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Tip Sheet

Tip Sheet: June 2013

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GENERALShine a Light

Ever dropped a diamond in the workshop and then gone through the maddening frustration of not being able to find it? Slam no more phonebooks, because Jerome Hutchison, owner of Golden Buffalo Fine Jewelry in Riverton, WY, has a nifty tip to help. “We turn out all the lights and shine a flashlight across the floor. We’ve found every one we’ve dropped that way. Keep your eye open for twinkles,” he told his local paper, The Ranger, which recently ran an account of his jewelry salvaging efforts.

Power of One

Changing employee behaviors is one of the toughest things to do as a business owner or manager. People generally like the status quo. The secret is to start small, one step at a time, says Morten T. Hansen, writing on the Harvard Business Review blog. “People need clear direction. If you bombard them with eight values or 12 competencies you want them to practice,” you will be met with inertia, he says. A better approach is to focus on changing one behavior at a time.

The Color Purple

If you saw footage of the Christie’s New York “magnificent jewelry sale” in April you may have noticed that many of the pieces were displayed on pale purple neck forms or bathed in mauve light. There is nothing new about purple’s associations with royalty and wealth (it has to do with how difficult it was to originally produce the dye needed to create purple garments). And display artists today still believe that it is the color most likely to persuade customers to open their wallets. It certainly seemed to work at the Christie’s auction: it garnered over $81 million with almost half that spent on one gemstone, the Princie Diamond. (Check out this month’s Cool Store to see another take on purple.)

SALESListen Here!

With the rise of the Internet, the role of salespeople has changed from product expert to sales facilitator. But the idea of what makes a good associate seems to be stuck in the past; business owners still invariably hire gregarious, back-slapping extroverts, Daniel Pink, author of To Sell is Human, recently told NPR. “We have this idea that extroverts are better salespeople. But if you look at the correlation between extroversion and actual sales performance — that is, how many times the cash register actually rings — the correlation’s almost zero,” he says. “Why? … They’re just spending too much time talking. … They don’t know when to shut up. They don’t listen very well; they’re not attuned to the other person; they sometimes can overwhelm people.” Listening is the first skill in selling.

Don’t Sweat

The Price Cutters That job you lose to the jeweler who undercuts you down the road? Sometimes the loss can pay off for you in the long run, says Sam Parker on JustSell.com. “When the lowest priced product or service doesn’t meet the expectations of a customer, a deeper appreciation of the price/value relationship is developed.” Bottom line: Know the value you provide.

The Fuzzy-Wuzzies

According to new research done by the University of Utah, people will typically spend 10 percent more as soon as “fuzziness” is introduced into the equation. It’s part of the reason people lose financial discipline when using plastic and when they have multiple spending and checking accounts. When the total isn’t a precise figure, it’s easier for your brain to justify spending more. It also underscores why it’s so important to have a specific open-tobuy when you go to trade shows.

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MARKETINGPin Your Documents Too

Yes, Pinterest is image based, but that doesn’t mean there’s no play for the written word. Indeed, it’s a great place to pin your newsletters, says Tamsin Fox-Davies, senior development manager at Constant Contact. Writing on the email marketing company’s blog, she explains how to do it: First, pick out a key image from your latest newsletter and pin it to one of your Pinterest boards. Then, and this is crucial, link it back to your archived newsletters. “It will give you extra exposure and some nice SEO benefits, too,” Fox-Davies says.

Blue Ribbon Strategy

Tiffany & Co. broke tradition this year by providing sneak previews of items featured in its 2013 Blue Book to its Facebook community. Social media analysts lauded the strategy as a neat way to provide unique content to fans over an extended period of time, build buzz and reach new potential customers.

First Responses

If you’re using social media for marketing, what should you say following a tragedy like the Boston Marathon bombings or the devastating storms that lashed the Northeast last year? Sometimes, nothing at all, says Marsha Friedman, CEO of EMSI Public Relations. “Gaffes can occur with the most innocent of intentions in any media content, marketing or not,” she says. If you want to post something but are unsure what to say, take a look at what other businesses are sharing, and how online users are reacting. “You may decide to just say nothing for a day or two, depending on the nature of the event,” she says. One thing to note: If you use automated posts scheduled through a site such as HootSuite, turn them off immediately. “If people don’t find them insensitive or silly, they’ll likely conclude your messages come from a robot — not a real person — which is just as bad,” Friedman says.

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at [email protected].

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