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Smooth Sellers

Smooth Seller: John Nichols

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In Las Vegas, this former card dealer now takes care of  customers as a jewelry-store “Smooth Seller”.

[h3]John Nichols[/h3]

[h5]Huntington Jewelers; Las Vegas, NV[/h5]

[componentheading]PROFILE[/componentheading]

Smooth Seller: John Nichols

[dropcap cap=J]ohn Nichols, 65, is a native of Spur, TX , who gambled on a life in Las Vegas, where he took a 13-year break from jewelry sales to deal cards at a casino. Former employer C. Kirk Root of C. Kirk Root Designs in Austin, TX, who nominated Nichols as a Smooth Seller, described him as an old-world-style salesman — one of the best at making customers and friends. “I don’t know exactly how much I sold because I don’t keep track of sales goals or sales numbers,” Nichols says. “That can make you lazy. “You tend to kick back and think, I’ve done a good job, now I can relax. So I never pay attention to the numbers. If you stop making money for your employer, you are in trouble.” He’s been with Huntington Jewelers for two years.EILEEN MCCLELLAND [/dropcap]

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[componentheading]INTERVIEW[/componentheading]

When you are a dealer you make minimum wage plus tips and when you make a pretty good salary it means you are taking care of the players. I really enjoyed dealing, there’s a lot of customer contact and you learn a lot about selling, just by dealing cards. You learn to take care of the customer, treat them with kid gloves, make sure they don’t make big mistakes while they are playing and if you take care of them, just like you would a jewelry customer, you will make the money.

• The mistake I make most often is trying to work that computer for sales tickets. Sometimes I hit the wrong button and I have to call someone to help me straighten it out.

• I wear very little jewelry because I believe it’s my job to sell it, not to wear it. Your jewelry could be offensive to someone. If someone doesn’t like the style or thinks you are wearing too much jewelry it could have a negative influence on them. You want the customer to pay more attention to what you are saying and selling than what you are wearing. I don’t want anything to take away from satisfying that customer.

• When I close a big sale, I just like to see the smile on the owner’s face. I call it job security.

• I think all customers deserve the same treatment. I always like to make sure whether they are buying a watch battery or a diamond worth thousands, they are all treated well.

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• I enjoy the custom jobs, which is 90 percent of our business. I like sitting down with the customer and creating something as they talk — and then you put it on the screen for them and you can tell when they are excited about it.

• If the store is busy, the most important thing is to acknowledge everyone’s presence and don’t let them feel like they are being ignored. Excuse yourself, greet the newcomer, say have a seat and I’ll be right with you. The customer you are waiting on will understand, and the customer who is waiting will appreciate the acknowledgment.

• Teamwork is vital. Most places have a commission structure as we do and I’m really not a big fan of that because it can lead you to abuse the best customers. But what I implemented here is all the commission goes in one pot and it is split equally. Turnovers are done easily, professionally, and we are all going for the same goal, to satisfy that customer and exceed their expectations.

• Sometimes the little sales are more meaningful. A good example is a man comes in and buys a ring with $200, and that’s all he had — he spent every-thing for this item. So that was very emotional. He deserves the same treatment as someone who has a lot of money to spare; he needs to know that his business is appreciated as much as someone spending the big bucks. Because he will come back.

• If I met someone on their very first day in jewelry sales, I’d tell them to shut up and listen. Listen more than you talk and the customer will tell you what you need.

• Customers are very knowledgeable. If you try to pull the wool over their eyes, you are going to shoot yourself in the foot. Be truthful in every situation. You see so many people embellishing or taking literary license and pretty soon it’s going to backfire on them.

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[blockquote class=orange]I think all customers deserve the same treatment. I always like to make sure whether they are buying a watch battery or a diamond worth thousands, they are all treated well.[/blockquote]

• When I have downtime I create the custom-design images and then I call the customer to see the images and that brings them back into the store two or even three times. The process deserves a lot of attention. I don’t want them to think it will take 10 minutes on the computer and boom, there it is. I want to have some choices for them when they come back, plus if I work on it when they’re not here, they can’t see that I make mistakes on the computer.

[span class=note]This story is from the May 2009 edition of INSTORE[/span]

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