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Here Are Our Top 10 Tips for 2018

INSTORE offers practical advice for your store.

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THERE’S A NO SHORTAGE of ways to rate a tip, from novelty to boldness to ingenuity to relevance … but the main yardstick would seem to be its potential to make a difference. So, with that in mind, we present our Top 10 Tipsheet items of 2018. Enjoy! And we hope they have a practical use for your business:

Shorten Your Planning Year to 3-4 Months

Consultants Brian Moran and Michael Lennington aren’t big believers in the value of a year, at least when it comes to setting goals. A year’s too big to get your head around, they argue in their book The 12-Week Year, and there’s too much unpredictability involved in planning for 10 or 11 months in the future. Besides, it’s awful for motivation: the New Year surge of enthusiasm fades rapidly, while the feeling of racing to the finish line — that extra burst psychologists call the “goal looms larger effect” — doesn’t kick in until fall. In its place, they advocate dividing your year into quarters, and to think of each 12 weeks as a stand-alone “year” — a stretch long enough to make significant progress on a few fronts, yet short enough to stay focused.

Time for Oops!

A good job interview idea from Selling Power magazine is to have a little accident. Tip over a trashcan or spill a cup of coffee on your desk. If the job candidate immediately leaps up to help … well, then they have cleared another hurdle in the interview process.
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Remove Emotion from Meetings

Stride into a meeting, dominate the dialogue and just repeat your point insistently, and you’ve a good chance of winning the day, thanks to a human weakness for interpreting confidence as expertise or competence. But it doesn’t mean you’ll arrive at the best solution for whatever challenges are facing your business. To prevent this happening at your meetings, reframe them as fact-finding exercises, says Bryan Bonner of the University of Utah. Keep a running list of conclusions on a whiteboard, or do anything else to switch the focus from who is being convincing to what they’re saying.

Give It Away Good

If you’re going to give it away, give it away good. That, says Dianna Rae High, owner of Dianna Rae Jewelry, Lafayette, LA, was one of the most important customer service lessons she picked up from her mentor, her father-in-law. “Meaning if you are going to offer a free appraisal with a sale, tell them that you normally charge $100 for an appraisal for items not purchased here. And if you have to replace a diamond under warranty, don’t do it with a bad attitude and blame them for it. Treat them as if you had just made a sale.”

Mother Love

Now here’s an idea that would appeal to anyone who’s ever lifted a mop (and yes, that still mostly means moms). Last year, Brinker’s Jewelry in Evansville, IN, offered to kick in for a free four-hour spring cleaning for every Mother’s Day gift purchase over $300. Yep, they cleaned up.

Plan Ahead for Pinterest

Something most people forget about Pinterest is that it is essentially a search engine, so if you are pinning things you want people to see right now, you’ve left it too late. A better approach is to plan and pin two months ahead of time for beautiful holiday gifts for example. It takes time to build rank and credibility as users search for fashion and style information, participants at a Stuller Bench Jewelers Workshop were told.

Repetition Is Your Friend

There’s a reason infomercials drag on forever: our human weakness for pattern recognition. We’re programmed to think that something we’ve heard repeatedly is more important than something we’ve heard only once. Yet, as a blog at Entrepreneur.com pointed out, many business owners believe that if someone doesn’t immediately latch onto an ideas when it’s said the first time, different way needs to be found to say it. “If you have a well-honed idea and you’re simply trying to market it better, get comfortable saying the same thing multiple times,” writes Martin Zwilling. Trust, love, forever. There aren’t too many messages you should stray from when it comes to marketing bridal.
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Photo Op

Engagement-ring sales offer the chance of establishing a lifelong relationship with a customer. To get that relationship off to a good start, Woolard’s Custom Jewelers in Burleson, TX, partners with a local photographer to provide a free engagement photo session. It’s win-win-win, say owners Bobby and Caryl Woolard. “They get a free session, the photographer gets a chance at shooting the wedding, and we are able to use the pictures from the photo shoot in social media and marketing.”

Adjust Your Expectations

The strong economy, heightened competition for good employees and societal changes mean the guidelines you used to hire may not be as useful as they once were, says Kate Peterson, president of consultancy Performance Concepts. “Employment history can’t be interpreted the way it used to be,” she says, noting that workers, even the good ones, are much less likely to hold jobs for long periods of time. “Stop tossing applications because the candidate has had five jobs in the past 10 years. It’s the way of the world today.”

Try a Try-it-on Party

It’s something you may have noticed yourself: customers being reluctant to stray from the styles they’ve always worn. To encourage them to experiment with different looks, Alchemy 9.2.5 in Belmont, MA, holds “Try It On” parties. “The party allows patrons to let their hair down and hopefully with the encouragement of their friends, see themselves in a new light,” says owner Kirsten Ball. “Who doesn’t want to live a little dangerously?”

And of course, we wouldn’t be living by our own advice if you didn’t give you a little more than you expected, so here’s a bonus tip:

Flash of Genius

Few girls forget where they got their ears pierced. And to make sure they remember this often first experience with a jewelry store Orin Jewelers in Garden City, MI, gives them flashing “blinky rings.” Smart.

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at [email protected].

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