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David Geller

What I Learned From Harry Friedman About Sales Meetings

Follow this advice, and your team will emerge well-trained in six months.

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THERE ARE LOTS of sales and management trainers in every industry. There are absolutely two people that helped to redirect my business and set me on the right track.

On my price book, it was an accountant who was sent to me from a diamond setter friend. The accountant had given up accounting 10 years prior, bought two books on watch repair and taught himself to repair watches, and did that for eight years. Now I finally had an accountant who understood how to make money with your hands. He’s the one that showed me the light of day, which I then developed into my Geller Price Book.

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But as a store manager and trainer, I was absolutely terrible. My sales meetings had been once in a while and usually involved telling the staff what they did wrong this week. I also thought, “If you want it done right, do it yourself.”

Wrong.

I was a good teacher when I taught bench skills, just not in teaching the sales staff selling skills nor getting them “buy into” what I needed or wanted.

Then in March of 1991, I went to a three-day Harry Friedman Store Management Boot Camp. What an eye-opening experience! I wasn’t the worst in the seminar, but I was nowhere near the top.

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In June, I paid a lot of money to bring him and his associate into my store for three days. (His associate at the time was Brad Huisken, who is also now a popular trainer in our industry.) The three days at his workshop and three days at my store turned us around.

To be able to get your sale staff to excel takes many skills. I had already mastered pricing for profits for the shop, now selling and closing ratios came next.

One of the biggest lessons he taught me was about sales meetings.

Rather than having hodgepodge complaining sessions, we started having a store sales meeting every other Friday for an hour. The sales staff came in an extra half-hour early to set up, so we had a full hour for training. We divided the meeting into four important training session, 15 minutes each.

First 15 Minutes

Shop sales. The most important department in our store was shop sales, so the first 15 minutes was on my price book, starting from page 1. Everyone had a book, and we would say something like, “Open up to page 1, sizing. This is why we charge so much to make it larger, and we have to be careful of the following fragile stones.”

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We had a white writing board from an office supply and I’d draw pictures so they’d learn how procedures are done and I’d explain the pricing and we’d go over things to say to customers concerned about price. How to sell. “Then turn to page 2, 18K gold.”

We stopped after 15 minutes and the next Friday meeting started at where we stopped. It took six months to go through and train on the whole book, and the staff was well-trained, priced correctly 90 percent of the time and asked fewer questions.

2nd 15 Minutes

Product knowledge. We let the sale staff teach this. They learn more teaching it than listening to me. Everyone signed up weeks in advance on a product type they wanted to teach. We were doing well selling loose color to go into our custom designs, so one week Denise might talk, show, describe and sell a loose sapphire for her topic. She’d tell us where they are mined, difference in Thai and Ceylon, etc. and a little history on famous ones and do some role-playing with another associate on selling them, with objections coming at them. If we didn’t have stones, they could get them in on memo.

3rd 15 Minutes

Selling skills. Harry now has online video selling lessons for eight industries; jewelry is one of them. The store manager oversees training and administers tests that come along with training. At the time we did it, we bought VHS tapes and had workbooks. I taught class most times with feedback from staff during the third 15 minutes. We used Harry’s simple but wonderful selling book titled No Thanks, I’m Just Looking.

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Each meeting, we could go over 1 or 2 chapters at a time:

  1. Opening the sale
  2. Schmoozing
  3. Add-ons
  4. Objections
  5. And more

It probably took six weeks to go through his book, and we had individual training on their own time during slow periods where they could watch the tapes in our kitchen.

Last 15 Minutes

Store news. Not store bitching. News. New products or vendors we have gained. Information on our promotions, advertising, general questions.

We did this virtually twice a month for years to train the staff. Visit thefriedmangroup.com to learn more about what Harry Friedman’s system can do for your store.

David Geller is a 14th-generation bench jeweler who produces The Geller Blue Book To Jewelry Repair Pricing. David is the “go-to guy” for setting up QuickBooks for a jewelry store. Reach him at [email protected].

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