JCK Show: special promotions, special success

Stephen Appelbaum, a New York-based jeweler, delivered a sizzling presentation titled “Special Success” on Wednesday afternoon.

Despite its end-of-the-day timing, the session drew a full house of retailers who wanted to know how to make their own promotional events extra successful.

Appelbaum’s tips included his “50/50” rule: 50% of the people you invite to your event will show up, and 50% of those who do show up will buy. He also discussed the “80/20” rule: 80% of your business will be done with 20% of your items, and any one item can be the basis of a promotion.

While Appelbaum’s expertise lies in turnkey remount promotions, his principles can be applied to any special event. Each event must have a focal point, and the staff must be given concrete goals to make the event truly special. He cited the example of a jewelry store that hosted a remount event every six weeks. The first event, in March 2000, generated $18,600 in sales. But the sixth event, which took place in December of last year, pulled in $161,000 in sales. How did they do it?

“They booked 180 appointments. How did they book 180 appointments? One hundred eighty appointments divided by six weeks (between events) is 30 appointments a week, divided by seven days (the store is open all week) is 4.28 appointments a day, divided by 3.5 staff is 1.22 names per day.” So essentially, each staff member had a goal of setting one appointment per day for the upcoming event.

“You can break down very complex functions into very simple tasks. One hundred eighty appointments is intimidating. One appointment a day is not,” said Appelbaum.

Appelbaum also emphasized the need to focus. He recommended giving employees two or three key selling points for the event and giving them tasks to focus on before the event. “Don’t clutter their plates with too many orders.”

Don’t, for example, tell an associate to get an appointment for the show, clean the cases, and reset the watches all in the same breath-and then expect him to remember to make an appointment. Instead, throughout the day, coach the associate and ask if he got his appointment.