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Do You Or Don't You?

Here’s How Retailers Around the Country Encourage Their Sales Staff to Work as a Team

Teamwork that works according to our brain squad team.




Question: Do you do anything to encourage your sales staff to work as a team on the sales floor?

Yes: 76%

    • We set a team goal that needs to be achieved to share in a team commission. To receive part of the monies, you must sell a minimum of 4 percent of the total sales for the month. Tonia Ulsh, Mountz Jewelers, Camp Hill, PA
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  • We did an escape room to work on our team building, which has been the most successful thing we’ve done. Chris Wattsson, Wattsson & Wattsson Jewelers, Marquette, MI
  • Pay a bonus to the team if goal is met, and the bonus is based on the rate of pay that each person earns, so that it is proportionate to each worker. Rex Solomon, Houston Jewelry, Houston, TX
  • When team selling, we train that one person is the lead and the other is to support. We also encourage them to come around the counter and have a more one on one experience whenever possible. This is where it works great with team selling, as one person can sit next to the customer almost like a friend or advisor. Natasha Henderson, Saxon’s Fine Jewelers, Bend, OR
  • We are a small store, so it’s easy to just keep an eye and ear open for problems. We also use code words and phrases. For example, “Samantha (or Lydia), can you help answer a question?” means that this is a difficult customer and we need a different person’s personality to step in and take over. Sam knows if she’s called Sam, or Lyds is called Lyds, she can really just answer a question and move on. If Samantha or Lydia are called in, the current customer to salesperson personality is a real mismatch and someone has GOT to take over, lest the customer walk out. We can discuss the situation after the sale is closed and the happy customer is driving away. Erin McMichael Hess, Extinctions, Lancaster, PA
  • Ours is a full commission against draw sales team, so we encourage all kinds of splits, like 30/60/10 for instance if someone shows a piece, another closes the sale, while a third cleans the customer’s jewelry or gets them a glass of wine. Any unresolved disputes will be credited to the “house” with no salesperson benefiting … and we haven’t had one of those in … hmmm … maybe a decade. Dorothy Vodicka, The Gem Collection, Tallahassee, FL
  • If they meet or exceed their weekly goal, the team members each receive $25. Hey, it’s a free hour of work! We do increase it each week they do it consecutively ($5 more every week). We are also open to a larger monetary bonus for four weeks of significant growth. We try to come up with new ideas all the time. Christine Matlack, E.G. Landis Jewelers, Boyertown, PA
  • Bring another sales associate into the conversation asking an opinion/question. Suggest another associate that has particular knowledge on a certain subject. Share the beauty of a piece of jewelry with another associate for a second confirmation for the client. We often work in teams on a client throughout the entire process, which leaves the client with multiple ways to contact us and work with us comfortably. Garry Zimmerman, Windy City Diamonds, Chicago, IL
  • I include the staff on the store’s decisions. We have an experienced staff here; why not take advantage of everyone’s brains? Plus, I want to put in lines that we all believe in. We do not pay commission; we want everyone to work as a team, not against each other. Last year, we had a good year and it reflected in the end of the year bonus. When someone new starts working here, we let them know that you will never have to ask for a raise. If the store does well, so will you. Michael Kanoff, Michael’s Jewelers, Yardley, PA
  • I pay commissions based on the sales as a team, not individually. This eliminates salespeople from claiming customers or sales based on past contacts. Donnie Blanton, Brittany’s Fine Jewelry, Gainesville, FL
  • Although we expect each staff member to have a high working knowledge of each area, we assign specialties to each staff member. That allows us to pull another team member in as an “expert”. Allison Leitzel-Williams, Leitzel’s Jewelry, Myerstown, PA
  • We offer a 1 percent shared commission if we make our goal for the month. Our goal for the month is to do better than last year’s month. Pretty easy. I subtract my sales from the gross AFTER we hit the goal and then take 1 percent and split it equally with the back of the house and front of the house. Can’t sell a diamond without setting it! Karen Fitzpatrick, Harris Jewelers, Rio Rancho, NM

No: 24%

  • No sales staff! My wife and I try to work as a team always. Frank Salinardi, Linardi’s Jewelers, Plantation, FL
  • They don’t often listen; it’s family. Valerie King, King Jewelers, Cohasset, MA

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Do You Or Don't You?

Do You Keep Tabs On Local Competitors? Here’s What Our Brain Squad Said

The results were split 50/50.




Yes: 48%

  • I have sent paid people to secret shop to get prices and see what repair services are recommended. — Josh Rider, Dylan Rings, Montgomery, AL
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  • I click on every ad and check out all the social media and website of every online diamond engagement ring seller/promoter. I experience their vibe, accessibility, shopping features, value add-ons, education, etc. and use the experience to ask our guests where we can improve and then start making those improvements. It’s a constant work in progress, but well worth it as so many guests find us online and then realize we’re their neighborhood jeweler. — Jill Keith, Enchanted Jewelry, Danielson, CT
  • I have the other area jewelers in my Facebook insights. It lets me see when they post, what they post, and what the response from the public is. That said, there is more than enough work for all of us, and I deeply respect my competition. All good folks. — Jo Goralski, The Jewelry Mechanic, Oconomowoc, WI
  • We check Facebook, ads, Instagram, Pinterest and community activities. — Dale Robertson, Dale Robertson Jewelry, Loveland, OH
  • Always checking out the other stores. Local and far away when on trips. Always call on the new for-lease signs, even if I just signed a new lease. Must always be aware of your market. Moved my store one mile nine years ago. Knew the market turned down some other spaces. When this landlord called, I knew the market, the prices and how desparate he was. Got a great lease with a great landlord. — Stephen Ware, Ware Designs, Lafayette, CA
  • Our “covert operations” tend to be sending in friends or family to the other local jewelers with gold to sell or repairs to fix so that we can gauge whether our pricing is competitive. We want to get a feel for their pricing but especially the level of customer service because that is extremely important to us! — Mary Jo Chanski, Hannoush Jewelers, Rutland, VT
  • I follow all of their social media pages and I am always trying to go see what special events they have going on. Plus, I secret shop ALL THE TIME! It is vital to know what your competition is doing and how they are selling. Gotta beat the best if you want to be the best. — Erica Lorenz, Michael & Sons, Reno, NV
  • Talk to manufacturers’ reps and secret shop. Also participate in our state jewelers association. Word gets around. — Chuck Kuba, Iowa Diamond, Des Moines, IA
  • Keep watch for commercials and billboards, print ads … always pay attention to what they are advertising and how. — Kim Hatchell, Galloway & Moseley, Sumter, SC

No: 52%

  • What others are doing doesn’t influence me. — Kelly Jensen, Plateau Jewelers, Sammamish, WA
  • I know who is around already. I know that I am one of the very few real goldsmiths in my area. I rely on word-of-mouth advertising and have an extremely high customer retention rate. — Catherine Dining, CG Designs, Lafayette, CA
  • If you keep looking in the rear view mirror, it is hard to go full speed ahead! — Jon Walp, Long Jewelers, Virginia Beach, VA
  • I think the answer is really somewhere in between. We do talk to sales reps and customers about their offerings. We do also watch their advertising, both traditional and digital. — Steve Floyd, Floyd & Green, Aiken, SC
  • I do keep tabs, but I don’t do much. Most of my “competition” is more what I consider “colleagues.” We’re friendly neighbors. But I follow them on social media, and they follow me. It’s as more to see what they’re doing so we DON’T overlap. But if you do find yourself in hardcore competition with others in your market, you better have Google alerts set up for them as well as yourself. — Casey Gallant, Stephen Gallant Jewelers, Orleans, MA
  • We don’t feel we have competition. The other stores are outdated in inventory, decor and customer service. I would rather worry about what we are doing right than what they are doing wrong. — Elysia Demers, Barnhardt Jewelers, Spencer, NC
  • Because other jewelers are not my competition — cellphone, computer and new technology sellers should be looked at as our competitors. As jewelers, we should all be colleagues! It should not be how I can beat out the jeweler down the street; rather, how as an industry can we get the public to realize that the gifts of technology are obsolete once they walk out the door whereas jewelry is a lasting legacy? — Patty Gallun Hansen, Dorothy Gallun Fine Jewelry, Cedarburg, WI

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. jewelry store, you’re invited to join the INSTORE Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting the jewelry industry. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

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Do You Or Don't You?

Do You Serve Food to Staff? Here’s What Your Peers Do




Yes: 63%

Sometimes it is a spontaneous splurge in the middle of the week, sort of just because. Other times, when I am faced with having three staff members and none of us can leave the store, I order pizza or make sandwiches in our kitchen. If we have made our monthly goal sooner than expected, then we celebrate with food. We are very food motivated! I also try to keep snacks on hand for us. Maria Aguirre, Benold’s Jewelers, Austin, TX

  • When we built the store, we put a kitchen in, so I make lunch most days and the idea is that healthy eating promotes a good foundation for one’s lifestyle. Joseph Delefano, Regency Jewelers, Rotterdam, NY
  • Occasionally during the year on a Saturday if it’s been an exceptionally good or sometimes bad week to increase morale. Once a week during the Christmas season. Valerie King, King Jewelers, Cohasset, MA
  • We supply during all special events and during the holidays. This year, we also had a turkey dinner giving thanks to our amazing team, halfway to Thanksgiving. Tonia Ulsh, Mountz Jewelers, Camp Hill, PA
  • Any time we are crunched for time and it would take them out of productivity, I feed them! I feed my staff lunch every day between Black Friday and Dec. 24. They love it and it means I have less down time. We do everything from a grocery store spread of sandwiches to catering Thai from our favorite place. I make big pots of chili and other soups, or my staff can sign up to bring in a favorite recipe. Laurie Langdon-Gerber, Elisa Ilana Jewelry, Omaha, NE
  • Starbucks every morning and lunch 3-4 times a week. It’s my way of saying thank you for doing a great job. David Ellestad, Larkin Jewelers, Tacoma, WA
  • Monday through Friday, the staff is on their own. On Saturdays, I provide lunch for staff. Jonathan A. Blatter, Edian Jewelry, Hialeah, FL
  • We started keeping a snack basket, mainly for our college age sales staff. Our busiest hours are 11-2 and this allows them to come in straight from class! We also use several delivery services. I have found it keeps us all well connected to treat a lunch once a week! Linda McEathron, Design House, Waco, TX
  • Breakfast one day a week for our early morning sales meeting. Also, when a sale is going on, we provide lunch. Joe Thacker, Thacker Jewelry, Lubbock, TX
  • I provide healthy as well as fun snacks and fluids every day to keep productivity up and moods up and express gratitude for hard work. We bring in breakfast or lunch to celebrate each crew member’s birthday and work-iversary as well as to celebrate when they hit monthly goals. Food is love and fun. We keep it flowing! Steven & Katherine Lesse, Abracadabra Jewelry and Gem Gallery, Ann Arbor, MI
  • We provide snacks and dried fruit with nuts. Some health items and others that are just good. We buy lunch once or twice a week for everyone. We treat our staff like family and all grab a bite of lunch when we can. They are able to leave the store for lunch if they want to and sign out and in when they return. Scott Kelly, Jems Jewels & Gold, North Wales, PA
  • We keep snacks and water in the kitchen for purchase for very modest fees of 25 cents each. This makes it easier for someone to take a brief break without needing to go anywhere. Kim Hatchell, Galloway & Moseley, Sumter, SC
  • We bring in food on Saturdays. It eases the pain when the weather is nice and sales are slow. David Kammeraad, Preusser Jewelers, Grand Rapids, MI
  • During events and during the busiest days of the holiday season, I provide lunch as well as some breakfasts. I think it’s a little thing that makes them feel appreciated. In addition, they know that on these busy days, there may not be much time for lunch, so they eat quickly and get back out on the floor to sell. They don’t have to plan or think about food, which, hopefully, keeps them customer-focused! Kristin Cornwell, Cornwell Jewelers, Athens, OH
  • I buy lunch for everyone when we celebrate a staff birthday, or Starbucks for everyone if we had an evening event the night before. I keep the fridge full of everyone’s favorite drinks and the cupboard full of protein snacks. It helps keep them focused in the afternoon. Dianna Rae High, Dianna Rae Jewelry, Lafayette, LA
  • We provide breakfast every week for the store meeting. Since our employees are required to come in an hour early it is one less thing for them to worry about. Russell Criswell, Vulcan’s Forge, Kansas City, MO
  • Friday night pizza; we close at 6 p.m. now, but when we are open later, it gets them through until closing. They eat in between customers, so they don’t lose the ability to earn. Saturday morning donuts; we bring in all different types. It’s exciting to see that box open and see 12 different decorated donuts! (It’s the details!) We always provide free Coke, Diet Coke, Keurig choices, pretzels, animal crackers, nuts, peanut butter crackers, quality candies. No generic brands! And yes, it’s a pain always keeping everything stocked. As owners, we feel it is a benefit. Some employees are grateful. Some will always expect it. We feel more appreciate it than do not. Christine Matlack, E.G. Landis Jewelers, Boyertown, PA
  • We are in the Midwest; lunch is what you can shove in your pie hole in 15 minutes or less! For a small store, we move a lot of customers through our doors. Since my goldsmith, my manager and I share the burden of production, I buy lunch for us every day. I look at it like this: these people go above and beyond for me and my store. I am happy to provide coffee, lunch or whatever makes their day better. I appreciate their loyalty, their unfailing work ethic and most of all their honesty! Also it bolsters the feeling of being a working unit, a team and a pretty amazing bad ass machine. I also take them to shows; when you hear them tell “the story” on the floor, my sales soar! Denise Oros, Linnea Jewelers, La Grange, IL

No: 37%

  • We previously bought lunch for employees but found that the perk was abused. Employees would eat lunch at the store and then leave and run errands. Bob Richards, Bob Richards Jewelers, Germantown, TN
  • They bring what they want. I have a fridge, microwave and toaster oven. Sara DeSpain, Sara DeSpain Fine Jewelry, Duck, NC
  • We only provide refreshments on sale days for the customers and staff if the staff works overtime. Judy Stanley, Skippack Jewelers, Harleysville, PA
  • Too costly. Jeffrey Debs, Debs Jewelers & Gemologists, Philadelphia, PA
  • Everyone tends to bring their own here. We have a vegetarian and the rest of us are always on different eating regimes! And when we do eat together, we order a lot of takeout! Mary Jo Chanski, Hannoush Jewelers, Rutland, VT
  • I have in the past, but everyone’s taste is different and it was impossible to please them all. Donnie Blanton, Brittany’s Fine Jewelry, Gainesville, FL
  • Tried as a benefit, but tastes varied so much it was difficult to manage. Bill Elliott, Ross Elliott Jewelers, Terre Haute, IN
  • We do occasional donut days and lunch on us, but we think every employee deserves a break away from the store for lunch. (We should take that same advice, but, #ownerprobs). We do have beverages available to our customers and employees, and when we receive cookies from our customers (which actually happens quite a bit), we all share. Beth Cevasco, Scott’s Custom Jewelers, Fairlawn, OH
  • Can no longer write it off, so it would not help the bottom line. Craig C. Curtis, Belfast Jewelry, Belfast, ME
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Do You Or Don't You?

Do You or Don’t You Send Holiday Cards to Clients? Here’s What Your Fellow Retailers Do




Yes: 50%

“We have special Christmas cards printed that display either a piece of our handmade stock (a “wow” piece) or a picture taken of a local nature scene, sometimes with a picture on the front and back. Inside, we have printed the following: “One of the true joys of the holiday season is to reflect and say thank you and wish you the very best for the new year.” The entire staff signs each one and adds a personal message when appropriate. We then hand address all of our Christmas cards. We start at the first of the year addressing the envelopes and double-check them before sending them out from Dec. 5-10. I find it amazing the number of comments and sales that we get at Christmas and the following year. This year, we had one customer drive 200 miles in July and make a several thousand dollar purchase because of the card. We do not try to sell or use a commercial message because we feel that that would not be sincere. — Ed Menk, E.L. Menk Jewelers, Brainerd, MN

  • Personalized card (sometimes completely custom-designed), including a special offer (thank you coupon in the form of “store bucks”) in those going to a special segment of customers from the past year. — Jennifer Hornik Johnson, Miller’s Jewelry, Bozeman, MT
  • We mail out Starbucks’ $5 gift cards. — Ragnar Bertselsen, Ragnar Jewellers, Vancouver, BC
  • We rock it old-school … handwritten Christmas cards to our customers. We do not include an extra discount. We have discussed it, but came to agreement that we don’t want a holiday card to be a sales pitch. “We look forward to seeing you this holiday season.” — Mary Jo Chanski, Hannoush Jewelers, Rutland, VT
  • We send a large postcard wishing happy holidays and advertising our annual November sale to take advantage of discounted prices before Black Friday and the holidays. — Frank Salinardi, Linardi’s Jewelers, Plantation, FL
  • We send customized holiday cards each year to our top 250 customers. In addition, we make branded gifts with purchase for each holiday sale; last year, it was individually wrapped chocolates with product images and our logo on each one. — Jill Hornik, Jae’s Jewelers, Coral Gables, FL
  • When we are sending handwritten notes wishing people a happy holiday season, we do not include a commercial message. The purpose of the card is simply to let the client know that we are thinking about them and their families. There is a time and a place for a commercial message, and a holiday, birthday/anniversary, or thank you note is not one of them. — Michael Derby, D3 Diamonds and Fine Jewelry, Clermont, FL

No: 50%

  • We did for years and stopped maybe 10 years ago. It was replaced by our Ladies Night invitations and Men’s Night mailers … felt like too much mail in a short window of time. We do, however, send birthday, anniversary, and thank you cards throughout the year, always hand-addressed and written. — Mark Kasuba, M. Edward Jewelers, Pittsfield, MA
  • We used to send a card with a discount. But as years went by, it got lost in the muddle of all the year-end promotions coming from all the companies. Did not want our wishes to be seen as “junk mail.” — Alex Weil, Martin’s Jewelry, Torrance, CA
  • Great idea, not enough hours in the day. — Janne Etz, Contemporary Concepts, Cocoa, FL
  • Such a waste of time and money. Plus, I do not get my customers’ information. I do not want such things, so I would not do that to my customers. — Craig C. Curtis, Belfast Jewelry, Belfast, ME
  • Specific holiday greetings are dangerous unless certainty about the customer’s faith is known. Non-specific holiday greetings have no more meaning than saying “good day.” — Gary Richmond, Van Horne & Co., Granger, IN
  • We don’t send out cards because almost all of our business is bridal, and we don’t want to blow the surprise by accident. — Chuck Kuba, Iowa Diamond, West Des Moines, IA
  • I base all of my email marketing on seasons, not holidays. — Annette Evans, RD Allen Freeport Jewelers, Freeport, ME
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