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Tip Sheet

Tip Sheet: September 2009



Fresh ideas for your store.

[componentheading]PRESENTATION IS EVERYTHING[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Generate Hate[/contentheading]

Originality is good, but execution is better. Lucian Lee, owner of Hale’s Jewelers in Greenville, SC, says the humble gift certificate saved his holiday season last year. In truth, this was no ordinary gift cert but a mini catalog mailed first-class in a clear cellophane envelope so it stood out in the mailbox. Inside was a $500 gift certificate toward any purchase over $1,000 with an expiration

date of Dec. 24. Hale says the redemption rate was over 10 percent and generated comments such as “I hate you. Why did you send this to my wife.” James Porte, whose company Porte Marketing Group prepared the program, says it underscores a simple marketing truth: Presentation is everything!

[componentheading]WELL FED[/componentheading]


[contentheading]Donate to the Expired[/contentheading]

Here’s another lesson in how the little things can generate huge rewards. Nancy and David Fine Jewels in Millburn, NJ, pays a part-time worker to walk the nearby streets and top up expired parking meters. A note is slipped under the windscreen wiper saying, “Dear Millburn-Short Hills Shopper, Your meter was expired! We fed your meter and saved you from a $25 ticket. Please return and shop in downtown Millburn. Diamond wishes, Nancy And David.” Goodwill aside, the initiative has generated customer spending of more than $72,000, say store-owners Nancy and David Stone.

[componentheading]GIVING GAINS![/componentheading]

[contentheading]Prepare to Receive[/contentheading]

Any way you look at it, 2009 will not go down as a normal year. So why not take some contrarian approaches to life and business? Here are four from based on the idea that giving is the best way to receive.

1. Lacking confidence? Give it away! Find someone you know who is lacking in self-confidence and give him a boost.


2. Short on creative ideas? Give them away. Suggest creative ways to increase their profits.

3. Cash shortage? Give some away. Consider giving money to a friend or family member to help them out. It’ll refocus your thinking.

4. Stuck with a problem? Help others first. Think of someone with a similar problem and think of a way you could help him. When you help others, help will always come back to you, assures.

[componentheading]BIAS CHALLENGED[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Find the Balance[/contentheading]

Being a successful jeweler requires two skills that often aren’t complementary: craftsmanship and salesmanship. Store owners who are heavily task-focused — that is, love to tool away at the bench — don’t tend to be great at relationships. Yet those with too strong a bias for human contact often have a tough time getting things done. Neither inclination makes for a good business, says David Peck, head of business coaching service Leadership Unleashed. “Locate your bias and then challenge yourself to try more of the other — when you do, you will likely discover new ways to lead your small business,” he says.


[componentheading]JEWELRY FAIRY[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Dress Up[/contentheading] When a customer couldn’t be there to deliver the ring he’d bought as a gift for a particular date, Diamonds ’n Dunes in Kitty Hawk, NC saw a chance to step in and help him out in memorable fashion. Co-owner Eileen Alexanian dressed as the “Jewelry Fairy” and delivered a box filled with shipping peanuts, a bottle of store-branded champagne — and down at the bottom — a “gorgeous” tanzanite ring. “The guy has been a hero ever since,” says Eileen, adding that the story has been a great word-of-mouth builder.

[componentheading]EYES ON THE PRIZE[/componentheading]


Got a salesperson who’s in a slump? Get him visualizing his goal with some specific questions, says sales trainer Jeff Goldberg in a column for the New York Enterprise Report. If you know he’s saving up for a new car, remind him that his next sale is going to take him that bit closer to owning it. Follow up with questions about the color he’s thinking of, and how he thinks the car will look in his driveway. “By helping Bob visualize his goal as already having been achieved he was able to get turned on again, even though he had hit some rejections,” Goldberg says.

[componentheading]NET BUSTERS[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Explain the Difference[/contentheading]

The Internet turns 40 next month. So you’d think that by now we’d all be pretty knowledgeable about online shopping. But that’s not the case, says Kate Peterson of Performance Concepts. Most customers have little idea of what a drag it is to buy jewelry online — how many diamonds are not available, that you have to pay before you see a stone, that your credit card is frozen and you can wait weeks for your credit to be freed up, etc. Finding a gentle way to explain this while highlighting your advantages will often ensure success, says Peterson.


[contentheading]Remember the Little Guys[/contentheading]

When negotiating with a vendor or another potential business partner, make it a point to win over “the associates,” writes Harry Beckwith in What Clients Love. “Top Dog doesn’t need reminding she’s top dog, but ignore the subordinates, and they’ll take offense and think of you as a shameless bootlicker.” If you can get the associates on your side they’ll argue in your favor when you leave the room.

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



Gene the Jeweler

Gene the Jeweler Gets Kicked Out of the Studio

In the latest episode (#42) of Gene the Jeweler, Gene is going about his business, recording a new episode. But that doesn’t last long. Four-time NFL Pro Bowl leading rusher Ahman Green walks in, and Gene finds that his time in the studio is over — whether he likes it or not. (See more Gene the Jeweler episodes at

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Tip Sheet

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

Millennial shoppers respond to education, privacy and transparency.




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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Tip Sheet

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.




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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Tip Sheet

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.





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.”


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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