JCK Show: Your current customer, your best customer

Promotions may be all the rage, but the best way to boost sales is through your current customer base, said sales trainer Leonard Zell during his Wednesday presentation “Current Customers Are Your Best Target Market.”

“Every time jewelers get together, they’re asking each other, `So, what’s your best promotion,’ ” Zell told retailers during The JCK Show seminar program. “The trouble with promotions is, if customers come, they buy only the promotion.”

While a few customers may be generated, the end result is not worth the cost and energy of planning and carrying out a promotion, he said.

Current customers, meanwhile, are generated at a zero cost. It’s an investment that’s been made during the course of many years. These are customers who know and trust the retailer. What jewelers must realize, however, is that these customers are not guaranteed to return. Your energy needs to be directed, therefore, not toward promotions, but toward getting customers to return and build a strong relationship. The No. 1 tool, he said, is the telephone.

“You have to sell the idea to salespeople,” Zell said. “And remember, keep it simple. There are no whistles and bells here.” Zell offered several tips to motivate salespeople into using the telephone to call customers and get them back into the store. “Salespeople need to be convinced that it works. They will not use any technique unless you explain it,” he said.

To overcome objections from salespeople and obstacles to success, Zell suggests these tips:

· Set up a system for tracking preferred customers. Have a standardized form to supply to salespeople and encourage them to use it regularly. · Call customers at work, rather than at home. · Never make calls during dinner time. · Make the topic of the call seem like a favor to the customer. · Always call to suggest or offer specific merchandise. · Make calls while standing and smiling, to project the voice appropriately and to sound upbeat and positive. · If all encouragement fails to motivate a salesperson, suggest they write a note instead.