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California Store Manager Shares His Management Success Secrets

“You can’t pull out answers and make things up. That’s kind of a rule here.”

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Ray Lantz

Store Manager, The Diamond Center, Claremont, CA

WITH A B.A. IN POLITICS, a stint in law school and a lucrative career as a mortgage broker, Ray Lantz, 32, never thought he would join the family business. But three years ago, three employees at The Diamond Center quit at the same time and Lantz began helping out. “I went to Hearts On Fire University and I was fired up about all the stuff we were going to do,” Lantz recalls. “My phone began ringing with a mortgage deal and I was physically repulsed. That was sign enough.” He went with jewelry full-time. “Nothing else is as much fun.”

THE NO. 1 THING I emphasize is we don’t need to be perfect tomorrow, but we need to be a little better. We have to keep improving, even if it’s just in one small way. That keeps it simple. If you try to focus on too many things none get done well.

I MANAGE our awesome team of people, especially on the sales side. My dad has a set of skills as a jeweler; Mom has a set of skills as a sales person and working on inventory projects. My being here has freed all of us to do what we’re good at.

OUR ATTITUDE will set the tone for the store, for the rest of the team. We need to bring a positive attitude every day.

WE PAY SALARIES. When I was in the mortgage business, it was commission only, and even if you made a ton of money, you felt that the rug was coming out from under you at any time.

BECAUSE THEY’RE ON SALARY, they all work together. They aren’t trying to hang on to a sale and work their way through it. We’re all quick to bring in somebody else. We evaluate by team performance as much as the individual sales numbers.

WE DO A LOT OF ROLE-PLAY, and it really does work.

YOU CAN BE HERE 25 YEARS, and someone will walk in the door tomorrow and ask you about something you never heard of. I know I am not going to know everything maybe at any point. We just embrace that — that we’re learning.

THERE’S NO “BUTT PULLING.” You can’t pull out answers and make things up. That’s kind of a rule here.

I LOVE TO SELL HEARTS ON FIRE. When it works right, jewelry should pick the person, and it should also communicate what you’re trying to say by giving it. Hearts On Fire screams that it’s superior because the diamonds are so bright.

ONE THING that Hearts On Fire helped clarify for us is the two-minute drill. You have a simple one- or two-minute drill about a product that everybody knows and can communicate quickly, that’s kind of in your back pocket.

WE TRY TO BE non-salesy, but we do greet and speak with every customer or say hello to everyone who comes in the door. We’re all friendly people and extroverts.

WE TRY TO TREAT people as valuable resources. If everybody’s happy then they’re selling and everybody wins.

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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