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How to Make New Friends at a Trade Show and More Tips for May

Plus, offer to check the your customer’s watch water resistance.

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 How to Make New Friends at a Trade Show and More Tips for May

Pressurized Selling

Every store changes watch batteries. To go the next step, offer to check the piece’s water resistance. Last year, Henry’s Fine Jewelry in Summit, NJ, equipped its two stores with an on-site pressure tester that allows it to provide the extra service after replacing the battery. “It gives the customer piece of mind that they can wash their hands, take a shower or go swimming with their beloved watch,” while adding a nice additional stream of revenue for the store, says owner Henry Feldman.

Work the Room

One of the main benefits of going to trade shows is the opportunity to meet and talk shop with other jewelers and find out what lines and business strategies are working in their market. But many jewelers hold back for fear of annoying a peer. Elysia Demers, owner of Barnhardt Jewelers in Spencer, NC, says don’t. “You’d be surprised how open people are to sharing because they want your information just as much! We like to accost them in an area that serves food … this is where people feel the most comfortable; you can get them to tell you anything when there’s food.”

Perk It Up

William Travis Jewelry in Chapel Hill, NC, may be the Google of independent jewelry, at least in terms of the perks for staff. To be sure, there’s no beach volleyball pit on-site, but the store does have a huge kitchen area with a full-sized dining room table so that employees can sit down and enjoy lunch together every day (on Saturdays, owner Travis Kukovich buys lunch for everyone from a local restaurant of the employees’ choice) and there are bicycles at the store that any staff member can ride “to get fresh air and escape the chaos for a few minutes,” says Kukovich.

Fortunate Phrasing

An anecdote from Doug Stephens’ book Retail Revival reveals how Apple store employees were instructed to never use the word “unfortunately.” The reasoning is that “unfortunately” is a negative word that causes pain by making people feel a sense of loss. Instead, staff were instructed to use the words as it turns out, as in “As it turns out, we don’t have that item in stock.” Try it next time you’re in an “unfortunately” situation.

Half-Measures

Sarini Fine Jewellery in Vulcan, AB, Canada, has the perfect solution to the discount issue: A once-a-year, invitation-only, “Half off Half the Store Gala.” “We invite only our top 75 customers. That means no more daily discounting,” says owner Sandra Locken, The night includes gift bags (with local businesses contributing to the swag bags), wine and homemade hors d’oeuvres. “Customers can’t wait to get invited to it.”

Take a Stool

A deep chair is a commitment. Dianna Rae Jewelry in Lafayette, LA features special custom-made chairs at the design stations that feature a short back, making them more like a stool/chair hybrid. They take up less space and present less of a “commitment” for reluctant sitters.

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Celebrate Your Retirement with Wilkerson

For nearly three decades, Suzanne and Tom Arnold ran a successful business at Facets Fine Jewelry in Arlington, Va. But the time came when the Arnolds wanted to do some of the things you put off while you’ve got a business to run. “We decided it was time to retire,” says Suzanne, who claims the couple knew how to open a store, how to run a store but “didn’t know how to close a store.” So, they hired Wilkerson to do it for them. When she called, Suzanne says Wilkerson offered every option for the sale she could have hoped for. Better still, “the sale exceeded our financial goals like crazy,” she says. And customers came, not only to take advantage of the going-out-of-business buys and mark-downs, but to wish a bon voyage to the beloved proprietors of a neighborhood institution. “People were celebrating our retirement, and that was so special,” says says.

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