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How to Handle When Your Best Salesperson Quits, Plus More of Your Questions Answered

We also tell you the best strategy to deal with people who unsubscribe from your emails.

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How to Handle When Your Best Salesperson Quits, Plus More of Your Questions Answered

What’s the best strategy for dealing with people who unsubscribe to my emails?

You don’t have too much choice when it comes to honoring opt-out requests, but there are things you can do to try to salvage the relationship. One such strategy is to send a farewell message in which you confirm the opt-out but also offer the customer other ways to stay in touch, such as via your snail-mail list (does she still want your catalog?) or with telephone anniversary reminders. Another is to ask the subscriber if she’d prefer to stay on your mailing list but receive fewer emails (like just your holiday-season bulletins, for example). The best policy, of course, is to work hard on your content so that it’s interesting and relevant to the people who receive it. Then you won’t have to worry about opt-outs.

How long should I wait before acting on a customer’s referral?

Unless the “referee” suggested you either call immediately or wait for a specific period, a reasonable follow-up would be two to three days, says Ivan Misner, a business author and contributor to the Brain Trust website. Send your prospect a note, email or phone call expressing your gratitude to the friend for making the referral and your interest in seeing what you can do to help. Be mindful not to be pushy at this stage of the relationship, Misner adds.

My best salesperson just gave her notice. How should I handle it?

Professionally. This is most likely not personal, so don’t react as if it were. Marching her to the door is simply bad for business, and a tad ungrateful considering the business she’s brought you. It will also hurt general staff morale and there’s a good chance you’ll need the departing employee to tie up a host of loose ends. Further, a hot or hasty response denies you the chance to make a counteroffer. Often there’s something other than money that can “make it work” for the salesperson, so ask her. If the relationship can’t be salvaged, part cordially and then get to work on identifying what made her such a successful salesperson. Call up her biggest customers and ask what they liked best about working with her. Make notes that can go in your training manual or that you can use for hiring purposes. If she is leaving to work for a competitor and you didn’t make her sign non-disclosure and non-compete agreements when she joined, well, that’s another lesson you’ve learned from this episode.

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When it comes to gemstone disclosure rules, I’m safe if I basically parrot what the manufacturer told me, right?

Premeditated ignorance isn’t a particularly effective legal ploy. The basic rule is that if treatment exists, it must be disclosed. This is not an area to take shortcuts. Get yourself educated in all the kinds of treatments that might be applied to the gemstones you’re buying and demand that suppliers provide you the information you need. If you can’t get that information, change suppliers. As the party selling the goods to the public, you are on the line for the liability associated with any failure to make a disclosure. The Jewelers Vigilance Committee has useful resources on this issue and your obligations at their website at jvclegal.org

When is the best time to ask a customer about their budget?

This is a little like asking, “When is the best time to die?” Put it off as long as possible, or if you can manage it, never, says sales trainer Dave Richardson. When you ask early or even midway through your presentation, you are exposing your customer’s budget and setting a potentially unnecessary limit on what you can show her. “Since a budget is a budget is a budget, most salespeople are reluctant to suggest an add-on,” Richardson says. By waiting, you give yourself the opportunity to be much more creative, show her beautiful pieces and build value. The bottom line, Richardson says, is that if a customer inquires about the price, give it to her. But if she doesn’t mention it, don’t ask. After all, how many times have you seen someone spend more than they’d planned?

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