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Smooth Seller: Briana Collins



“I can’t imagine a desk job” says Smooth Seller from San Diego, CA.

[h3]Briana Collins[/h3]

[h5]Collins Family Jewelers; San Diego, CA [/h5]


[dropcap cap=B]riana Collins, 23, earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology just last year from Cal State San Marcos, but already she has logged seven years in her family’s business, Collins Family Jewelers. Working with the store’s co-owners, her dad, Bill and her aunt, Sharon, has always been comfortable for her. “I like going to work,” she says. “I can’t imagine a desk job.” She’s one of 10 employees in the 3,000-square-foot store, which specializes in fine jewelry, watches and bridal. There’s no family drama at Collins Family Jewelers. “My dad doesn’t have a mean bone in his body and my aunt, either. They are not crazy bosses. They are the nicest people you’ll meet. I’m a little more hard-hearted, so it’s a good fit. My younger sister’s dream is to be my assistant. Hopefully we’ll own a store one day and work together.” Graduating from college the same year that she sold $1 million gave her even more energy and confidence. “It feels like a horse race,” she says. “They open the gate and you take off running. This is all I’ve done, all I know. I’m good at what I know and that’s why I’m sticking with it.” — EILEEN MCCLELLAND [/dropcap]

[componentheading]Smooth Seller Interview[/componentheading]


• I pay attention to current trends. I think it pays to be fashion forward. So I read a lot of jewelry magazines during lunch.

• Don’t let your age hold you back. Obviously, you can be just as capable as people who’ve been in the industry longer. Just be yourself, and your ambition will show through. People who’ve been in it 20 years might have the experience, but they might not have the excitement. They might be a little burned out.

• People tell me all the time, “You’re so excited.” That’s just who I am. As long as you show a true, genuine interest in what you’re doing, it’s going to work. 

• Going to college helped me in my job. It made me more well rounded. And sociology helps me to read customers who come into the store. I went into college knowing I was going to get my bachelor’s degree and then work in the family business. Sociology just seemed interesting to me. I’m family-oriented and my heart’s in it for my family, too.

• The one thing I learned that I would hate for other people to have to learn on their own is that it’s OK to laugh and smile while selling.


What do I look for in a good salesperson? A great personality. Easy-going, not pushy, yet confident in themselves and in their product.

• On a tough day, I think it is really important to remember that I may be sick, or tired, or both, but my team needs me. So, I suck it up and do the best I can.

• My biggest day ever was during Christmas, when I sold a 5-carat, three-stone ring. With that sale and the combination of other items sold that day, I probably did 50K. 

• Getting into the business at age 16 was totally natural for me. I grew up hanging out with all of our salespeople. Not to mention I love working with my family. We all get along really well.

• My secret weapon for selling is my laughter.

• I never did any formal training or read books about sales. I have watched and learned and formulated my personal selling technique on mimicking other great salespeople I have known at our own store. 


[blockquote class=orange]My customers trust me because I am brutally honest. Even if a piece is more expensive and it looks bad on them, I absolutely let them know. But in a nice way! [/blockquote]

• I love selling diamonds. They look beautiful in every shape and size! Not to mention I am helping two people with the most important ring in both their lives. 

• In looking back on my early days in retail jewelry sales I can’t believe I used to get discouraged. I realize now, certain sales are meant to happen and others are not.

• I love bold pieces. I love color and diamonds together. Big earrings with large gemstones are my favorite. I also like to match but not with matched sets. Matching color is great, but not when they are too matchy.

• I think the best salesperson can sell to anyone. Being versatile is very important to me.

• If I met someone on their very first day in jewelry sales, I’d tell them to adapt. Every customer is different and likes to be treated a certain way. You have to be quick-witted and pay attention to their comfort level.

• My favorite thing about my job is working with my family.

• To sell jewelry, you must love jewelry. I believe to be really great at something, the passion has to be there.

• When there are no customers in the store, I always Windex, modify cases and put out jewelry. 

• I always say the customer’s name a few times during the sale. I think people respect sales associates that remember names and conversations. Give respect and you will reap the benefits. 

• I believe you can manage a few customers at once. Make it fun. Introduce them to each other, and remember they all have a passion for jewelry in common or they wouldn’t be here.

• The ideal salesperson is:
1. Personable.  
2. Confident.  
3. Easygoing.

• I like to call customers to let them know I didn’t forget their birthdays, anniversaries, etc. It is nice to call a customer and not sell them anything sometimes. A phone call is a great way to respect their space, but keep in touch, and keep them coming back to you.

• I hope that my fellow employees look to me for inspiration. I am extremely competitive, so I would think it would bring out their competitive nature to outdo me. It hurts to be outdone, but at the same time I am really proud of my fellow associates, because it is great for them and the store.

[span class=note]This story is from the April 2008 edition of INSTORE[/span]



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