JIM WOODARD, OWNER of Woodard’s Diamonds and Design in Tullahoma, TN, has been in the jewelry business for 50 years, starting out sweeping floors when he was 16 and then launching his first small strip-center store in 1974.
He’s always been a proponent of training, working with the Edge Retail Academy and hosting jewelry industry sales-training superstars. He wanted to supplement their astute business advice and motivational powers with a consistent program he could deliver to his staff in small, easily digested bites they could refer to later.
When he discovered trainer Jimmy DeGroot’s video subscription service, he saw it as a way to make training an integral part of weekly staff meetings.
DeGroot, who works with trainer Brad Huisken, records one 10-minute training session each week and charges retailers between $99 and $199 a month, depending on staff size. Woodard has found the concise nature of these training videos, combined with the fact he can easily request or access videos on any topic, to fit well into his staff’s time-crunched schedule.
Woodard and store manager Blair Rogers plan weekly discussions with the staff of 15 around the videos. “The thing that is so helpful is that there are times you need a person other than yourself advising your team,” he says. “Jimmy is just so genuine and doesn’t seem to be overly pushy.”
JImmy DeGroot adds music to the message.
DeGroot, a former retail jeweler, hadn’t planned to launch a video training business. After leaving retail, he became a partner in a video production studio and invested $100,000 in video equipment.
A decade ago, Brian Rasmussen of Bay Area Diamond Co. in Green Bay, WI, asked DeGroot if he would visit his store for sales training. Looking around at his video equipment, DeGroot instead suggested recording a short video for the team every week focusing on one topic.
“They can work on that one item per week, and by the end of the year, they will have concentrated on 52 best practices for sales.”
From that spark of inspiration, the Jewelry Store Training Institute (trainretail.com) was conceived, which DeGroot has since expanded into other areas of retail. Membership includes access to 540 10-minute training videos that can be viewed as needed. Each year, beginning
Nov. 1, new releases are holiday themed.
There’s a basic training series for new hires that includes how to take in a repair, dress properly and show up for work on time, among other relevant themes.
It’s something anyone can easily absorb, no matter their personality or learning style, DeGroot says. “I’m a hyperactive person anyway,” DeGroot says, “So sitting in a room for more than 15 minutes, I get antsy and retention goes way down. The modality of people sitting in a conference room for hours and getting a tsunami of information just does not work for everyone.”
DeGroot says his method has worked for retailers who want to supplement current initiatives as well as those who don’t believe they have the time, money or energy for training. DeGroot cautions that whether retailers choose his program or that of another trainer, now is not the time to ignore education.
Since moving into his 4,800 square-foot destination store in 2019, Woodard’s business has leaped by 40 percent and he’s seen about 100 new customers in the store every month. He gives DeGroot credit for at least half of that growth, both as a trainer and “sounding board.”
“I would give Jimmy high marks for getting me to where I am today,” Woodard says. “It was a big decision to come out of the mall and go into a freestanding building or stay where I was.
I consider Jimmy to be key in helping me make some critical business decisions.”