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How to Tell If Your Ads Work, How to Turn Over a Repair Or Custom Job, and More of Your Questions for March

Start by making a distinction between current and new clients.




How to Tell If Your Ads Work, How to Turn Over a Repair Or Custom Job, and More of Your Questions for March

How can I get my customers to ask for another staff member to do a repair or custom job?

This is an excellent idea not just to give you more time to take care of big business projects (as opposed to small daily tasks), but to ensure that should you ever decide to sell your store, prospective customers won’t worry that you’re indispensable to its success. We suggest that you make a distinction between current and new clients. With the latter, you can start out fresh and sell the culture of the store and the skills of your bench jewelers. Emphasize your role in overseeing everything created or repaired in the store and maybe even the shared aesthetic of the store. Current clients present a different challenge because of the trust they have in you. In effect, they have to be resold. You can make that task a bit easier by introducing a two-tier waiting list, whereby they’ll have to wait longer if they insist on having you do the work. Be persistent, and you should eventually be able to change most of your customer base’s perception of the value you add versus that of your store.

How can I tell if my traditional advertising is effective?

Jewelry is a particularly tough segment to track because it’s a product people have a deep interest in at certain times (when they are getting married, need a gift, need a repair) and almost none at others. So even the best ad in the world won’t bring people in the door if that basic need is not present at that moment. It’s true what your ad manager is telling you: you need to be patient and persistent with your message. Still, there are several things you can do. The first is to set up a traffic-counting system and know your typical numbers. If a campaign coincides with an influx of customers, you know there’s a good chance your ads are effective. (And if the interactions aren’t converted, you know there may be a problem with your sales staff.) Second is to roll out a “too good to be true” offer as a way of testing a medium. Yes, you’ll lose a little money on, say, a radio ad at an untried time, but you’ll know if anyone is listening, which will save you money in the long run. The third is to plant what Roy H. Williams, the Wizard of Ads, calls a “word-flag” in the ad. Williams once created a campaign for a jeweler that mentioned “fat-bottom diamonds.” Within a few weeks, he says, dozens of customers were asking every jeweler in town, “This isn’t one of those fat-bottom diamonds is it? I wouldn’t want one of those.” Williams cautions that it’s not a word-flag to say, “Mention this ad and receive a 20-percent discount.” Those ads, says Williams, will only make you seem “unfocused and desperate.”

Is it okay to ask customers what they do for a living in order to build rapport?

If it came down to a choice between WDYD and “What do you like to do for fun?”, “What’s important to you?” or “What makes you feel keenly alive?” as recommended by some business gurus, we’d counsel going for the work question (although best if not asked with an arched eyebrow and overall suspicious, wealth-assessing gaze). The point of small talk is to establish a connection in a non-intimidating way, and most normal people understand that.

How can I better lay out my cases to support my sales?

Take time to watch how customers move through your store. Foot traffic tends to develop an organic flow, and you can take advantage of your customers’ natural instincts to strategically place cases and collections. You can also use your biggest sellers to draw customers deeper into the store and past some of your less popular items. One idea is to ask friends or relatives to walk through the store and take photos of whatever catches their eye. That way, you’ll be able to check what’s currently being seen and what’s being lost in blind spots. Larry Johnson, author of The Complete Guide to Effective Jewelry Display, says that it’s important that the organization of your cases matches the way you sell, with the displays following the steps of your presentation (meaning everything within easy reach as you work through the options and sales story that ends with The One). If you can tweak case placement to accommodate one of the big sales-floor trends of the last few years — the less-intimidating side-by-side selling — all the better. Other things to look out for: fixtures that are too tall and don’t allow shoppers to look across and understand how large or small the store is. Fixtures that restrict visibility through the space, or are too linear, will also kill the “spirit” of a store.


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When There’s No Succession Plan, Call Wilkerson

Bob Wesley, owner of Robert C. Wesley Jewelers in Scottsdale, Ariz., was a third-generation jeweler. When it was time to enjoy life on the other side of the counter, he weighed his options. His lease was nearing renewal time and with no succession plan, he decided it was time to call Wilkerson. There was plenty of inventory to sell and at first, says Wesley, he thought he might try to manage a sale himself. But he’s glad he didn’t. “There’s no way I could have done this as well as Wilkerson,” he says. Wilkerson took responsibility for the entire event, with every detail — from advertising to accounting — done, dusted and managed by the Wilkerson team. “It’s the complete package,” he says of the Wilkerson method of helping jewelers to easily go on to the next phase of their lives. “There’s no way any retailer can duplicate what they’ve done.”

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