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JimmyCast

Podcast: Get Your Employees to Act Like They Own the Damn Place

Or would you rather be their permanent baby-sitter?

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JIMMYCAST (EPISODE 2): GETTING EMPLOYEES TO ACT LIKE OWNERS (34:23 MINUTES)


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HOW CAN a jewelry-store owner get the members of his or her team to think and act like they are store-owners?

That’s the big question covered in the second episode of INSTORE’s new podcast series, JimmyCast, from jewelry-store trainer Jimmy DeGroot, along with co-host Doug Meadows of David Douglas Diamonds in Marietta, GA.

One of the main problems jewelers, and other business-owners have, is mustering the courage to empower their employees. DeGroot says many fear that if they train their employees to think like store-owners, they will eventually become store-owners … as your competition.

But is that possibility worse than having someone on your team you have to baby-sit as long as they work for you?

Meadows then explains his method for inspiring (notoriously resistant) millennial employees in his business. “Why do you always have to tell a millennial why?,” he asks. Meadows gives the example of a Chick-Fil-A manager, who instead of giving a young employee a broom and telling him or her to go out and sweep the parking lot, instead talks about the brand’s reputation for quality and how that extends through every stage of a customer interaction, from the moment they step into the parking lot until the moment they leave. Now having explained the purpose for sweeping the parking lot, he can end with a request instead of an order — “It would really help me out if you would take this broom and go out and take care of that,” the hypothetical store manager would say.

This process of providing a sense of mission is something that Meadows is working on at his own store — one he calls “how to share a why”. Meanwhile, Meadows is striving to speak even more fluently about the purpose and aspirations of his business — which he calls “what’s your why”. (For more reading on what makes “Why?” so important, try Simon Sinek’s business best-seller Start With Why.)

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If store-owners can’t delegate or teach staff, bad things happen. This could mean nobody in a store being able to sell a one-carat diamond without calling the owner, or, even worse, the owner ending up as permanent “watch-battery guy” for his or her store, handling lower-value responsibilities simply because no one else wants to do them.

“Are you the watch-battery guy at your store?” DeGroot asks.

“No!” says Meadows. “Well, occasionally,” he has to admit.

Part of the process of training staff to think like store-owners is setting up “non-negotiables” using a “nominal group process” as Brad Huisken refers to it. In this process, the owner sets a goal — for example, “creating an amazing customer experience” — and then asks employees to brainstorm ideas to achieve this goal. Later, they take the best of these ideas to establish key “non-negotiables” that must always be followed. While the owner’s input is important in this process, for the most part, it’s driven by employees. Since employees have created the rules themselves, they are better at policing each other for infractions against the rules.

This is important, says DeGroot, “because I knew that if I made the rules, then I was going to have to baby-sit the rules.”

If a store-owner can’t do this, and can’t give up some degree of control of the process, DeGroot and Meadows both agree, they may be better off down-sizing their business and becoming a sole proprietor, where he or she can do everything exactly the way they want to.

Which almost sounds worse than ending up as a “watch-battery guy”.

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Other episode highlights:

* Why DeGroot is not a fan of the interview question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
* The Christmas gift DeGroot would most like.
* The one jewelry-store job that DeGroot hates most.
* Meadows shares how he now ranks his daily to-do list by the profitability of individual actions.
* How a specific personality test, called a “Flagpage” (flagpage.com), can help you determine the best roles for every person in your store. The test, which costs $24.99, breaks a person’s personality characteristics down into four types — called “countries” — peace, perfect, fun and control. Each person can be a resident of a single country or multiple countries — i.e. “fun/peace country” or “perfect/control country”.

Watch the video version of the podcast below, or listen to the audio version at the top of the page. And, to receive future installments of JimmyCast and all other INSTORE podcasts, search for “INSTORE Podcasts” on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher or your favorite podcast platform.

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Jimmy DeGroot is a jewelry store manager who has been in the business for over 20 years. Now he spends his time training teams around the world at jewelrystoretraining.com and sharing marketing advice through his blog site at jewelrymarketingguy.com. Sign up for training videos here.

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JimmyCast

Podcast: Would Your Customer Drive Hundreds of Miles for a Lab-Created Diamond?

Jimmy and Doug talk with Joy Janssen of e-commerce oriented family retailer Eco Diamond.

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JIMMYCAST EPISODE 7: WOULD YOUR CUSTOMER DRIVE HUNDREDS OF MILES FOR A LAB-CREATED DIAMOND? (31:43 MINUTES)


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WANT TO KNOW MORE about selling lab-created diamonds? In the latest episode of JimmyCast, Jimmy DeGroot and co-host Doug Meadows talk with Joy Janssen of Eco Diamond, a family-owned jewelry retailer based in Little Chute, WI.

In addition to selling lab-created gems, Eco Diamonds is unusual for a family-owned retailer in its emphasis in selling online. (Joy and her husband, Ben, have backgrounds in e-commerce.) While the company has a physical showroom where it takes appointments as well as a limited numbers of walk-in customers, most of its sales are initiated online.

In the discussion, Doug shares his progress along the path of selling more lab-created gemstones (3:40), including a time diamonds made from human remains. Joy talks about the progress of lab-created gem sales she has seen since launching her business in 2011 (6:00), noting that they have grown slowly in the Midwest but are gaining momentum.

She talks about a moment where she became more confident her business would succeed, telling the story of selling a $14,000 diamond to a customer in Washington (9:30). And she explains the thought behind selecting her company name (and URL) over other options (10:40). Later, she explains the visual differences between HPHT diamonds and CVD diamonds (13:40).

Doug wonders how we cut through the propaganda that both sides — marketers of natural gemstones versus marketers of lab-created gems — are throwing at jewelers (15:40).

Doug and Jimmy both share their admiration of Joy’s business, with Jimmy saying that her model would be what he would do if he started his own jewelry store now— mom-and-pop, prototypes, with an online emphasis (20:00).

While the guys make a bit of fun of the quaintly-named (and quaintly-sized) Little Chute, WI, Joy shares one impressive landmark near her store (22:50). She then shares some thoughts on why customers would drive across several states to work on a jewelry design with her (23:30).

Doug speculates on future paths and future sources of disruption in the jewelry business (27:00). He then asks if Joy has any advice for bench jewelers who want to get into lab-created and online sales, and Joy shares her answer. (28:20).

On the subject of innovation, Jimmy recommends a book to read (30:00) called They Ask, You Answer.

Watch the video version of the podcast below.


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JimmyCast

Podcast: When Is It Time to Let an Underperforming Employee Go?

The weird twist: They’re often the top producer in the store.

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JIMMYCAST EPISODE 6: WHEN TO LET AN EMPLOYEE GO? (29:39 MINUTES)


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IN THIS MONTH’s episode of JimmyCast, Jimmy DeGroot and Doug Meadows talk about one of their least favorite things — firing staff.

It’s one of the toughest things a store-owner has to do. But once you determine that someone is dragging your business down, you can’t ignore the issue and need to take action. Says Jimmy: “The predominant situation is one who does not play well with others. This can be anything from people who think they know it all, they’re not coachable, they’re not manageable, they do things their own way. And then there are people who are very much an island unto themselves, and these are sales-stealers, people who in general create discord among the group. Here’s the really weird twist … so often, they’re the top seller, they’re the top producer in the store.”

Jimmy and Doug discuss how you determine whether someone is holding your business back, the steps you should take once you decide there is an issue, and the results you can expect to see once you make the difficult call to end a problem employee’s tenure with your company.


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JimmyCast

Podcast: How Can Jewelry Stores Stop Losing Their Best Employees?

The key ingredients are right culture, right incentives and right training.

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JIMMYCAST EPISODE 5: HOW CAN JEWELRY STORES KEEP THEIR BEST EMPLOYEES? (33:51 MINUTES)


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IN A TIGHT JOB MARKET where the average person seeks to “reinvent” themselves four or five times their career, what does a jewelry store have to do to keep its very best employees long-term?

That’s the focus of the fifth episode of JimmyCast from jewelry store trainer Jimmy DeGroot of jewelrystoretraining.com. Guest Brad Huisken of IAS Training drops in to talk with Jimmy and co-host Doug Meadows about the practices and policies that will give you a better chance of keeping key employees.

For Huisken (who is also a partner with jewelrystoretraining.com), the three key ingredients are right culture, right incentives and right training.

A few takeaways from the discussion:

  • Don’t one-size incentives. If you were trying to decide on a $500 reward and offered your staff five different options — 1.) cash; 2.) paid time off; 3.) a gift the employee wouldn’t typically buy for themselves; 4.) $500 in store merchandise; and 5.) $500 in lottery tickets — there’s a good chance different staff members would select each of the the five options. Says Huisken: “Your goal should be to know your people so well individually that you know what moves them individually.” That will allow you to individualize incentives for each team member.
  • Too many jewelers avoid doing quarterly or even annual reviews with their employees because they’re afraid that a face to face discussion of performance means that they’re going to have to increase that employees salary. Big mistake, says Brad. He says: “I just don’t believe in giving a person a raise simply because they lasted another year. You know, god forbid, you’ve got a person that, all they do is answer the phone, but they’ve been with you for 30 years so they’re making $85 an hour.”
  • The problem is that too many employees end up not knowing how they’re doing, which is extremely demotivating. Says Brad: “I go into so many stores, and I say ‘How you doin’ around here?’, and they say ‘Well, I’m not really sure, I don’t get a lot of feedback. In fact, I’m not sure I’m doing a good job at all.’ And that’s just unfair to the employee.”
  • Instead of raises, Brad and Jimmy push incentives — with a combination of personal and team incentives. Says Brad: “You’ve got to have contests, incentives and games going on all the time, all the time, all the time. I think that creates a fun environment and a fun culture within the organization.”
  • Brad tells a great story of a business that had a chronic inability to sell old merchandise. The owner created a huge incentive — a trip to Hawaii if his employees could sell 15 pieces of dated merchandise per month. His staff rose to the challenge and they earned the trip. When the staff returned from their reward journey, the owner told the staff that from now on, since they had proven that they could sell dated merchandise, they would now be required to sell five pieces per month.
  • At the 26-minute mark, Jimmy gets caught up in the excitement of a discussion about the importance of training and extends a special offer to listeners for three months free training from jewelrystoretraining.com. Brad responds, “Gee Jimmy, I didn’t know we were starting a non-profit organization.”
  • One more incentive to train your people from Brad. Staff training is tax-deductible, “so instead of giving your money to Uncle Sam, you can invest it in your business”.
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