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Smooth Seller: Susan Thacker-Bell

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This Indiana “Smooth Seller” is a minister’s wife — and sells using the guidance of the “Golden Rule”.

[h3]Susan Thacker-Bell[/h3]

[h5]Moyer Fine Jewelers; Carmel, IN[/h5]

[componentheading]PROFILE[/componentheading]

[dropcap cap=S]usan Thacker-Bell began her selling career in a children’s clothing store about 25 years ago. She moved into jewelry sales at a downtown jeweler in Noblesville, IN, to be near her ailing parents. Although she “fell into the industry,” she soon realized it was what she was born to do. She began working for Moyer Fine Jewelers about seven years ago. Last year, she had $850,000 in jewelry sales.

Moyer Fine Jewelers is a free-standing, 13,000 square foot two-story location just outside of Indianapolis, renowned for their extensive designer jewelry collection, beautiful diamonds, and fine Swiss timepieces.[/dropcap]

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[componentheading]INTERVIEW[/componentheading]

• The first piece of jewelry I ever owned was from my brother, who was stationed in Japan while serving in the Air Force. I was 12 at the time, and he sent me a hand-painted cameo. It was a limoge piece trimmed in silver filigree, with a lady painted on it. I have it on a charm bracelet that I still wear today. 

My favorite thing about selling jewelry is making people happy. Whether they are buying a gift for someone they care about, helping to pick it out, or receiving it, people love jewelry. And I get to be a part of those special moments every day.

My favorite jewelry to sell is diamonds because they are so beautiful. I tell my customers that it’s like wearing a little work of art: each time you look at your diamond — and from every angle — you see something different.

When I’m selling, the famous person I most try to emulate is Jesus Christ. I try to follow the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It’s a simple way to remember to treat each customer as a special human being.

I know a sale is going south when I can’t get someone to talk to me. Sometimes, I think there is no way a customer is going to cooperate, but I keep on trying and suddenly they open up. Other times, I just have to tell them, “I can’t help you if you won’t talk to me.”

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My “secret weapon” for selling is that I genuinely like people. I love talking to them and thinking that in some small way, I’ve made their lives a little better. Jewelry as a gift is much more than an object — it will last a lifetime. I love it and I want it and I want everybody else to have it, too!

My most memorable sale was a couple of years ago when a man came in with his children. He said that his wife had breast cancer, and she had never owned a ring. They were there to buy her a new wedding ring for Christmas. They were all so excited! Moments like that are what I love most about this job: you get to be a part of something that means the world to your customers, if you take the time to get to know them.

I still get excited about jewelry myself. Recently, a Gregg Ruth representative was here to show their new line, and saw a ring that was so beautiful, I was literally jumping up and down! I called my husband and asked him if he’d like me to do a little early Christmas shopping for myself. He said yes, and now I wear the ring all the time. We have a fun job, so why not be excited?

[blockquote class=orange]Moments like that are what I love most about this job: you get to be a part of something that means the world to your customers, if you take the time to get to know them.[/blockquote]

One thing I always like to tell male customers is, “Think about how much money you spend on cars, and in 20 or even 10 years, you have nothing to show for it! You can pass this jewelry on to your great-grandchildren.” And when they say, “But that’s $10,000!” I always answer, “That’s nothing! It’s just $500 a year (over 20 years). She’s worth way more than that!

If I met someone on their very first day of jewelry sales, I would tell them that they can have a wonderful career, and they can have an impact on people’s lives. I’ve made so many friends over the years that started out as customers. People will talk to you about all kinds of things! Once, I sized a man’s wedding ring while he waited, because his wife had just died and he wanted to wear the ring at the funeral. He hadn’t worn it in years because he had lost a lot of weight and it was too big for him. We sat and cried together right there in the store.

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My selling technique is very much influenced by my home life. I’m a minister’s wife, and I do a lot of entertaining in my home. So, I have to know how to make people comfortable, which in turn allows them to have a good time. It’s the same thing in jewelry sales: if you have a good time, so will your customers.

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

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