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Tip Sheet: February 2014

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Tips: February 2014

Fresh ideas to better your business.

BY THE INSTORE TEAM
Published in the February 2014 issue

TIPS management

PLAN AHEAD FOR YOUR ONLINE HEREAFTER
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.

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MAKE ’EM FORGET PRICE
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.

THERE IS A PLACE FOR NEGATIVE FEEDBACK
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, heidigranthalvorson.com.

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STRATEGIC FREEBIES
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.

THE DARK ART OF GOOGLE SEARCH
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.

GOING ONLINE
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.”

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ASSUMPTIVE ADD-ONS
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.

PLAYING TAG
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.”

LEARN FROM THE PROS
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.”

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How to Sell More “Spa Treatments” for Jewelry, and More Tips for September

Millennial shoppers respond to education, privacy and transparency.

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TIME MANAGEMENTAim for Busy, Not Rushed

How should you strive to feel when working? Busy, but not rushed. Research undertaken by the University of Maryland found this is when people are happiest. And when you’re happiest — meaning engaged and in the flow as opposed to giddy with joy — you invariably do your best work. So, start creating realistic schedules, stop checking email every 15 minutes, take breaks to exercise, and stop letting other people set your deadlines (yes, you could finish the job by tomorrow, but Friday is best for everyone.)

MARKETINGA Time for Pampering

One of the key challenges at this time of the year is how to get customers in the door. The Gem Collection in Tallahassee, FL, does it with a “Spa Treatment” for rings. The treatment, which is recommended annually, includes inspection of stones by hand, ultrasonic cleaning, steaming of the stones to remove excess dirt, refinishing to remove scratches, polishing the ring, and for white gold jewelry, a rhodium finishing, all for one price. “The spa treatment name was used so that the customer feels as if their jewelry is being pampered instead of worked on,” explains co-owner Don Vodicka. “This has raised our repair sales and keeps our customers very happy.”

MARKETINgShout It in Brass

If you buy your diamonds from Antwerp, it’s always a good idea to let the world know about it. Molinelli’s Jewelers in Pocatello, ID, actually has it in brass letters on their wall.

SALESLaying on a Bridal FeasT

Showcases — who needs them? That’s the diamond-selling approach at Siegel’s Jewelry in Paso Robles, CA, where customers are encouraged to sit with staff at a custom-made, long community table to discuss jewelry. “I designed my store with a lot of seating space in order to show diamonds effectively, and to make my employees and customers more comfortable,” explains owner Ken Siegel.

STRATEGY“How” is the Enemy

Something all true entrepreneurs know: “How” is the enemy. “We always want to know how things will happen,” says Claudia Azula, a popular podcaster and co-author of the Power Of No. “But how is the enemy because it blocks the possibilities that open up when we are willing to not know. When you don’t know about tomorrow, all you can do is focus on doing your best today.” Stop thinking, Just go do it.

SALESKeep Me Safe and Prosperous

Buy an engagement ring at Eichhorn Jewelry in Decatur, IN, and you also get a “Keep Me” — an original document that travels with the piece of jewelry. The paper “encourages customers to spend dollars by emphasizing the legacy aspect of their purchase,” explains owner Eileen Eichhorn.

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Saving the Boring Jobs for the Office, Watching TV with Purpose and More Tips for July

Plus, how to use questions to make yourself a better listener.

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personalDo Down Time With Purpose

Approach this summer with more purpose, recommends Greg McKeown, writing in the Harvard Business Review. “That means if you decide to watch TV, really watch it. If you are having a meal, take the time to enjoy the meal.” Of course it also means making a choice: do you want to spend your summer downtime in front of the tube? We’re going to hazard a guess the answer is no. Go schedule some activities that ensure you fully recuperate this summer.

EVENTSMake It Light-Hearted

Orin Jewelers in Northville, MI, understands that at its heart, shopping for jewelry should be a joyful experience. To support that message, it tries to add a lighthearted touch to city events by doing something fun in the store, say owners Orin and Tina Mazzoni. “Example: when a citywide ban was put on serving wine/drinks to women at the annual Girls’ Night Out, we all dressed as if it were the Prohibition and served root beer and sparkling wine.” How does your fun game compare?

LEARNINGUp Your Reading Game

Want to read more? Try what serial entrepreneur and business author James Altucher does and read about 30 pages of five books each day. Given the average American reads about 250 words a minute, or about a page a minute, that’s two-and-a-half hours. Don’t have that much time? How about 25 pages of three books? That’s little more time than it takes to watch an episode of The Real Housewives Of New Jersey.

PRODUCTIVITYHome Is Where The Creativity Is

Here’s a neat rule to get the most out of your work day (for people in a position to pull it off, meaning business owners): Do creative work at home and boring work, where you may need some compulsion, at the office. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, researchers found that when it came to creative tasks, people were 11 percent to 20 percent more productive outside the lab. For rote and repetitive tasks, however, they were 6 to 10 percent less productive when not in a formal work environment.

SALESIs That So?

In The Patterson Principles Of Selling, Jeffrey Gitomer suggests training yourself to be a better listener by asking a question at the end of your customers’ statements. If you make your own statement, it’s possible you are interrupting. But if you ask a question, you almost have to wait until they’re finished speaking.

SERVICEDon’t Band-Aid A Gunshot Wound

When it comes to repairs, it often pays to look beyond the customer’s specific request, says Bruce Goodheart of Goodheart’s Jewelry in Overland, KS. “Don’t fix one prong when there are 20 other prongs you need to re-tip. You don’t need the headache, and it will show how professional you are. You have a reputation to uphold, and you can’t put a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound.”

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Learning to Love PITA Customers and More Tips for June

When starting out, go bold and quirky (just not weird), and the secret to a perfect break.

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CUSTOMER SERVICEEmbrace the Pain

In his most recent letter to Amazon’s shareholders, CEO Jeff Bezos said one thing he loved about customers is that they are “divinely discontent”. Their expectations only ever “go up,” he said. Eileen Eichhorn, owner of Eichhorn Jewelry in Decatur, IN, said decades working in her family store has taught her something similar about demanding customers: they make excellent references. “Pain-in-the-ass customers send us the best customers.”

STRATEGYBegin With Bold

When trying a new business venture (or even prototyping a new jewelry line), always try the wackier, quirkier stuff first, says Jason Fried, founder and CEO of Basecamp and author of the business bestseller Getting Real. “The deeper you get into a project, the more conservative it tends to get. Stranger ideas are more at home earlier in the process,” he recently wrote on his Twitter feed.

EVENTSBirthday Gifts Welcome

What month was your company born? Throw a birthday party and ask your customers to bring “gifts” of testimonials that you can use in your marketing. Including such third-party recommendations on your website and in your ads is one of the best ways around to convince others that your store is, indeed, the best place to shop, says Entrepreneur magazine’s Idea Site For Business.

HUMAN RESOURCESDivine Your Own Dress

Siegel’s Jewelry in Paso Robles, CA has solved its dress code issues by simply leaving it up to the staff. It’s part of a bigger strategy to emphasize the employees’ individual talents and unique tastes. “We think it is better for them to be different from one another and create a balanced set of skills and talents, than to all offer the same things,” says owner Ken Siegel. “Employees are happiest when they can be themselves and are encouraged to develop their own self in a safe and happy environment.”

STORE EXTERIORThe Big Picture

First thing to do before slapping a mural on the side of your building? See if the government will pick up part of the bill. Joe Declet of Fins and Skins in Pinellas Park, FL, got tired of telling new customers to look for the “ugly orange building,” so when his lease came up for renewal, he negotiated the right to add the mural. Working with a local artist, he now has a 30- by 50-foot mural depicting a coral reef — and the city offset his expense with a $1,500 grant as part of a beautification program.

MANAGEMENTBreaking Breaks

The most important thing to understand about breaks is that they are not a deviation from performance; they are part of performance, says Dan Pink in his latest business best seller, When: The Scientific Secrets Of Perfect Timing. “And the most restorative breaks are social rather than solo, outside not inside, moving instead of stationary, and fully detached rather than semi-detached.”

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