Burglars Take Everything from Jewelry Store

Rooftop Burglars Take Everything from Jewelry Store

Video: No, I Won’t Help You Commit Fraud … But Thanks for Throwing Water in My Face
Cullen Wulf

Video: No, I Won’t Help You Commit Fraud … But Thanks for Throwing Water in My Face

Video: When Should a Jeweler Fire Someone?
Jimmy Degroot

Video: When Should a Jeweler Fire Someone?

Follow market history trends and you will start to see a pattern. When a “generation” of people begin to reach their 30s, they go from being cautious savers to consumers and spenders. Baby boomers hit that apex in the 1980s, and the country was hog-wild with money. Generation X hit their apex in the early 2000s, and housing markets and retail sales were booming. Now we are approaching the apex for millennials (2020 is the tipping point) — and they are a bigger generation than baby boomers and gen-Xers combined. Are you on the precipice for success when they hit the age of consumerism?

Being on the threshold between gen-X and millennials, I can tell you how offended I feel when millennials say it is everyone else’s fault they cannot afford to buy a house because they are up to their eyeballs in student loan debt. I am also offended when everyone else says millennials are a bunch of entitled babies who can’t toe the line. Blaming millennials clearly hasn’t been the answer because stores continue to close, diamond vendors are dropping like flies, and the millennials still aren’t walking into the jewelry stores that remain … except that they are! Many businesses just see them as the enemy rather than the opportunity.

Want to know how to sell to millennials? Get online and tell them your story. Take photos of your store, your team, your jewelry, your customers. Make the posts informational, fun, educational, and truthful. Put a few dollars into boosting your posts on Facebook and Instagram to people 23-35. Show them what makes you unique and how your expertise is worth the extra spend on a purchase. Stick with it, and they will start to come through your doors.

When they do walk in, be open-minded, then ask for (and respect) their budget. They will research what you tell them and probably not commit on the first visit. If you have patience, you will discover they are vehemently loyal when they make the decision to trust you as long as you give them a reason to. Take care of one millennial, and their friends will know in a heartbeat because social media works. Soon you will have a steady flow of the next generation of consumers breathing life back into your business.

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