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Tip Sheet

Tip Sheet: January 2014



Published in the January 2014 issue


Guest Services
Hotels are a great source of potential customers. Whether guests are honeymooners, corporate warriors thinking of their wives back home or couples on vacation, they are often looking to buy jewelry. James Porte of the Porte Marketing Group says a smart way to tap this market is by offering free cleaning service. So, get in touch with your local high-end hotel’s management — it’s a win-win for both of you. And if you need help with the presentation, the Porte Marketing Group produces a 4-inch x 6-inch booklet that can hold a photo of your extraordinary jewelry and a free cleaning certificate to be placed beside or on a nearby table.

Don’t Forget
the Ring Bearer

When selling the wedding bands, don’t forget the ring bearer. The little guy or girl is usually the third-most noticed person at the wedding — and among the most photographed. Check out or just do a Google search for images of ring bearer and you’ll notice a trend of the young carrying signs heralding the arrival of the bride or wearing T-shirts that announce their “Ring Security.” While the little ones are unlikely to wear the shirt during the ceremony itself, you can be sure it’s going to come out at the rehearsal dinner, maybe even reception. Who could forget the jewelry store that gives away such a witty T (with your logo on it, of course!)?

All-out on the Web
Click on R.F. Moeller Jeweler’s website ( and you are greeted by a large image of a gorgeous young couple looking lovingly into each other’s eyes and the claim: “R.F. Moeller Jeweler is proud to have the best selection of quality diamonds, and the most sought-after engagement ring and wedding ring designs in the Minneapolis area.” Owner Mark Moeller, who spent more than $100,000 on his website’s last redo, says the focus is deliberate. “Diamonds account for 60 percent of our sales and we know that 100 percent of customers shopping for diamonds search online before they come in,” he told the Centurion’s Newsletter for Prestige Jewelers. “If you want to drive people to your store, you’ve got to have a Web-based marketing program over and above what your competition is doing,” he said.



When Good Practices Turn Bad

Even the best management practices can lead to problems if left in place too long, say Yves Doz and Mikko Kosonen, authors of Fast Strategy.

Some examples:

Forging a clear vision — can result in tunnel vision.
Honing business processes — can create inflexible systems that can’t adapt to new challenges
Building deep customer ties — can inhibit experiments.
Choosing proven leaders for projects — can breed overconfidence and resistance to new ideas.
Teambuilding — can lead to silos and a lack of cooperation.

The answer? Shake it up. Assign employees to work in areas outside their key competence, set mock constraints such as a small budget ahead of a strategy meeting, or set fuzzy goals. The common theme here is to keep an open mind and keep doing small experiments.

Help Someone Vent

Got a staff member ranting? Don’t just sit there silently or jump in and offer advice. The best approach, says psychiatrist Mark Goulston, is to ask questions, and specifically what it is that is frustrating the person. “If you ask about her feelings, it often sounds condescending. Asking about frustration is less judgmental,” he wrote in a Harvard Business Review blog. “Listen and gather details about the problem. Once she’s vented, she’ll be in a better place to think about potential solutions. When people are upset, it matters less what you tell them than what you enable them to tell you.”


Buy a Big Desk
Didn’t get the Christmas present you wanted? Go buy yourself an L-shaped desk, advises Men’s Health magazine in a collection of productivity tips. “Designate one side for right-now work, the other for later-on work. The L shape prevents you from being distracted by other projects in front of you and saves time in sorting things out.”


Dog-friendly Owner on Premises
Allowing owners to bring their pets into your store is not only a good way to show you’re a welcoming, friendly store — it’s also a good security tip. “Pets have a sense when something is wrong and even the most docile dog will be protective,” says Patricia Low, CEO of Jewelers unBLOCKed.

Energize Ritually
It’s a new year. Just how do you make resolutions stick? The answer is “energy rituals,” says Tony Schwartz, author of The Power of Full Engagement. Energy rituals are highly specific behaviors or regimes that you do at the same time every day (or on the days you select). “By setting a sacrosanct time for your routine, you don’t have to spend energy thinking about when to get it done. Willpower is a highly finite and limited resource in each of us, so the goal is to use less of it wherever possible, by making more behaviors in our lives automatic,” Schwartz writes on his Energy Project blog. “If you find yourself falling off the wagon, or struggling to stay on it, reduce the challenge, but stay the course.”

Don’t Use Tweezers

Last holiday season,
If you’ve never been to Tucson, a tip from the old hands: Leave behind your tweezers. Colored-stone dealers generally don’t use them at a show. The reason is that unlike diamond dealers who fret about prospective customers leaving oily fingerprints over their goods, colored-stone dealers worry more about less-experienced buyers holding a stone too tightly and either chipping its girdle or sending it flying on to the crowded showfloor. Fingers are fine.



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.”




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.

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

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.

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.”

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.

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.




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

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?





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.


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.


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?


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.


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.


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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