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Shane Decker

Your Way, the High Way

Every store should have a list of non-negotiable principles.




LAWS GIVE OUR society boundaries. They tell us we’re OK as long as we act within certain parameters — otherwise, we’ll be in hot water. But laws don’t tell us what we need to do; they just tell us what we can’t do. laws don’t tell us what we need to do; they just tell us what we can’t do.

As a jewelry store owner, you need to go one step further. Why? So your team members will know exactly what you expect of them every day. You need to write down a list of what I call “absolutes,” and make sure every person on your staff understands and signs off on them. You can have a few or a lot, but whatever the amount, draft a list that’s right for your store.

Absolutes give your sales team structure. Sales associates can use absolutes to hold each other accountable, and they also give you a tool you can use to gauge yourself by. A list of absolutes makes the job easier for owners and managers. You don’t have to do as much babysitting, so you can work more on training.

A list of absolutes should read something like this:

  1. The “sweet spot” on the sales floor will always be covered. Always.
  2. Every person who walks through the door will be wowed, including repair customers.
  3. All presentations not closed will be T.O.’ed.
  4. We will get everyone’s e-mail address and cell phone number.
  5. We will try for an add-on with every presentation.
  6. We will offer to clean and polish each customer’s jewelry.

Other absolutes might include offering refreshments to every customer, selling company benefits (guarantees and warranties), closing all the way through the presentation (not only at the end), and sending thank-you notes to each customer. You might make it an absolute that team members will smile while on the job, or show up to work with an awesome attitude. You might even want to meet with your team to help you develop your store’s list of absolutes.

When absolutes are working, everyone is on the same page, and you’re exceeding clients’ expectations. And, they allow for consequences if someone is not meeting expectations.


For example, let’s say John is waiting on a client and he doesn’t team-sell; he allows the client to leave empty-handed. Susan, another sales associate, can come up and say politely, “Why didn’t you call someone in to team-sell that client? We could have closed him by working together.”

Team members have permission to hold each other accountable. It has to be done politely and with a team spirit in mind. But if the problem behavior continues, it needs to be taken to a manager’s attention. The offender signed off on the absolutes when they came to work in your store, so they must be willing to accept the punishment for their violations.

Once you make your list, you have to be sure to follow through and honor the absolutes. If you don’t, inventory turn will drop, teamwork will suffer, profitability will be lower, and some clients will never return. Your absolutes have to be fair and consistent, and they will need to be role-played.

Success is always a team sport. With absolutes, teamwork goes up tremendously.

Shane Decker has provided sales training to more than 3,000 jewelry stores. Shane cut his teeth in jewelry sales in Garden City, KS, and sold over 100 1-carat diamonds four years in a row. Contact him at [email protected].



Celebrate Your Retirement with Wilkerson

For nearly three decades, Suzanne and Tom Arnold ran a successful business at Facets Fine Jewelry in Arlington, Va. But the time came when the Arnolds wanted to do some of the things you put off while you’ve got a business to run. “We decided it was time to retire,” says Suzanne, who claims the couple knew how to open a store, how to run a store but “didn’t know how to close a store.” So, they hired Wilkerson to do it for them. When she called, Suzanne says Wilkerson offered every option for the sale she could have hoped for. Better still, “the sale exceeded our financial goals like crazy,” she says. And customers came, not only to take advantage of the going-out-of-business buys and mark-downs, but to wish a bon voyage to the beloved proprietors of a neighborhood institution. “People were celebrating our retirement, and that was so special,” says says.

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