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Tip Sheet

Tip Sheet: February 2014



Tips: February 2014

Fresh ideas to better your business.

Published in the February 2014 issue

TIPS management

The idea of living on in perpetuity in digital form has some appeal, but it’s actually a headache for your surviving family. “Many of your online accounts — from automatic bill payments to eBay — may remain active after you pass away,” says attorney Hillel Presser, author of Financial Self-Defense. It is not enough, Presser says, to merely provide a family member with all of your accounts, log-ins and passwords, as they may not be legally allowed to access them. Instead, he recommends appointing in your will a digital executor — a tech-savvy person who will be able to close or manage accounts in line with your wishes.


Store consultant Kate Peterson thinks jewelers can learn a thing or two from luxury car dealers when it comes to setting standards for your customer. “The experience is nothing short of amazing. They don’t care if you’re buying top of the line or entry level, the experience is the same,” she says, urging that you make it all about the customer, not about the price, not about the product. “When you understand and communicate real value, the price becomes secondary,” she says.

Don’t buy into the argument that there is no place for negative feedback in the workplace, says social psychologist Heidi Grant Halvorson. Yes, be effusive with praise when someone is learning a new skill — it boosts their confidence and their commitment to the task — but don’t shy from offering “informative” criticism to a seasoned hand. “Negative feedback (e.g., Here’s where you went wrong….), tells you where you need to spend your effort, and offers insight into how you might improve,” she writes on her blog,

TIPS marketing

John Jantsch recently recounted in his Duct Tape Marketing blog his surprise at finding a free pair of socks and an energy bar included with the pair of running shoes he’d ordered online. Turns out that these “gifts” were placed in the box by strategic partners. Could you offer free gifts from strategic partners when you complete a custom design? A scarf, a small perfume sample, a coupon for a discounted dinner? And could that strategic partner provide a coupon or free samples from you when they deliver a product? A birthstone for a birthday dinner at a local restaurant, a free charm bracelet from the catering hall that hosts a girl’s 16th birthday bash? The possibilities are vast.

Do you ever input keywords into Google to see how your store ranks? If you do, make sure you actually click on your store’s link: “Every time your business appears in the rankings and is NOT clicked, there is a chance that will actually lower your ranking for that term, since it is assumed your site did not appear to offer what the searcher was looking for,” a contributor told a recent edition of Quirk’s Marketing Research Review.

What’s the biggest mistake store owners make when they start selling online? It’s to think commerce in the cyberworld runs by the same rules as in their brickand- mortar stores. “Too many retail stores blindly upload all of their jewelry and watches onto a website with full pricing detail,” says James Rubinstein, president of RESULTCO a distributor of brand-name watches that also provides virtual storefronts to brickand- mortar jewelers. Allow price comparison only when you can be competitive, advises Rubenstein “This entices shoppers to visit their local store to view selection and gives the retailer an opportunity to capture the sale.”


TIPS sales floor

Do you struggle closing the deal? Sales trainer Harry Friedman suggests that when you reach the trial close phase of your presentation you attach the words “you” or “your” to the item as a way to give customers automatic ownership of it. He also recommends starting each add-on attempt with “How about ….” His formula can be broken down into five parts: How about (1) this perfectly matched (2) pendant (3) to complete the look (4) of your (5) new ring. So here 3 is the add-on, 4 is the “must have” reason, and 5 the assumed understanding the customer is buying it by giving her automatic ownership.

Price tags that reflect the quality and sophistication of your store aren’t that cheap. It’s why most jewelers are reluctant to scribble on them or attach stickers when they have a sale. Eileen Eichhorn of Eichhorn Jewelry in Decatur, IN, has the answer — generic tags with color dots. “It’s good to use the kind that can easily be attached and removed from an existing tag,” she advises. “Occasionally, instead of tags, we use different color string for distinguishing items. I just think it looks neater.”

Next time you are at the trade show, notice the displays of your vendors, advises Rick Segel, author of The Retail Business Kit for Dummies. “They have to sell to the most difficult audience there is — retailers!” he says. “Notice how they merchandise their products, what emotion they are trying to convey. And then copy that for your store.”



Wilkerson Testimonials

Texas Jeweler Knew He'd Get Only One Shot at a GOB Sale, So He Wanted to Make It Count

Most retailers only have one GOB sale in their lifetimes. This was the case for Gary Zoet, owner of Shannon Fine Jewelry in Houston, Texas. “Wilkerson has done thousands of these sales,” says Zoet. “I’ve never done one, so it’s logical to have somebody with experience do it.” The result exceeded Zoet’s expectations. Wilkerson took care of everything from marketing to paperwork. When it’s time for you to consider the same, shouldn’t you trust the experts in liquidation?

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Tip Sheet

The Best Question to Ask Job Candidates and More Tips for March

Don’t miss “the right-hand close.”




Beware Social Thieves

Going to Basel? Beware of who you tell, what you post, and how you move. “Skilled gangs of robbers monitor social networks, and, based on information that the exhibitors post, the robbers have attacked, robbed and even burglarized hotel rooms that the exhibitors were staying at,” Itay Hendel, CEO of Israel-based ISPS, which specializes in theft prevention for the jewelry industry, says in a statement.

Will Do, Not to Do

When making your daily to-do list, don’t pick 20 things you hope to do and that you think will add up to one day’s work: you’ll overestimate your capacities. Instead, pick the three or four most important things and really commit to doing them, even if you think they’ll take you only a couple of hours, suggests Luciano Passuello at

Sign Language

When you go to a jewelry show, you ask your vendors what’s new, right? Of course you do. Consultant Larry B. Johnson, author of The Complete Guide to Effective Jewelry Display, says the best way to draw customer interest from regular clients is to put a whiteboard on an easel (total cost: $79) just inside your door with all of your new products written on it.

The Right-Hand Close

Owners are uniquely placed to provide a blessing to close a sale, but knowing when to intervene can be tricky. The sales associates at Linnea Jewelers in La Grange, IL, signal such situations by shifting the piece to their right hand (a technique recommended by sales trainer Shane Decker). Owner Denise Oros will then step in to provide the reassurance that’s often needed with a line such as “Great choice! I got that stone, pearl, etc. in Tucson, it is a one-of-a-kind, she will love it! You really have an eye for the finer things.”

Keep Vacations Short

There seems to be a belief that a “proper” vacation requires at least a week off. But as the American psychologist Thomas Gilovich told the Boston Globe recently, “If you have to sacrifice how long your vacation is versus how intense it is, you want shorter and more intense.” That’s because we remember and judge our experiences, whether good or bad, not in their entirety, but according to how they felt at their emotional peak and at the end.

Ask How They Prepared

Anand Sanwal, the CEO and co-founder of fast-growing tech company CB Insights, has an interesting take on the best question to ask a job candidate: “Tell me how you prepared for this interview.” Not only does the reply likely reveal a lot about how the person’s commitment to the position — do they care? — but it will hint at their work ethic and their analytical capabilities, he says.

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Tip Sheet

A Low-Tech Loyalty Program and More Tips for February

From bench training to personal expectations, this advice provides holistic assistance.




TrainingTake Your Bench Live

Live feeds from the bench have been used by jewelers to build showroom ambience and by sales associates to close sales for more than a decade. But there’s a second benefit that’s often overlooked — as a training tool, says Jude Dutille, owner of Dutilles Jewelry Design Studio in Lebanon, NH. Dutille has a camera at his work bench to “provide micro-visuals of what he is demonstrating,” be it stone-setting, fabrication, or hand-engraving to his staff of goldsmiths (all of whom are trained in-house “from scratch”).

Podcast: Michael O’Connor, Jewelry’s Perfect Spokesman, Visits ‘The Barb Wire’
The Barb Wire

Podcast: Michael O’Connor, Jewelry’s Perfect Spokesman, Visits ‘The Barb Wire’

Podcast: A Jeweler Learns the Internet’s Weaknesses, and His Own Strengths
Over the Counter

Podcast: A Jeweler Learns the Internet’s Weaknesses, and His Own Strengths

Podcast: How to Find Good People and Avoid Employee Nightmares

Podcast: How to Find Good People and Avoid Employee Nightmares

ServicePass The Buck

A neat — and cheeky — way of dealing with overly demanding customers from a fellow independent retailer in the vision business: BJ Chambers of Carrera Optical in McQueeney, TX, told INVISION Magazine she keeps business cards of other optical shops on hand and gives them to problem patients and suggests they “go visit.”

ExperienceProtect The Window View

Yes, the job market is tight and you might be short of staff, but hang those flyers on a local bulletin board or near your counter, not on your storefront window as some retailers are doing. “Your front window is your customers’ first impression of your store,” says merchandising expert Tom Crossman. “Don’t make it a messy one.”

PersonalExpect Less

The problem with high expectations is they often result in future disappointment. Meanwhile, low ones tend to make you glum in the present, given there’s not much to look forward to. The answer? Stop expecting, says Jason Fried, who has written several books on work. “I used to set up expectations in my head all day long. But constantly measuring reality against an imagined reality is taxing and tiring, [and] often wrings the joy out of experiencing something for what it is.” Expectations also keep you mentally living in the future and deflated when events don’t measure up — even if what does happen is actually pretty good. In 2019, don’t expect … so much.

IncentivesLow-Tech Loyalty Program

Two-thirds of consumers shop more frequently and spend more at retailers with loyalty programs. But if all the recordkeeping seems like too much of a headache, you could do what Maxwell & Molly’s Closet, a pet-grooming business not far from our office in New Jersey, does: Spend $200 and earn 5 percent off all purchases for life. People appreciate simplicity.

MarketingFind Your CPP

When plotting a mass medium campaign, be sure to speak with the TV or radio channel’s consultants on how to best utilize your budget and determine what the “cost per person” you reach is, advises J. Dennis Petimezas, owner of Watchmakers Diamonds & Jewelry in Johnstown, PA. “What may be the most expensive on a cursory review may be the smartest choice if you do your homework,” he says, adding that any consultation should be at the station’s expense. “They can afford it, so don’t take no for an answer.”

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Tip Sheet

The Negativity Board, Clients in Advertising and More Tips for January

Why don’t you hold your opinions first and ask theirs?





Hold Your Peace

According to Simon Sinek, author of the business best-seller Start With Why, the typical business meeting follows this pattern: the manager outlines the problem, says what he thinks, and then asks staff for their opinions. But by then it’s too late, says Sinek. The direction of the discussion has already been set. The ability to hold your opinions has two benefits, he says: “One, it gives everyone else the feeling that they have been heard. And two, you get the benefit of getting to hear what everybody has to think before you render your opinion.” Yes, you can ask questions, but otherwise just sit back and take it in.


A Path Less Traveled

It’s not just shopping review sites that will drive traffic in your direction; travel websites can help too, especially if you’re in a holiday or gemologically significant destination. “I am so excited,” Stephenie Bjorkman recently posted on her Facebook page after TripAdvisor added her store, Sami Fine Jewelry in Forest Hills, AZ. “This is huge for our Arizona amethyst and American Gem Collection,” she noted.


Getting Better Every Day

If you’re still scratching around for a guiding principle for 2019, consider this one from Gretchin Ruhin, author of the best-seller The Happiness Project: “What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.” That applies not only to the life’s work you build on a daily basis, but also the things you spend your money on. Do you really need that huge SUV if you only ever drive to work and home?


Wipe It Clean

New year, new slate. That’s also the thinking behind the negativity board at Di’Amore Fine Jewelers in Waco, TX. “This board is designed to prevent any negative mindset throughout the day,” explains store president Monali Pandya. When one of life’s curveballs causes a nosebleed, “we encourage staff members to feverishly write any negativity on the board.” Much like an Etch-a-Sketch, once the negative thought has been written, it is “shaken off” with the victorious push of a button.


Locators, Locators, Locators

Reaching new customers is a constant struggle, and marketing is expensive. In response to this, EyeStyles Optical and Boutique, an independent eyewear retailer in Oakdale, MN, targets vendors that drive traffic through store locators. “The more store locators you can be found on, the better your ability to reach your customer,” owner Nikki Griffin told INVISION Magazine.


Go Real

Figuring young, 20-something models didn’t represent their brand and demographic, Onyx II Fine Jewelers in Watertown, CT, opted for real customers in its ad campaigns. “It’s a chance we took, approaching clients with this idea, not sure they would be interested in partaking,” says brand manager James Michael Murphy. But the outcome has been “wildly popular” he says. “They love it and everyone wants their chance to be in a campaign.”

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