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Smooth Seller: Patti Luckett

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Top salespeople share their secrets

[h3]Patti Luckett[/h3]

[h5]Davis Jewelers; Louisville, KY[/h5]

[componentheading]PROFILE[/componentheading]

Smooth Seller: Patti Luckett

[dropcap cap=P]atti Luckett, 49, got her start in jewelry in an independently-owned store within a large department store. After several other jobs in the jewelry business, including a long stint with a jewelry appraisal specialist, Luckett went to work for Davis Jewelers. She has been working at the Louisville-based jewelers for 11 years and is one of the store’s leading sales associates with sales of $670,000 and a 50% closing ratio for walk-in customers and 70% for her appointment customers.

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Davis Jewelers, a third-generation jewelry store, started out as a modest jewelry store in downtown Louisville. Over time, the store evolved and expanded with a broader range of fine fashion jewelry, bridal jewelry and Swiss watches. Today Davis Jewelers is Louisville’s largest free-standing jewelry showroom with annual sales of around $4 million. In its market, Davis Jewelers is known for its fine diamonds, jewelry and watches.[/dropcap]

[componentheading]INTERVIEW[/componentheading]

• One of my favorite customers is a woman who is a doctor along with her husband. When I first helped her she wanted 4 carats diamond (TCW) stud earrings. She was very serious about the purchase and even purchased a pair of CZ stud earrings of the same size just to see how they’d look and if she could “live” with the look. She ended up spending $22,000 on the [diamond] earrings.  

• I build up my customer base by extensively networking. I’m a big socializer and carry business cards with me all the time. I probably go through 700 to 800 business cards a year. I hand a lot of them out during my bowling league season — where I manage one league and play on another. In fact, Hank Davis sponsors one of my leagues. I’m constantly selling the guys at the bowling alley. I can sometimes take an order one week and deliver the next gift-wrapped and ready to go. I get a lot of business and referrals from the leagues and my husband has a big family, who all shop with me and they give referral business as well. My networking also allows me to know what the average customer’s like and dislikes from things they see in fashion magazines or on TV. When I get specific requests I work catalogs and trade magazines pretty hard to find that item.

[blockquote class=orange]I like to keep busy all the time. My work ethic tells me ‘there’s always something to do.'[/blockquote]

• We’ve recently started using a new more user-friendly database that should make customer information gathering easier. We’re all very excited about the new system as it’s also being introduced at the same time as our new gift-card program. Now we’ll send out a gift card with a letter telling customers on their birthday or anniversary that we have a “little gift” for them, which is a gift card with a certain dollar amount. The gift card is sent out a few weeks before the event. If people act on it, then collecting more data on them is easier when they’re in the store. And when they buy something we always send hand-written thank you notes, which always get a good response.

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• I like to keep busy all the time. My work ethic tells me “there’s always something to do.” Because I’m an early riser, it’s not uncommon for me to come in early and make calls to vendors on special orders, write thank-you notes and check my assigned display cases. The rule is keep the jewelry clean, displays straight and tags tucked. I usually have customers who I’m researching pieces for. When such requests come along, I try to respond within a day to let them know it’s a priority for me. And, sometimes these requests can take much time to track down by sifting through lots of vendor catalogs.

• The phone is a critical tool. Calling customers for follow-ups, special orders and repairs is part of good customer service, which I learned to appreciate more working here. I take my calls pretty seriously. We have an assigned person who makes the repair calls. When the person who makes the repair calls has a day off, and I know a repair for a customer of mine is coming in on that person’s day off, I’ll make sure to arrange with the repairs department to make the repair call myself. It’s all about customer service and keeping my name out there.  

• I don’t have any ironclad closing lines.
I can read customers well enough to know when they’re ready to buy and how to advance the sale towards a close. With women I’ll talk about the ring setting or for men I’ll ask what he has in mind for presenting the ring. I’m amazed that some guys are in that morning and want a ring for that evening and haven’t given the presentation much thought. Then there are men that are very picky about the jewelry purchase. But I’m never pushy and always work towards earning trust by making the customer know it’s all about them.  

• If a male customer comes in for some jewelry for his wife or loved one, I ask about the particular event. If there isn’t one, I like to say, “So you must be in a bit of trouble.” That always gets a response.

[blockquote class=orange]Then there are men that are very picky about the jewelry purchase. But I’m never pushy and always work towards earning trust by making the customer know it’s all about them.[/blockquote]

• I know it’s time to take some vacation when my tan lines start to fade. My husband and I vacation twice a year in Florida to visit my in-laws. My husband plays golf every day with his father and I sit by the pool and enjoy the sun and spend time with my mother-in-law. For my husband and me, these are very special times, and Hank Davis is good about giving personal days when they’re needed, like now with our home being renovated, and when we’re ready for a trip to Florida. At Davis’s I have a schedule that allows me to have a good balance in my personal and professional lives. Davis’s is very accommodating to make sure we have fulfilling lives.  

• I like to spoil myself with a manicure twice a month. It’s such a social outing because I’ve been going to the same woman for 12 years. I like to keep my nails and hands looking good as part of my job because I wear a lot of jewelry when I’m selling it. My manicurist and my hair dresser are two of my biggest allies. They keep a stack of my business cards handy. All the staff at my hair dresser’s salon shop from me and I get referrals as well.  

• Teamwork has become
more important since we’ve switched over to a new commission system. There’s less stress and less protectionism in the store. On Saturday mornings when we have the sales only meetings we do role-playing and work on ways to hand off or hand over sales. These days the meetings and teamwork is casual and rewarding, and more fun. One new trick we’re using is another sales associate saying “can I see that?” during another person’s sales presentation. It helps create a little excitement when another salesperson senses another person is hitting a rough spot in a presentation.  

• I make sure customers
come back and ask for me by name by introducing myself when I first make contact with a customer. Business cards are important and I always make sure people leave with one in their hand. I also make it a point to say my name and repeat it through the sales presentation.

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[span class=note]This story is from the October 2005 edition of INSTORE[/span]

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