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Tip Sheet

Tip Sheet: April 2007

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Seven fresh ideas to better your business

Making a new hire? Put the spotlight on them and more.

[componentheading]PRICE CHECK INVASAION[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Block Those Phones[/contentheading]

If the widespread lack of basic manners didn’t give you enough reason to limit the use of cellphones in your store, here’s another: the emergence of SMS price-checking services such as www.tictap.com and www.mobsaver.com. By texting an item’s UPC data or a brand name to the service, a shopper can within seconds get an SMS list showing how much the piece is going for on Amazon and eBay. Your first course of action should be to remove UPC data from your price tags. You may also want to display a sign saying phone use is restricted for “security reasons.”

[componentheading]CHARITY WORK[/componentheading]

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[contentheading]Value Your Time[/contentheading]

Suzanne Cannon of Steffan’s Jewelers regularly gets customers coming in asking for help to sort out a deceased relative’s jewelry. This year the McHenry, IL, store started charging for the service — $1 for every piece. Steffan’s doesn’t keep the money: It goes to the Jewelers Charity Fund. Steffan’s has raised several hundred dollars since January. “This way I don’t feel so frustrated spending my valuable time and the money is going to a great cause,” she says.

[componentheading]WORD FROM ABOVE[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Get On The Map[/contentheading]

Google Maps regularly updates its “satellite views” of urban areas in North America although it rarely publicizes the schedule for its flyovers (the images don’t actually come from satellites — they’re a patchwork of mainly aerial photographs). In this age of mass access to intelligence data your rooftop is a billboard. What’s your roof say about your business? How about: “Cheap diamonds here!” in 6-foot plastic lettering. (We’re kidding.)

[componentheading]BAG IT, TAG IT[/componentheading]

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[contentheading]Store Your Trash[/contentheading]

Claire Baiz, owner of Big Sky Gold in Great Falls, MT, says one of her greatest fears is misplacing a jewelry item. Her answer: delayed trash disposal. “We keep pretty good tabs on things, but we also save our trash for three weeks before tossing.” The one exception is lunch trash. That goes out — after being checked — on a daily basis.

[componentheading]NETWORK VISION[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Press The Flesh[/contentheading]

Many jewelers would rather have a tooth pulled than go to a networking event, but their reluctance to gab and shake hands is probably costing them new business, says sales trainer Christopher Mee. “There are groups in my town that only allow one person per business type that have over 50 members and no jeweler. Find a large group of this type and join fast,” he recommends.

[componentheading]WORTH ITS WEIGHT IN PR[/componentheading]

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[contentheading]Be Honest[/contentheading]

On Feb. 12 a weighty bag lobbed in Norm Albert’s hand. A label identified the sender as an Illinois refinery. Albert, who owns Albert Jewelry and Awards in Fort Kent, ME, and deals in gold scrap, had a fairly good idea what would be inside — gold shot. Two kilograms of it, worth about $40,000, to be exact. Instead of quickly melting the gold into unidentifiable scrap, he rang the refinery and urged them to collect it. It turned out the gold was intended for a similarly named store in Louisiana. Honest Albert’s reward was a $100 check of appreciation and a story in the local newspaper, which quoted a refinery executive as saying: “Anybody that’s looking for an honest jeweler up there shouldn’t look any further than Mr Albert.” Says Albert: “Best P.R. I ever got from the newspapers.”

[componentheading]QUESTION TIME[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Listen, Watch, Hire[/contentheading]

When interviewing a job candidate put all your initial questions on the table up front. This accomplishes two things, says Pierre Mornell, author of Hiring Smart! First, you put the spotlight on the candidate. He or she must step up and respond. It shouldn’t be you who is trying to sell yourself or the organization. Second, it tackles the most common problem in interviewing: the employer talking too much. With this technique you are forced to listen and watch the candidate’s behavior.

[span class=note]This story is from the April 2007 edition of INSTORE[/span]

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