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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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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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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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