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Smooth Seller: Elaine Pieper

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Clarkson Jewelers,St. Louis, MO

 

When Elaine Pieper was about to turn 50, she started checking off items on her “bucket list” and got a new lease on life. Her energy has filtered into the workplace, as well. She hit $1 million in sales by September, and is on track to making 2010 her best year ever. Pieper got her start as a bench jeweler and designer, but in 1991, she came to Clarkson’s and found a new niche in sales. — Eileen McClelland

INTERVIEW

ADVICE FOR NEWBIES: Have fun and make each customer’s experience memorable. That’s what makes the job special.

BE GENTLE: I don’t push things on people. I listen to them and try to help them find something that’s going to make their gift special.

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SECRET TO SUCCESS: I don’t go to work every day saying, I’m going to sell a $40,000 watch today. I learned over time how to build a customer base, learned to listen, and it has just slowly evolved.

HELP THE GUYS: If it’s an engagement ring or an anniversary gift, I give them a suggestion on how to present it: Put it on her pillow and when she wakes up she’s going to have this wonderful surprise and your whole day is going to be wonderful.

SET THE MOOD: One of my first jobs was at Steak ’N Shake. An older gentleman came in every day for breakfast, and he said, “Let me just tell you one thing: The way you talk to your customers sets the mood.” So I try to greet customers and say hello, and use their name if I know it or get a feel for what their day is like. I can have a conversation before it even gets around to what brought them into the store.

MAKE IT FUN: A fun shopping experience is about trying things on and being interactive.

GIVE IT YOUR ALL: I worry about what happens in the store when I’m not there. If I have a customer who needs to get something done, I go into work on my day off or go into work early. Sometimes you have to give more than 100 percent.

This story is from the December 2010 edition of INSTORE

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