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Monkey See, Monkey Sell





A recent New York Times article about the persuasive power of mimicry cited the example of legendary auto-parts salesman Veldon Smith. Smith did much more than simply laugh when his prospect laughed. “I would learn as much as possible about a client before I visited, what their problem was, what they were worried about,” he told the paper. “Then I would go in with a story about myself being in the same predicament. So when I walked in, I was in exactly the same frame of mind as the customer. I was immediately on the same wavelength. Everything else kind of flowed out of that.”

GET FIRMTough Times

At February’s Centurion Show in Tucson, AZ, Doug Bradstreet, the fine watch and jewelry buyer for the Wynn Las Vegas outlined the demands he makes on his suppliers: “A partnership is a partnership … [but] one non-negotiable I have is regarding trade-outs. I’m a new store, but if I have product that is not exciting to our customers, I insist the vendors take it back.”

FLY WELLSeat Assignments

If you’re traveling on business, it may pay to check out first. The site shows you seats to ask for and those to avoid, such as those with limited legroom, and proximity to galleys, closets and lavatories on dozens of airlines.

GET SOME IDEASShameless Plug

Looking for some ideas for your new ad campaign? Check out for the winners of the inaugural Jewelry and Watch Advertising Awards. OK, this is a shameless plug for our sister publication, INDESIGN and its recently completed contest, but there’s a lot to learn and some great ideas to apply to your own ads. Check it out.


It’s anniversary season and you need a new line to breathe fresh life into your presentation when you’re romancing a purchase. Sales trainer Dave Richardson suggests you jettison “What does she like?” and instead try asking: 1. What have you surprised her with in the past? 2. What was her response? 3. How did that make you feel? With such a line of inquiry, you’ve skillfully transported the customer to the past as he relives those magical moments in his mind.

SEND THEM AWAYAnniversary Starter

Maxwell Ohnezeit, manager of David Fairclough Fine Jewelers, Toledo, OH, remembers his impove-rished first anniversary: eating thawed cake and watching his wedding video with his wife. “I would have much rather spent it on the beach,” he says. For that reason he’s working with a local travel agent on a promotion that will send one lucky couple on a second honeymoon for their first anniversary.



Everyone who has walked the aisles of JCK Vegas knows that feeling when your energy sags and your mind turns to the nearest coffee station. Michael Tesler of Retail Concepts says you should take notice of these spells of fatigue. They’re often indicators that the merchandise you’re browsing simply doesn’t excite you. In contrast, you’ll feel energized when you see something that engages you. “If you are excited, there’s a good chance your customers will be too,” he says.

Abe Sherman is the CEO of BIG - Buyers Intelligence Group. BIG designs solutions for the merchandising challenges facing retail jewelers and manufacturers. BIG utilizes a data analysis tool, Balance to Buy, to help consult with clients and customize their individual experiences and results.



Wilkerson Testimonials

Wilkerson: “They Feel Like Family”

Newton’s Jewelers in Fort Smith, Ark., was a true institution. But after being at the helm for most of his life, owner (and descendent of the original founder) Kelly Newton decided it was time to retire. He chose Wilkerson to handle the sale. “I’ve known the owners of Wilkerson for a long, long time. I felt at home with them,” he says. The final retirement sale was just a “blast” and the Wilkerson sales team made it so very simple and straightforward, says Newton. Would he recommend Wilkerson to others? Absolutely. “They’ve done incredible work,” says Newton. “They feel like family.”

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