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Shane Decker: Help Needed

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Being short-staffed limits your ability to wow clients.

Shane Decker: Help Needed

BY SHANE DECKER

Published in the July 2013 issue.

Every jewelry store in the country endured the recession, and many were forced to downsize. Some downsized a lot and now sales are up, showrooms are busier, but a lot of stores have not replaced staff quickly enough. You’d think with 23 million unemployed people, it would be easier to get this done, but in our industry, for some reason, it’s extremely difficult. The truth is, some owners are enjoying the hefty bottom line they have as a result of laying off staff. Problem is, lots of bad things happen when you’re short-staffed.

1) The “sweet spot” is often not covered because salespeople have so much busy work. So you greet from the back or coming out of an office, or you don’t greet at all.

2) The five-second rule is broken. Every client should be smiled at and greeted within five seconds.

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3) Follow-up doesn’t happen. Salespeople don’t have time to send thank-you cards, follow up on repairs to ensure customers are happy, or follow up on birthdays, anniversaries, and other key dates.

4) Busy work intrudes. All of a sudden, you’re not making the client feel like she’s the most important person who’s walked in all day.

5) You’re waiting on a client and getting ready to wow him (show a 1-carat) and someone else is waiting and acting impatient. So you rush the one you’re with, killing the sale, and the one you hurried to help only wants to leave a watch for a battery and come back later.

6) Clients enter in spurts. They see you’re all busy and they say, “I’ll be back,” but they buy elsewhere.

7) You become disorganized and important tasks fall through the cracks. The client you said you’d do something for, you forgot to do it, and now you look like an idiot.

8) You don’t have time for sales meetings. You don’t self-improve, keep up with industry changes, brands, shows, and trade journals.

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9) You’re stressed and lose enthusiasm. Closing ratio drops, and teamwork starts to fail.

10) Team-selling and T.O.’s don’t happen. Everyone’s busy and you couldn’t T.O. if you wanted to.

11) The store starts to look cluttered. Clients think, “The store never looked like this before!”

12) Your job description is unclear; it seems like you’re doing everyone else’s job.

13) You don’t get many days off.

14) You have to walk away from clients more often. You’re in the middle of a presentation and no one’s there to give an assist, so you leave to get something, and your chance of closing the sale slides.

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15) The store is set up too quickly. It looks sloppy inside the cases, tags are showing, light bulbs are burned out, and your beautiful jewelry has fingerprints all over it.

16) Appraisals and other services are not delivered on time.

17) You rush writing up repairs, so mistakes happen in the shop.

18) You overreact to small problems because you’re stressed. Everyone is walking on eggshells.

19) Your selling skills — like asking questions, listening, romancing the product and handling objections — drop off because you’re not focused on your client.

20) You become impatient, making decisions based on emotions, not facts — so mistakes are made.

Don’t hire and train in October to get ready for Christmas. Hire support and sales staff now and train for all positions. Being short-staffed is costing our industry millions of dollars because we are not meeting clients’ expectations!

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