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How to Look Professional on a Video Call, Ways to Get Positive Vibes in Your Community, and More of Your Questions Answered

Plus, is ‘9K gold’ a legitimate thing now?




video conference

Do you have any tips for looking professional in video calls? It seems they are going to become a regular part of business.

For things not to do, type “video calls gone wrong” into Google and spend 10 minutes having a good laugh (key learning points: wear pants, close the bathroom door, stash your bong … ). After that, trust your common sense and stop worrying how you’re going to look or sound. Scott McKain, the CEO of consultancy Distinctive Presentations, touched on this during the recent AGS Virtual Conclave: “You don’t have to be a news anchor or a television personality. What you really want is to be sincere, to be yourself, to make a personal connection when you can’t be face to face,” he said. He also confirms your hunch that video is here to stay and not just for conference calls. You may also want to investigate using a video email program to send a video message as a follow-up to an in-store visit.

In these socially constrained times, what’s the best way not to offend a customer who extends his hand in greeting?

Elbow bumps and non-contact Asian style greetings have all been suggested in the media, but we like sales trainer Shane Decker’s straightforward approach, which he recommended during a recent INSTORE Webinar: Say, “I’m so glad you came in. We’ll shake hands when we can. Let’s pretend that we did.” Nothing remedies an awkward situation quite like well-articulated lightheartedness.

This seems like a good time to help people in our community. Any ideas on how to go about it in a creative way?

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is going to linger and people are going to remember these hard times and those people and businesses that stepped up. That’s especially so if you’re in a small community. To get people talking about you in a positive way, Ellen Fruchtman, president of Fruchtman Marketing, suggests the following ideas:

  • Jewelry for a cause. Consider designing a pendant or charm with an uplifting message like “Together we stand” with the trending #AloneTogether hashtag, and do it in sterling silver so it’s affordable. Then donate a large percentage of the profits to a local community charity to help those directly in need.
  • Offer help to seniors. Partner with a local caterer to deliver meals to senior clientele or other groups at higher risk in your community.
  • Do something for grocery store workers. Among overlooked “front-line” workers are grocery store workers. Consider wrapping up a few inexpensive items and surprising the checkout clerks, says Fruchtman. An accompanying note, which can be posted on your social media channels, can read: “Thank you for all that you do. Jewelry is food for your soul!”

Do you have any tips for making curbside pickup safer?

The Jewelers Security Alliance, which has been very active offering advice to jewelers in this strange new world, suggests the following:

  • First up, let your local police know you are reopening and will be engaging in curbside pickup so that additional patrols can be made to your location.
  • Check the details and limits of your jewelers’ block insurance coverage to ensure the delivery of merchandise outside the store is fully covered.
  • Ensure repairs or items ordered online or by phone are paid by credit card before pickup.
  • Insist all pickups be done by appointment with the car description and license plate number obtained beforehand.
  • Institute procedures whereby there are always two employees working the curbside handover: one surveilling the area and handling the door, while the other goes to the car to do the drop-off.

A pawn shop in my market has signs in its windows saying they’ll accept “9K gold” jewelry? Isn’t that illegal?

It was for decades, but not anymore. The Federal Trade Commission changed their rules in July 2018 to allow gold below 10K to be advertised and sold as the precious yellow metal so long as the correct fineness is displayed. That means you can even sell “1K gold,” as some department stores such as Macy’s and Kohls are doing.


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It Was Time to Make a Decision. It Was Time to Call Wilkerson.

Except for a few years when he worked as an accountant, Jim Schwartz has always been a jeweler. He grew up in the business and after “counting beans” for a few years, he and his wife, Robin, opened Robin James Jewelers in Cincinnati, Ohio. “We were coming to a stage in our life where we knew we have to make a decision,” says Jim Schwartz. He and Robin wanted to do it right, so they called Wilkerson. The best surprise (besides surpassing sales goals)? “The workers and associations really care about helping us move out own inventory out of the store first. It was very important to us.”

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