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Smart Managers: Monteca Confer-Beisel

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MONTECA CONFER-BEISEL grew up in her family’s business, Confer’s Jewelers. “My mom said I made my first sale when I was 3 years old,” she says. Her own daughter, Mya, 2, already has taken on duties as an apprentice holiday gift-wrapper. As for Confer-Beisel’s responsibilities, in addition to being sales manager and mom, she is a buyer, event planner and marketing director who found time somewhere to rack up over $1 million in personal sales in 2010.

WE HAVE A TEAM GOALevery month, a “reach” goal and a “stretch” goal. We make a list of incentives — $75 in cash, $75 gift certificates to a spa or a restaurant and a paid, half-day off. If we make the “reach” goal, we get to pick one thing off the list. If we make the “stretch” goal, we get to pick two off the list. That keeps us all motivated. We write on the board where we are at and talk about it every week.

JANUARY WAS MY SALES SLUMP. I just wasn’t in the mood. I felt like I needed a break. I took a week’s vacation to Florida to see my sister. I wanted to be somewhere else. When that happens you should go somewhere else. When I got back, my heart was back at work.

IF I’M GREETING A CUSTOMER, I stand up from my desk, which is in the middle of the store and walk toward them. If I don’t know them, I say hello and start talking to them about things other than jewelry right away, and then I say, “What can I help you with?” so they can’t answer “Yes” or “No.”

HOW I APPROACH A CUSTOMER depends on body language. If it’s a guy and I see him looking in cases, I know he’s on a mission and I speed things up.

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SHANE DECKER WOULD SAY I’m a “sneak seller.” I close the whole time we’re talking. There have been times when I start to write up the sale or ask ‘Can I wrap that up for you?’ But I’m low pressure. I want it to be a decision that they will be happy with. That’s the way to keep a customer coming back.

PRICE IS USUALLY THE OBJECTION. So I give people the option of layaway. People can lay it away for six months.

WHEN WE GET A NEW LINE in, we usually leave it in the vault for a couple of days to build suspense. Then every person who comes in, I’ll ask if they want to see something from the vault that we just got in. We got a whole entire new line and I sold the entire line out of the safe. People thought it was really special being able to see it first. I’m excited because I have something new to talk about.

WE ALWAYS HAVE TWO HALF-OFF sterling silver tables with items priced from $10 to $100. People feel comfortable coming in and trying stuff on. We’ll sell $200,000 a year from these two silver tables.

HOW TO READ CUSTOMERS takes time. It’s not something you’re going to learn in even a year. I think two years is the learning curve to learn to read people and gauge what they are thinking.

THERE ARE DAYS WHEN THINGS DON’T GO RIGHT. Don’t beat yourself up or dwell on it. Analyze it and learn from it.

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[span class=note]This story is from the June 2011 edition of INSTORE[/span]

Eileen McClelland is the Managing Editor of INSTORE. She believes that every jewelry store has the power of cool within them.

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