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Tip Sheet

Tip Sheet: June 2006

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Eight fresh ideas to better your business

Exclusive invites for an exclusive event; unique store names bring business; more.

[componentheading]PLAYLIST MARKETING[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Invitations Via MP3[/contentheading]

If you’ve got a high-end store and are planning an exclusive event, check out what the 16-year-old son of music executive L.A. Reid did for his birthday party. He sent all of his friends free MP3 players with invitations recorded on them. Could you do the same? While each invitation might cost you a hundred dollars or more, it’s a hip, high-visibility way to make sure your million-dollar event is noted by your biggest-spending customers.

[componentheading]SONG AND CHANCE[/componentheading]

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[contentheading]Sign Messages[/contentheading]

Want a funny, memorable voice-mail message? Hire a local opera singer to sing yours. Have him or her record a bunch of different variations to keep things fresh. It should be funny, while at the same time associating your store with the finer things in life. Don’t over-extend the joke, keep your message short — for many people, a little opera goes a long way.

[componentheading]THE WHOLE THING[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Create Product Tales[/contentheading]

Been to Whole Foods Market? The hot supermarket chain is brilliant at creating stories around the products they sell — e.g. the story of the farmer who grew a product or the history of a particular wine variety. Check them out and see how you could apply their story-telling approach to the different designers, gemstones, or metal-working techniques you offer.

[componentheading]SHADOW PLAY[/componentheading]

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[contentheading]Project Your Ads[/contentheading]

Entrepreneur.com suggests logo projection as an attention-getting (and, even better, potentially inexpensive) advertising method to consider. To do it, find a windowless building at least three stories tall in an area with reasonably heavy foot traffic. Then contact the owner of the building opposite and get permission to install a logo projector in their store. When night comes, it’s time to start the show — for example, you could have a silhouette of a man on bended knee slipping a ring on a woman’s finger along with your store’s name and slogan. Warning: before dropping $1,500 on a projector, check your local zoning laws.

[componentheading]PET OFFENSIVE[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Book A Psychic[/contentheading]

If you’ve followed our advice and started to sell pet jewelry, here’s an idea to get your new category off to a howling good start — invite a pet psychic to your store. (Don’t believe there is such a thing? Google disagrees, showing more than 150,000 results for the term “pet psychic”.) Believe us … your customers will line up for hours to learn what Fluffy’s really thinking. (If you’ve got a store pet of your own, you can even have him “invite” the psychic to the store.)

[componentheading]PICTURE THIS[/componentheading]

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[contentheading]Shoot the Process[/contentheading]

Add a little extra touch of specialness to a custom-design project by taking a picture of the customer with a drawing or rendering of the design before it is manufactured — showing how they were involved in the creative process. Include this photo (or photos, if you go further and take pictures at several stages of the project) when delivering the design.

[componentheading]THROWING OUT NAMES[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Pick One[/contentheading]

Cute name for a business: New York’s hip clothes store Itsasickness. Could you brainstorm a name that similarly expresses that overpowering urge women have to buy jewelry? Ideas: Aintneverenough, Justcant helpit, or Moremoremore.

[componentheading]CHOP SHOP[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Do It Carnival-Style[/contentheading]

Here’s an idea you can borrow from carnivals, fundraisers, and the A&E network series “King of Cars”, which focuses on one of America’s top car dealerships. The owner/impresario, Chop, lets buyers who have just bought a car bang a gong — or, if it will help seal a deal, allows them the option of soaking their salesperson in a carnival dunk tank, located on the premises. If you want to see a business that promotes itself with excitement and energy, check out “King of Cars.”

[span class=note]This story is from the June 2006 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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