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Podcast: How to Find Good People and Avoid Employee Nightmares

And, by the way, why can’t millennials fill out job applications?

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JIMMYCAST EPISODE 3: FINDING GOOD PEOPLE (28:34 MINUTES)


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NOTE: Listen to this podcast with the podcast player above, or subscribe to “INSTORE Podcasts” on your smartphone using your favorite podcasting app. Or watch the video version of the podcast below.

HIRING. IT’S ONE of the most important things you do. Hiring the right person can lift your store into the stratosphere; hiring the wrong one can drag you into Dante’s 7th circle of hell.

Finding and hiring people who can become high-quality employees is the topic under discussion in the third 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.

Some of the topics covered in the podcast:

  • Why people today can’t fill out job applications
  • Why restaurant servers are often great candidates to attract into the jewelry business.
  • Doug shares how he has found some of his employees. These include Craigslist, spreading the word amongst friends, hiring a family member (who didn’t have a choice); and several from Facebook. Doug has even used divine intervention, praying for a good employee to arrive at a critical moment. (Guess what? It worked.)
  • How Jimmy took a coffee-shop barista and turned her into a half-million-a-year seller.
  • One question Doug used to weed out applicants for available jewelry sales positions: “If we had two positions available — one in the backroom, working with inventory, and one out on the floor, working with customers, which would you prefer?” He was surprised to see that numerous people who, we want to remind you, were applying for a sales position, said that they would far prefer the back-room job. “You don’t even call those back,” says Doug.
  • When it’s appropriate to use a headhunter.
  • Why it’s almost always smart to hire a good candidate even if you’re not looking for someone new.
  • Is it smart — or not — to hire your good customers?



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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Gene the Jeweler

When Gene the Jeweler Speaks, His Employees Listen

In this episode of Jimmy DeGroot’s Gene the Jeweler series, Gene has a simple request for his employees. The good news is that they follow his instructions. The bad news is that they follow a bit too literally.

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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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JimmyCast

Podcast: Using Social Media to Win Customers and Lower Your Intimidation Factor

Meet a Lockport, NY, jeweler whose fun, casual approach makes his store approachable.

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JIMMYCAST EPISODE 4: SOCIAL MEDIA DONE RIGHT (31:42 MINUTES)


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CAN SOCIAL MEDIA make your store more approachable? That’s the focus of the fourth episode of JimmyCast from jewelry store trainer Jimmy DeGroot of jewelrystoretraining.com.

Guest George Fritz of Mills Jewelers in Lockport, NY drops in to talk with Jimmy and co-host Doug Meadows about his fun experiments on social media, events, as well as his store’s widely-admired community activism.

For some ideas of Fritz’s improvisational approach to social media, watch him zipline across the Erie Canal on the “Niagra Zipper”:



When it comes to events, George has a casual, throw-stuff-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks approach. These events are supported by lots of social media activity.

For one example, George tells the story of “Figgy Pudding Night”, which the store held during the 2018 holiday season. Now in his 60s, George says that he had heard the “figgy pudding” lyrics of the famous Christmas song his entire life without actually having ever tasted figgy pudding. His mission for the 2018 holiday season was to remedy that culinary gap.

How did it go? The event was a success, George says. But when pressed about the figgy pudding, George had an admission to make. “It turns out that there’s a reason that most people haven’t had it … or are clamoring for it. It’s not that good.”

See how Mills Jewelers promoted Figgy Pudding Night on YouTube:

George shares an example of why lowering the intimidation factor of his store is so important. He tells of an engagement-ring customer who revealed to George that he had driven to the store three times and sat in the parking lot before finally mustering up the courage to walk through the front door.

Mills Jewelers has been active in many Lockport community projects, including restoration of a historic tower clock and renovation of a classic local theater. Geroge shares his store’s slogan/mission statement: “Locally-owned, community-minded, and customer-focused.”

Jimmy, David and George also have an interesting discussion of the importance of customer reviews, and George tells how Mills Jewelers tripled its five-star customer reviews in just a few months. (The business now has 182 reviews with an average rating of 4.9 stars.)

George also shares background on one of his store’s most important events, the annual Easter Egg event, which has become a Lockport tradition over the past 30 years. For the event, 1,000 plastic eggs are stuffed with prizes, with a grand prize of a $2,000 diamond, and about half the eggs providing colored gemstone prizes like amethyst, garnet or blue topaz (along with a coupon for discounted mounting). Hear the story of how one event ended up with people sleeping outside his store on a cold spring night after nobody had won the diamond with only 11 unopened eggs remaining. (See video below.)



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