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Smooth Seller: Bonnie Wetmore

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This Ohio “Smooth Seller” took a wrong turn to get into the jewelry business — and is very glad she did.

[h3]Bonnie Wetmore[/h3]

[h5]Pugh’s Diamond Jewelers; Zanesville, OH[/h5]

[componentheading]PROFILE[/componentheading]

[dropcap cap=B]onnie Wetmore has been working for Pugh’s Diamond Jewelers for over four years. In that time, she has become the store’s top salesperson with just over $500,000 in sales last year and boasts of a 70 percent closing ratio. Pugh’s has been a family-owned business since 1949. Since the store moved from a location in downtown Zanesville to its present site on Brandywine Boulevard, Pugh’s has grown into one of the largest full-service, family-owned jewelry stores in Ohio.[/dropcap]

[componentheading]INTERVIEW[/componentheading]

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• To sell jewelry, you must get the jewelry on the customer. Let them feel it and see how beautiful they look in it. Let them know they can’t live without it. Just like a new car — you drive it, you want it. 

I got my start in jewelry retail sales by accident! I had just moved to Zanesville with my husband and was getting to know the area. I actually pulled into the Pugh’s Diamond Jewelers parking lot by accident after making a wrong turn. The store looked beautiful and inviting and, of course, I love to look at diamonds. Big ones! When I came in to the store a girl showed me a two-carat diamond. She asked me if I was interested in buying the diamond, and I said that I loved it but actually I had just sold my business and had better get a job first. She called one of the owners over (Dan Pugh), who asked me if I would be interested in a job … It has been a wonderful decision, I love the challenge and there is always change. This has been the best wrong turn I have ever made. Thank you, Dan and Patrick Pugh.

I get mad at myself when I forget a person’s name during a sales presentation. 

I know a sale is going south when a customer says they need to get a second opinion on a buy decision. 

The most memorable sale of my career was when one time I had an older gentleman come in to the store in biker clothing. He wanted to see some diamonds, so I showed him some Hearts On Fire diamonds. After showing him some diamonds and giving my presentation he really didn’t say much. Then he shook my hand and said — I’ll be back in one year to buy this diamond. I can’t buy it today because I’m putting some money down for a special edition Harley, which won’t be ready for one year. I will be back.” About a year later, we heavily promoted a Hearts On Fire event and the store was very busy. I was juggling three customers when a colleague told me there was a gentleman waiting to see me. She pointed to a man across the room. I went over and said hello, and he asked if I remembered him. I said, “Yes, I do. You’re the Harley Davidson guy”. I knew what he wanted. I took the man and his wife to the diamond counter and I could tell she was absolutely shocked. She had no idea she was about to get one of the most beautiful diamonds she had ever seen. I showed her the HOF diamond and her face told it all. Her husband said “We’ll take it! She said, “Oh, my God! I hope our credit card will accept this! We just paid for his Harley!” The tears wouldn’t stop.

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Part of my homework is shopping other jewelry stores. I always learn something, especially how they treat customers. I basically do anything I can to help me be better at my job. 

I know it’s time to take a few days off when my energy level is down. I have a very high energy level and when it’s down I take a few days off. Facing the general public day after day really takes it out of a person. It’s a lot like going on stage and performing. When I’m on the sales floor, the curtains are open. And when the store’s closed, the show’s over.

[blockquote class=orange]I get mad at myself when I forget a person’s name during a sales presentation.[/blockquote]

I like to sell diamond jewelry. I like to sell and wear diamond jewelry. I like simple and elegant jewelry that can be worn with other jewelry to stack, match and mix jewelry. I do not wear outside jewelry. I wear jewelry to show off to our customers. We have beautiful jewelry in our store.

My favorite thing about my job is the competition. Each customer is a challenge and I compete for that sale. They may not know they want jewelry but I know they do. 

The thing that bugs me the most is when customers can’t make up their mind. “Should I buy the white gold 18-inch chain or the yellow gold 18-inch chain?” I always say, “Why not buy them both?

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To make sure a customer comes back and asks for me I always give them my business card, and ask them to ask for me, because by the time they leave I’ve made them my friend. And I ask them to give my business card to a friend. 

When I make my first approach to a customer, I’m thinking about what type of jewelry I’m going to sell them. I look a customer over by checking out their clothes, shoes, appearance … everything I try to get a feel for them. Somehow without realizing it, I can visualize certain jewelry on certain people. It really works for me. So I rarely show the same piece of jewelry to every single customer that walks into the store. They are all different.

[span class=note]This story is from the July 2004 edition of INSTORE[/span]

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