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Smooth Seller: Georgia Stolte

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“Give everybody the best experience you can” says Smooth Seller from Richmond, VA.

[h3]Georgia Stolte [/h3]

[h5]CAPRI JEWELERS, RICHMOND, VA [/h5]

[componentheading]PROFILE[/componentheading]

[dropcap cap=G]eorgia Stolte, 44, works in sales and is a buyer for Capri Jewelers of Richmond, VA, owned by Christopher DeCapri. The 3,500-square-foot, freestanding store has an annual revenue of $9 million, sells lots of loose diamonds and engagement rings, and carries high-end designer merchandise from Hearts On Fire, Kwiat, Roberto Coin and Lagos, to name a few. Stolte first worked for Capri in 1990, left for a few years to run a restaurant, but returned in 1996. Her top sales secret? Service with a smile. “My clients become my friends and they’ll refer their friends to me. That’s how I’ve really done well for myself,” Stolte says. — EILEEN MCCLELLAND[/dropcap]

[componentheading]Smooth Seller Interview[/componentheading]

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• First of all, I introduce myself and give clients the best possible experience while they are there. I follow up with a thank-you note. If they don’t make a purchase, a lot of times I’ll call them to thank them for coming in. And then you hope they are going to ask for you the next time. But you never know.

• Give everyone the best experience that you can. Especially nowadays service is so important because you are competing against the Internet. You have to offer something for people to come back. Because otherwise it’s all about the price.

• Get to know your client a little bit better. What works for me is making them friends. Getting to know them better helps you sell. Everyone has different things that motivates them, different reasons for buying.

• What makes a good salesperson? I look for someone who is friendly and makes me feel welcome when I walk in the door, someone who tries to understand a little bit of who I am so they can help me better and make suggestions. And then finally someone who will call you back when they say they’re going to get something in or check on something for you

[blockquote class=orange]A lot of people thought only a man could sell them diamonds in the past. But I think the women usually do it better now. [/blockquote]

• My favorite type of customer is somebody who knows what they want and is not afraid to buy for themselves or their significant other. Someone who loves jewelry and appreciates it buys more often.

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• Each time I go to a Hearts On Fire seminar I learn something. Not only do they teach you about the product, but they give me new ideas and perspectives on selling. I think they do a really good job on training.

• The ideal salesperson has a good work ethic, a pride for what they do, shows confidence, can talk to people easily and is eager to sell, but isn’t too pushy.

• Yes, I’ve had selling slumps. January was one of them. This market has been awful. It usually doesn’t last longer than a week. But sometimes it can be a month. I usually look back and see what I could have done better and just move on.

• When I’m slow, I call my clients if I know something came in that they’d like, to try to generate some business.

• I sold a 5-carat vivid fancy yellow diamond ring last year. It was from a call on the phone. You never know what to think about phone calls you get.

• In looking back on my early days in retail jewelry sales, I can’t believe I didn’t keep a client file because it has helped me tremendously in getting business in and selling more.

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[blockquote class=orange]A favorite promotion? The best trunk show that we’ve had is Charles Krypell. We’ve had great days when he’s here. The clients love to meet the designer and he’s great with customers. Some of the designers will stand there and not say anything until they’re forced to talk to customers. But he really knows how to deal with the clients. [/blockquote]

• My customers trust me because I’m honest with them and sincere. I really want them to leave the store feeling happy about what they purchased and not make the wrong decision. Even when it’s the husband shopping, I ask as many questions as I can to find the right piece for them. Usually I do pretty well and make the spouse happy and they come back again and again.

•  A lot of guys are afraid of buying jewelry. We do wish lists and encourage women to keep a wish list on file. It makes it easier for the guys, and their wives are happy because they get something that they like.

• When I close a big sale, I usually just come home and share it with my husband. He gets excited with me. I don’t tell him who the client is, because Richmond is small. I tell him what sold but not who it was sold to.

• I love going on buying trips, seeing what the new trends are. That always inspires me.

• Teamwork is very important. Everybody at our store works well together. When a client is in, everyone greets them and makes them feel at home. It’s important that when I’m not available, my clients are being taken care of as if I were there. And if someone comes in who is not my client, I want to make sure I treat them well, too.

• I’ve worn pieces out of the case that I’ve sold off my body. There are a lot of things that sit in the case that nobody looks at and as soon as you put it on it makes such a difference. One client came in, I put a 10-carat diamond ring on, and I ended up selling it to her. It helps.

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

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