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Tip Sheet

Tip Sheet: November 2006

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Six fresh ideas to better your business

Remember the power of shame; looking for eye-catching advertising; more.

[componentheading]RAIN CHECK[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Bet On The Sun[/contentheading]

Alan Perry, a jeweler in Wilmington, NC, offers a money-back guarantee on diamond rings if it rains at least one inch on the couple’s wedding day and the rings are purchased a minimum of 100 days before the wedding. This promotion has a potentially risky lottery aspect to it, but it’s hard to argue with the results — Perry told Glamour magazine his sales had quadrupled since he started the program.

[componentheading]IMAGES THAT STICK[/componentheading]

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[contentheading]Paste It On[/contentheading]

If you’d been in Toronto in September and came across this woman lying unconscious at the bottom of the staircase (pictured, right), you’d have rushed down to help, right? If you had, you’d have found yourself staring down at a life-sized decal and a message reading: “Know what to do. www.redcross.ca/.” Could you use a similar approach to get attention for your business — perhaps a briefcase full of sparkling diamonds spilled onto the floor? Or perhaps a romantic image of a couple embracing after he’s given her a ring?

[componentheading]HOLIDAY HIRE[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Recruit At Home[/contentheading]

Finding talent in a small town is difficult — after all, most of the “best and brightest” prospects have moved elsewhere to work. Marketeer David Wolfe suggests this strategy to try to win some of them back — advertise your openings during “homecoming” holidays like Easter, Memorial Day, Labor Day and Thanksgiving.

[componentheading]MORNING LESSONS[/componentheading]

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[contentheading]Listen and Test[/contentheading]

Does your team listen to sales tapes each morning during set- up? Smart move, says trainer Dave Richardson. Now, make sure your staff is truly getting the lessons on the tapes. Ten minutes before opening, bring everyone together and ask two questions:

1. What was the best idea you got from listening to the tape?
2. How will you use it today and this week?

By doing this, says Richardson: “Not only will they learn (or relearn) something of value, but they will have a plan to put it to work immediately.”

[componentheading]BRIGHTER OUTLOOK[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Get Previewed[/contentheading]

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Studies show more than 70% of Outlook users check email through their preview pane alone. Which means there’s a good chance that those big, gorgeous HTML emails you’re designing are not getting seen in anything resembling their full glory. Trying to get better click-through rates, Heidi Hess, program manager for the Sierra Club, tinkered with the group’s newsletter for optimal viewing in Outlook’s preview mode rather than full screen. The result was a less attractive newsletter — but the pay-off was a double-digit increase in the click rate. You’ll find Hess’s story amongst the case studies on marketingsherpa.com.

[componentheading]CLEANING UP[/componentheading]

[contentheading]The Power of Shame[/contentheading]

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center had tried everything to get its doctors to wash their hands more — distributing hand wash in the parking lot, passing out Starbucks gift cards, even forming a “Hand Hygiene Posse”. The one thing that finally got their doctors washing their hands? Shame. Doctors were asked to press their hands into Petri dishes and digital photos were taken of the cultures. The resulting images, chief of staff Dr Paul Silka told the New York Times, were “disgusting … with gobs of colonies of bacteria.” These images were made into screen savers and downloaded onto every computer in the doctor’s department. The intransigent doctors mended their ways immediately. Got a staff behavior you can’t change? Think of ways to make your case irrefutable — video tape the associate as they role play, chart arrival times, build a doppelganger fashion gallery of shame in the backroom. But remember to always do it with a dose of humor.

[span class=note]This story is from the November 2006 edition of INSTORE[/span]

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With a remodeling project looming, the time was right for Steve and Linda Hammalian, owners of Little Treasure Jewelers in Gambrills, MD, to call in the Wilkerson pros. The couple needed to liquidate excess, aging inventory. Steve says he’d totally recommend them. “Wilkerson offered a comprehensive solution in terms of advertising, in terms of on-site presence and for their overall enthusiasm. They’re also really nice people.”

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Tip Sheet

Make Sure You’re Part of Your Charitable Giving, And More Tips for May

You’ll get to meet more people and feel better about your involvement.

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CUSTOMER SERVICEIn the Kid’s Corner

Adults needn’t be the only ones who view jewelry stores as houses of goodies. In addition to its well-appointed kids’ corner, Renaissance Fine Jewelry in Brattleboro, VT, provides customers’ children with gift-wrapped presents to make them feel special, too. “They will remember the stuffed animal or the funky handbag they got at Renaissance Fine Jewelry,” says owner Caitlyn Wilkinson.

PERSONAL Go Gray

Worried your relationship with your phone is less than healthy? Switch your display from color to grayscale, recommends Catherine Price in her book How To Break Up With Your Phone. (This is apparently so threatening to phone makers’ addiction business model, it’s hidden five levels deep on the iPhone: go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations > Color Filters.) Instantly, your phone is vastly duller. Try it for a day.

CHARITY Sell On Site

When you’re asked to donate to local charities, make sure to choose only events that allow you to personally participate, says Dianna Rae High of Dianna Rae Jewelry in Lafayette, LA. This way, you’re building relationships, rather than just donating an item to sit on a silent auction table. For example, when the local ballet asked High to sponsor their annual event, she paid the sponsorship fee and asked if she could set up a small table of jewelry for sale with a percentage of sales going to the ballet. “The women loved it, we sold a lot of jewelry, I met new people, and the ballet received more than if I had just paid the sponsorship,” High says.

STRATEGY Good Citizens

If you refer to potential customers as “prospects” or “targets,” Seth Godin urges you to stop and instead call them “citizens.” His argument is based on the view that the conventional marketing terms don’t reflect the way power has shifted in the marketplace. “Citizens are no longer the weak, isolated pre-consumers in front of a TV set in 1971, with few options. Now, they appear to be holding all the cards. It sounds a bit pretentious, but then, so do most terms marketers use.” You can’t help but become a little more humble and respectful, Godin says, when you use this term.

TIME MANAGEMENTLeave the Mess for Now

If you typically feel the urge to straighten your desk before you can start on meaningful work, The Guardian’s Oliver Burkeman suggests a simple rule: reschedule. “If your job permits it, schedule a daily deck-clearing hour — but at 4.30 p.m., not 9 a.m.,” he says. “It’s time to abandon the secret pride we procrastinators feel in having completed 25 small tasks by 10 a.m.; if they’re not the right tasks, that’s not really something to be proud of.” Instead, Burkeman recommends the timeworn advice to work on your most important project for the first hour of each workday.

MANAGEMENTMore Donuts

Want to add some fun to your store? Take a tip from Sherrie’s Jewelry Box in Tigard, OR, where “you’re never late to work if you bring donuts,” owner Sherrie Devaney says.

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Tip Sheet

How to Become an Idea Machine, and More Tips for April

One tip involves a jeweler who allowed a client to pour his own gold.

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Strategy Be an Idea Machine

Write down 10 ideas a day. “Do it for six straight months and see what happens. It actually turns into a super power,” says serial entrepreneur and author James Altucher. To collect his ideas, Altucher buys 1,000 waiter’s pads at a time from restaurant supplies websites (10 cents a pad). “They’re great for meetings because I have to keep concise lists, and they’re always good conversation starters.”

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Management We Are Family

Leitzels’ Jewelry in Myerstown and Hershey, PA, has a cool rule to reinforce the store’s culture: Every day, each team at both its stores must include a Leitzel family member. “We take pride in every aspect of the business and build relationships. It is easy to overlook how cool it is to be a family-owned and operated business,” says third-generation co-owner Allison Leitzel-Williams.

Customer service Pour It On

The trend of customers wanting to be intimately involved in the creation of a piece of jewelry can be considered either an annoyance or an opportunity. Collins Jewelers in Dallas, GA, opts for the latter view, starting with taking the customer out to lunch to go over their renderings and then involving them in every step of production. “One customer wanted to pour his own gold, so we made that possible and he was ecstatic,” says owner Marty Collins.

Productivity Take an Unwanted Break

According to a recent Columbia University study, the key to getting the most out of work breaks is to stop even when you don’t feel like it. “Participants who didn’t step away from a task at regular intervals were more likely to write ‘new’ ideas that were very similar to the last one they had written,” the authors explained in Harvard Business Review. So, “if you’re hesitant to break away because you feel that you’re on a roll, be mindful that it might be a false impression.” It’s notable, too, that the “break” in each case merely involved switching tasks. A change, it seems, really is as good as a rest.

Community Show Your Spirit

Communion season, which often takes place after Easter to around Mother’s Day, can be a nice opportunity for a jewelry retailer that is involved deeply in its community. Orin Jewelers in Northville, MI, is one such business, sponsoring a host of activities in support of groups from USA Hockey to the local hospital. They also sponsor, as well as make custom jewelry for, the Catholic high schools in their area.

Management Bad News First

When you’re delivering good and bad news to employees, always give the bad news first, says Daniel Pink, bestselling author of When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing. Pink acknowledges this often feels counterintuitive, as many bosses hope that by starting out positively, they will cushion the bad stuff. “The reason has to do with endings. Given the choice, human beings prefer endings that elevate, that have a rising sequence rather than a declining sequence,” he says.

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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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SecurityBeware 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.

ManagementWill 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.

ShowroomSign 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.

SalesThe 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.”

PersonalKeep 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.

HiringAsk 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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