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Tip Sheet

Tip Sheet: January 2014

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BY THE INSTORE TEAM
Published in the January 2014 issue

TIPS MARKETING

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 pinterest.com 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 (rfmoeller.com) 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.

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TIPS MANAGEMENT

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.”

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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.”

TIPS GENERAL

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.

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Wilkerson Testimonials

GOB Sales are Emotional — Here’s How to Stay on Track!

When Moyer Jewelers of State College, PA, decided to close its doors, Wilkerson was there to “keep the train moving forward.” With dedicated professionals and incomparable selling skills, the Wilkerson experience was one that third-generation jeweler Lori Moyer would recommend to any of her peers. “They really cared about our success at the end of the event. I recommend them highly.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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CUSTOMER SERVICEEmbrace the Pain

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.”

STORE EXTERIORThe Big Picture

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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