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Tip Sheet

Tip Sheet: February 2009

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Fresh tips to better your store.

There’s nothing wrong with cookies; be clear about your expectations; more.

[componentheading]SUCCESS RECIPE[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Stimulate With Aroma[/contentheading]

If you’ve read INSTORE over the years, you may have noticed a seemingly disproportionate number of successful retailers telling how they offer fresh-made cookies to customers. Now there’s evidence from scientists that this is much more than a simple act of hospitality. A recent study published in the Journal Of Consumer Research found that women were more likely to make impulsive decisions when exposed to “appetitive stimulants” such as the smell of chocolate-chip cookies. What’s it mean for you? Start baking if you want to make your customers feel hungry for the pleasure of a purchase.

[componentheading]MILLENIAL WONDERS[/componentheading]

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[contentheading]Get To Know Them[/contentheading]

Chances are you’ve got a few millennials, 18- to 28-year-olds, on your staff. And you may have been wondering why they seem to feel they are entitled to the moon — as well as a flexible schedule, high salary and plenty of vacation time. Ron Alsop of the Wall Street Journal, in his book “The Trophy Kids Grow Up,” argues they were raised to expect constant positive feedback and rewards for everything they participated in. Employers must be clear about what they expect, but they also may want to bend a bit to accommodate top talent. “Employers need to show new hires how their work makes a difference and why it’s of value to the company. Smart managers will listen to their young employees’ opinions, and give them some say in decisions. Employers also can detail the career opportunities available to millennials if they’ll just stick around for awhile.”

[componentheading]ROLL THE DICE[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Play Business Games[/contentheading]

The family that plays together sticks together. And the old saw may hold particularly true when it comes to board games and multigenerational jewelry stores. GenSpring Family Offices has developed a board game called Shirtsleeves to Shirtsleeves that is designed to be “an enjoyable, nonthreatening conversation starter” for parents who are skittish about initiating a frank family discussion of the challenges of intergenerational wealth transition. The object of the game, like life, is to not run out of money by the time the business is run by the third-generation of family members.

[componentheading]PURPOSE-DRIVEN ERROR[/componentheading]

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[contentheading]Turn an Ad On Its Head[/contentheading]

Casey Gallant liked our October tip that you proof your print ads upside down so much, she suggested taking it one step further: “Run the ad upside-down. It’s a virtual guarantee that your ad will get noticed. Just be prepared to field all the calls asking if you did it on purpose,” says the owner of Stephen Gallant Jewelers in Orleans, MA. We’d also suggest a thematic tag line, “Turn her world upside down!”

[componentheading]PAPER, SCISSORS, STOCK[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Buy In Bulk[/contentheading]

This year, do your office-supplies shopping all in one place. The big office superstores all offer online order management, free delivery for orders over $50, and loyalty rewards programs. In addition, Officemaxcommercial.com and Staplescontract.com are free programs that work like managed-travel programs, helping customers track and reduce total office-supply spending through more efficient ordering and discounts for volume buying. Office Depot offers similar services through its bsdofficedepot.com.

[componentheading]TARGET PRACTICE[/componentheading]

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[contentheading]Set Goals[/contentheading]

It doesn’t sound like much of a tip but it’s vital you set goals in an extremely specific manner with salespeople, say Ivan R. Misner and Don Morgan, the authors of Masters Of Sales. “Top salespeople are intensely goal oriented.” The more specific the goals, the better the best salespeople tend to do, they argue.

[componentheading]BLAH, BLAH, BLOG[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Set Up a Store Diary[/contentheading]

If you read business magazines you’ve no doubt come across stories touting blogs as a way to communicate with your customers or to help drive Internet traffic to your store. Author Seth Godin believes their greatest benefit may simply be as a tool of record, maybe even with a password. “Use it as an internal diary, a way of tracking each day so that a month or a year from now, you can look back at where you were and how you dealt with the issue of the day,” he writes on his own blog. “Even if no one else on your team reads your blog, the act of creating it will be worthwhile. Perspective is worth a lot more than it costs,” Godin says.

[span class=note]This story is from the February 2009 edition of INSTORE[/span]

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VIDEO HIGHLIGHT

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.”

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Security
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.

Management
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 litemind.com.

Showroom
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.

Sales
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.”

Personal
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.

Hiring
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.

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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
JimmyCast

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?

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management

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.

marketing

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.
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personal

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?

management

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.

marketing

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.

advertising

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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