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Tom Duma: Check Out Your Area Competition

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Use specific criteria to judge other stores.

Ever wonder how other jewelers handle a price objection or a turnover — or how the staff greets customers when they walk in the door? Satisfy that curiosity by shopping the competition.

Twice a year, I carve out time to visit other jewelers in different markets. Once I walk in the door I see how I’m greeted. Does the staff make me feel welcomed? Do they offer me a beverage? Do they say those four dreaded words: “Can I help you?” Do they ask my name and introduce themselves to me? Do they listen when they ask me a question as to what I want? How do they handle the objections when presented? Do they ask for the sale?

Every visit, I have a list of six Ps that I grade each store on:

1 People. You can tell how well the staff is trained within the first three minutes. One store visit I walked up to the counter where two employees were looking at a computer. It was obvious that one was training the other and was right in the middle of something important … to them! I clicked my start button on my chronograph and stopped it 2 minutes and 15 seconds later before they greeted me!

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2 Product. Does the store’s merchandise tell a compelling story? Are the products displayed nicely, tags in the back, watches straight and crowns to the right? Displays clean?

3 Promotion. Does their marketing message carry through to the store? Is it consistent? Does it tell me who they are and what’s their position in the market?

4 Place. Does the parking lot have garbage all over it? Does the front of the store need to be washed or painted? Are there dead bugs in the front windows? When you walk in, how many light bulbs need replacement? How many stains are there on the carpet? We get so comfortable in our surroundings that we forget what the customer’s impression is of our stores!

5 Price. Do they offer me a discount before I even show interest in the product? Are they trying to close with price verses feature and benefits?

6 Process. This happens on the management level, but it manifests itself on the staff level. I can’t see how well they have developed matrixes in managing their business, but what I do see in the other five Ps gives me a good idea of how well this store is paying attention to its business. Do yourself a favor, get out there and start shopping some jewelry stores!

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