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Smooth Sellers

Smooth Seller: Maxwell Ohnezeit

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“Smooth Seller” from Ohio channels his inner Dean Martin to make sales.

[h3]Maxwell Ohnezeit[/h3]

[h5]DAVID FAIRCLOUGH FINE JEWELERS TOLEDO, OH[/h5]

[componentheading]PROFILE[/componentheading]

[dropcap cap=O]n the sales floor, Maxwell Ohnezeit, 34, channels a retro Rat Packer. “I really consider myself smooth on the sales floor. Most customers don’t even know what’s happening to them until they’re pulling out their wallets. When I’m selling, the celebrity I’m most like is Dean Martin.” Ohnezeit began working at David Fairclough Fine Jewelers of Toledo, OH, while studying management at the University of Toledo. Finding his calling, he has worked for Fairclough ever since. He became manager in 2002 during the transition from a strip mall to the new, 3,500-square-foot, stand-alone store. Confident and self-assured, he enjoys being in the spotlight. If he weren’t in jewelry sales, he could see himself as a game-show host, or — if he could jump, he says, or stretch his 6-foot-2 frame — a professional basketball player, his career goal as a child. One of Ohnezeit’s secrets to success is his uncanny ability, inherited from his grandmother, of being able to deliver his own sales pitch while simultaneously eavesdropping on other associates’ sales presentations. The goal? Make sure no customer is about to walk. — EILEEN MCCLELLAND [/dropcap]

[componentheading]INTERVIEW[/componentheading]

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• My favorite customer is someone who says, “I’m not going to buy today. I’m just looking.” There’s no better feeling than watching them walk out the door with a David Fairclough bag!

• It’s hard to teach body language. You have to learn how to read customers on your own. But the staff probably gets to bypass some of the difficulties I’ve had to face. I try to take all the experiences I’ve had with losing sales and pass that on.

• I love sports
and I believe there is a strong correlation to any sports team and a sales team. If you have nothing but leading scorers you’re not going to be a good team. Each person has to play a certain role.

• When you’re learning to sell, you’re losing sales to gain experience.

• I’d never sell anybody anything that I wouldn’t want to buy myself. They may want to buy an emerald-cut diamond and that may not be my favorite thing, but I ask myself if I was going to buy an emerald-cut diamond, would this be the one I would buy?

[blockquote class=orange] My most memorable sale was a gents’ stainless steel Rolex GMT II. A gentleman walked into the store and said he wanted to look at Rolexes. I make it a point to find out why every customer is in the store and ask, “What’s the occasion?” He told me that he had retired that day. He drove to the store right after he checked out for the last time. He pulled a pen and pencil set out of his pocket and said, “This is what they gave me for 35 years of employment,” and he laughed. The customer was in the store for about an hour and I think I told him every detail that I know about Rolex. He told me that he always thought when he finally owned a Rolex, he had made it. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate 35 years of hard work. [/blockquote]

• Customers are typically excited
to be at your store, and you have to match that same energy.

• I tell people exactly what I would want to know if I were in their shoes. My customers trust me because I’m a straight shooter. I tell  it like it is and refuse to sacrifice my integrity for anyone.

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• One of the things I’ve started to do for the staff is to create a monthly newsletter. I have a section called “At the Sales Counter,” where we discuss techniques. I also used an idea from INSTORE in the newsletter, called “Autopsy of the Sale,” so we can discuss what brought the customer into the store, what we did right to close the sale, what we could have done better, etc.

• For this year’s bridal event, I am working with a local travel agent on a promotion that will send some lucky couple on a second honeymoon for their first anniversary. I ate thawed cake and watched the wedding video with my wife on our first anniversary. I would have much rather spent it on the beach.

• One of the areas that I have mentioned to our staff is the need to keep in contact with our customers. Quite often we take for granted simple repairs or small orders. Why not call Mrs. Smith and see how that ring is fitting her since we resized it?

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

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Hosting a going-out-of-business sale when the coronavirus pandemic hit wasn’t a part of Bob Smith’s game plan for his retirement. Smith, the owner of E.M. Smith Jewelers in Chillicothe, Ohio, says the governor closed the state mid-way through. But Smith chose Wilkerson, and Wilkerson handled it like a champ, says Smith. And when it was time for the state to reopen, the sale continued like nothing had ever happened. “I’d recommend Wilkerson,” he says. “They do business the way we do business.”

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