Connect with us

Columns

Here’s How We Make This the Best Time of Year at My Store

Warm conversation and delicious food and drink make the season jolly for customers and staff alike.

mm

Published

on

This story was originally published on INSTOREMAG.COM in November 2016.

SITTING AROUND A TABLE with extended family, laughing, telling stories and celebrating is something I cherish during the holidays. I enjoy the entire process, from planning the menu, shopping for ingredients and cooking with my kids, to greeting family as they arrive and making sure everyone feels right at home. Even cleaning up the quiet house after guests have left gives me the time to reflect on just how lucky I am.

This time of year, my team and I take this recipe for a joyful celebration and apply it to our store, making it the most fun and rewarding time of the year.

Video: Why Your Digital Marketing Doesn’t Work Like the Experts Say It Should
Jim Ackerman

Video: Why Your Digital Marketing Doesn’t Work Like the Experts Say It Should

Video: Don’t Miss the Biggest Opportunity to Improve Profits in Your Jewelry Store
Jimmy Degroot

Video: Don’t Miss the Biggest Opportunity to Improve Profits in Your Jewelry Store

Video: Gene the Jeweler Hired His Nephew … And at Least Insurance Covered the Damage
Gene the Jeweler

Video: Gene the Jeweler Hired His Nephew … And at Least Insurance Covered the Damage

Over the course of the last several months, we have carefully selected our menu of beautiful jewelry. We’ve worked with our vendors to select the highest quality ingredients, ensuring the sweetest holidays for our customers.

Our hostess welcomes our customers new and old, just like family. Coats are taken, warming beverages are offered (sometimes coffee, sometimes whiskey), often hugs and stories of their recent adventures are shared. They are our BBK extended family. We’ve been with them through ups and downs, new relationships, babies, new jobs and new homes. They’ve been with us too, through business booms and through slimmer years, and for this we do everything we can to make them feel appreciated.

Just as in a crowded kitchen, our team dances around each other while presenting gift ideas and wrapping the perfect packages. There is always laughter as customers and associates mingle. Often, customers share with us how important BBK is to their holiday celebrations. We have customers tell us, “It’s just not Christmas without a Becky bag under the tree!” I even once had a gentleman thank me for bringing his wife’s memory back: “She did things last night she hasn’t done in years!” After all the work we put in to build relationships and connect with our customers throughout the year, these stories make us glow!

Advertisement

This is all an analogy, but of course there are very real meals involved at BBK. My team works hard, and we play hard too. I’ve learned that nothing bonds them like food and the occasional drink. Nearly every day in December, our break room becomes a huge family dinner. During this month, there isn’t much time for everyone to cook at home, so I look forward to making special lunches for the team. It’s a small way I can give back to them for all the hard work and energy they give me and my customers throughout the year. Taking the time to celebrate a little every day, especially during the most hectic days, keeps everyone motivated and excited.

Dec. 24 (closing time), the team gathers together on the sales floor and makes a toast to a very successful season and year. Lemon drop shots, of course! Our team favorite.

And just as when family has all left after any big holiday celebration at home, while locking up the store I take just a minute to peek back in the door after everyone has gone and realize just how lucky I am.

Becky Beauchine Kulka is the owner of Becky Beauchine Kulka Fine Jewelry in Okemos, MI, voted one of America’s Coolest Stores in 2005.

Advertisement

VIDEO HIGHLIGHT

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?

Promoted Headlines

Want more INSTORE? Subscribe to our newsletter.

Comment

Commentary: The Business

Raw Gems Hold the Key To Unlocking the Imagination

Learn to sell jewelry as the powerful talisman it always has been.

mm

Published

on

WHY DO WE, HUMANS, have such a thing as jewelry?

I don’t think it was intended to mark status originally, back when we were walking around naked and hunting bears and living in caves. I think, on the contrary, it was because of the unforgettable experience of suddenly coming face to face with something amazing, a small thing that shimmered, so unlike anything else in your life, so special, that from that moment on, you knew your life was changed forever.

Video: Why Your Digital Marketing Doesn’t Work Like the Experts Say It Should
Jim Ackerman

Video: Why Your Digital Marketing Doesn’t Work Like the Experts Say It Should

Video: Don’t Miss the Biggest Opportunity to Improve Profits in Your Jewelry Store
Jimmy Degroot

Video: Don’t Miss the Biggest Opportunity to Improve Profits in Your Jewelry Store

Video: Gene the Jeweler Hired His Nephew … And at Least Insurance Covered the Damage
Gene the Jeweler

Video: Gene the Jeweler Hired His Nephew … And at Least Insurance Covered the Damage

You held onto that gem, or pearl, or gold crystal, and knew you had to hold onto it, no matter what. But how? You had no pockets, you wore leaves, or maybe nothing! So you had to figure out some way of drilling it, or wrapping it, and, inevitably, hung it about your neck. In every culture, the first jewelry is always a pendant, one thing protected. When you have something around your neck, you are going to fondle it, and soon you become very attached to it; maybe it will protect you and become your secret power. And that, which I call Transcendence, is why we have such a thing as jewelry!

So when your customer moans, “My daughter does not even like jewelry!” smile and resolve to bring back the magic. In a corner of my gallery, there is a partially enclosed space called the Gem Room with drawers of tourmalines, amethysts and colored sapphires and such, and I enjoy inviting people in to discuss custom work.

But when I see a young adult coming in, quick, before they whip out their electronics, I challenge them: “You look like someone who would like raw gems! Let me show you something unusual!” and I whisk them away to the Gem Room (while the parent goes about their business). I place in their hand a large raw lapis, full of pyrite stars, a piece of opal rough with a shimmering stripe in one corner, or a huge slice of watermelon tourmaline. A transformation! They are now alive.

Then you say “Wouldn’t this be right for Game Of Thrones (or a warrior in Wakanda)?” Then tell them where it came from, how hard it is to find and ask them, yes, to imagine themselves as a prehistoric human walking out of a cave, suddenly finding something amazing like this: wouldn’t they want to somehow keep it? But they have no pockets, they’d have to find a way to drill it, wrap it, maybe, and that is how jewelry comes into being. Then you walk away and let them play for a while.

You know that now they get it.

Continue Reading

Columns

How to Handle Negative Online Reviews

Taking a day or two to cool off is the first step.

Published

on

THERE’S A LOT TO be said for taking the initiative to run a business; do the best job you can do, keep employees happy, keep clients happy, perform good work, be honest, all while trying to turn a profit. Inevitably, no matter how kind, humble, honest, and hard-working you are, someone is going to spoil the soup. Everyone has an opinion, everyone is an expert, and now the clients who don’t get their way or aren’t completely satisfied have a plethora of ways to tell the world and troll your business.

It stinks. For all the expletives I have muttered to myself when a less-than-shining online review happens, I will keep it relatively “clean” for this article by saying it stinks like a fresh turd on a hot sidewalk in the middle of a muggy summer. It ruins your day by upsetting your stomach and putting you in a downright foul mood.

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
JimmyCast

Podcast: How to Find Good People and Avoid Employee Nightmares

That feeling is not the one you should be harnessing when you write your reply. Like it or not, anyone under the age of 50 looks at reviews when seeking new businesses to work with. More particularly, they scan past the shining reviews to find the dirty laundry to see how badly things can go wrong when they do. Like a bad wreck on the highway — show me the carnage!

When it comes to reviews, I am not of the “roll over and take it apologetically” crew, nor am I of the “give ‘em hell” team. Let a negative review simmer for a day or two while you come down from the adrenaline of seeing red (“How dare they?!?!”) and don’t post a reply until you’ve had extra eyes on what you are saying. Ask an employee, friend, or colleague to look at your reply from the outside.

Remember that a review comes from that person’s point of view. There are many sides to a story. In extreme situations of riots, attacks, and politics, different media outlets will show different perspectives (often skewed). Bad reviews may seem skewed, but for the individual, it is their truth. They felt compelled to say something because the situation made them feel something.

Never post a canned response on a bad review. Readers see generic responses as an uninvolved robot behind the scenes just placating the reviewer. It feels like a cover-up.

Never post a defensive rant! Factual key points are all you need to speak your piece. It’s better if you apologize and accept that you and your team aren’t perfect; we’re all human.

Finally, accept that some people are trolls and you cannot make them happy. It’s OK in those circumstances to call them out. I have publicly responded to an unreasonable review (backed up with facts), noting that the request for a free repair on an item we didn’t sell was irrational, and telling the world the reviewer is not welcome to return to my studio. That particular response has brought in several new clients who got a good laugh and subsequently left positive reviews when they met our team. They love that we are as real in-person as we are online.

Continue Reading

Shane Decker

Here’s the Most Important Area To Invest In As a Store Owner

You’re only as good as your people.

mm

Published

on

RETAIL STORE OWNERS ARE having a difficult time holding onto their people. Right now, about half of all sales teams change every three years, and every seven years there is a total team change (with the exception of one or two “loyalists” in each store).

What’s the solution? Training. When salespeople have more knowledge, they close more sales and make more money. And as long as they’re making money, they’re far less likely to leave you.

Video: Why Your Digital Marketing Doesn’t Work Like the Experts Say It Should
Jim Ackerman

Video: Why Your Digital Marketing Doesn’t Work Like the Experts Say It Should

Video: Don’t Miss the Biggest Opportunity to Improve Profits in Your Jewelry Store
Jimmy Degroot

Video: Don’t Miss the Biggest Opportunity to Improve Profits in Your Jewelry Store

Video: Gene the Jeweler Hired His Nephew … And at Least Insurance Covered the Damage
Gene the Jeweler

Video: Gene the Jeweler Hired His Nephew … And at Least Insurance Covered the Damage

Training involves several areas, but one of the most fundamental is product knowledge. Your customers are more educated than ever before — and millennials are taking this to a whole new level. They do more research and know more about the product they’re purchasing than most salespeople do.

That’s why all salespeople, especially in bridal and diamonds, should take GIA Diamonds 1 and 2 and Diamond Grading. To some of you, this seems elementary, but I see so many salespeople who haven’t done this.

Salespeople who don’t have product knowledge talk too much to make up for their lack of knowledge. When you talk too much, you can talk right past the closing opportunity. Talking too much also takes the client’s attention away from the item being sold, and it takes attention away from the reason he or she came into your store in the first place.

Product knowledge gives you self-confidence and empowers you. When you have self-confidence, the client will have confidence in you. They won’t have as many objections. Your closing ratio will go up because clients can tell that you know what you’re talking about. They will trust you to help them make a decision.

Owners and managers: hold a one-hour sales meeting each week. Spend 20 minutes on product knowledge, 20 minutes on salesmanship, and 20 minutes on role-playing. When your sales team is well-trained, you’ll have more time to work on your business and you’ll be interrupted less often to help people close sales.

You’re only as good as the people you train. Your team controls how much money you make. And it’s amazing how many salespeople in jewelry stores do not know what they’re doing.

When salespeople are empowered with knowledge, they’re happier and more successful. Teamwork is better because they trust each other’s sales skills.

If you want a higher inventory turn, a higher closing ratio, and more net profit, start training your team. The more knowledgeable they are, the more valuable they feel and the longer they will stay. You invest money in buildings and marketing — start investing in your most valuable asset: your people.

Continue Reading

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Subscribe


BULLETINS

INSTORE helps you become a better jeweler
with the biggest daily news headlines and useful tips.
(Mailed 5x per week.)

Latest Classifieds

Most Popular