45 Retail Jewelry Best Practices

A cheat sheet of retail tips from the JCK show’s educational program

JCK Las Vegas is a buying event first and foremost. But the savviest attendees know that the seminars in the show’s educational program are the equivalent of a college course in jewelry retailing, thanks to a stellar cast of presenters offering the latest research and advice on selling, marketing, and customer service. For those of you who couldn’t tear yourselves away from the show floor, or your stores, we’ve compiled the best tips on everything from finding superstar salespeople to interpreting body language. (Hint: Avoid the fig leaf position at all costs!)

Achieving Excellence: Standards and Benchmarks for Sales Professionals

Kate Peterson, president, Performance Concepts

“To find good people, don’t look in the conventional places. Lean toward people who have studied the humanities: You want people who can talk
to people.”
—Kate Peterson

??Bosses don’t motivate employees; employees motivate themselves. “You have to find out what is important to the people who work for you, and tap into that,” Peterson said. “The reason people become million-dollar salespeople is because they have a passion for what they do.”

??Involve your employees in setting goals. “If you and I agree on what our goals are, then I have to be accountable to you on achieving those goals.” Defining sales targets should be a cooperative effort. “Employees should create a first draft, and then ‘stretch goals’ can emerge through give-and-take.”

??When setting goals, make sure they are challenging but achievable. Overly challenging goals can breed resentment, but overly cautious goals can lead to mediocrity.

??Make sure your employees take personal responsibility for their jobs. “When people come to you with a problem, do you solve it for them? Or do you get them to solve it? When there’s a problem, don’t fix it. Help to create solutions.”

??To find good people, don’t look in the conventional places. Contact placement offices in community colleges, but lean toward people who have studied the humanities: “You want people who can talk to people. You don’t want the accounting major, the finance major.” Other jewelers have had success asking employees for referrals or posting a “looking for help” sign in the store.

Did You Hear Everything Your Customer Didn’t Say?

Linda Talley, body language expert

??Monitor your salespeople’s body language. “Pay attention to what your staff is doing, because that can make or break a sale,” Talley said. “Communication is only 7 percent verbal.”

??Lean forward and stay away from defensive “closed” positions, such as crossing your arms or legs, fidgeting, and toe tapping.

??Don’t touch your hair or face in front of clients. It makes you appear unsure of yourself or nervous. Also, wrinkling your nose and raising your upper lip convey anger or uncertainty.

??Standing with your hands down and clasped together in front of your body—what’s known as the “humility position”—projects a good message when clients walk in the store. It is particularly useful when someone has a problem, because it shows you are willing to listen to what they have to say.

??When talking with shoppers, stand with your hands at your sides, but not in your pockets, as that diverts the customer’s eyes to the pockets.

??The hands behind the back, or “fig leaf,” position is a “position of arrogance” that communicates you are hiding something.

??When sitting, keep your hands on the table and put your palms up. “That shows you are in an open and vulnerable position, and then people will engage you.”

??Pay attention to your customer’s body language. If clients are not ready to buy, their shoulders tend to rise, their fists get clenched, and they glance downward and raise their eyebrows. Signals that show interest include dilated pupils, relaxed shoulders, eyebrows aligning with ears, unclasped hands, and up-facing palms.

??Signs of lying include a lack of eye contact, sweating, ears turning red, and a person shifting in his or her seat.

The Essentials of Marketing: From Plan to Action

David Peters, director of education, Jewelers of America

“Track how consumers react to your marketing, by using unique URLs for website promotions and redemption codes for printed offers.”
—David Peters

??All marketing activities should be guided by one fundamental principle, Peters said: “Satisfying customer needs.”

??To stand out today, marketing needs to be “innovative” and “intriguing.” Develop creative approaches by brainstorming with store employees or by borrowing ideas from other industries. 

??Track how consumers react to your marketing, by using unique URLs for website promotions and redemption codes for printed offers. “Specifically tell customers to ask for a particular offer in your marketing materials.” Have employees ask every customer: “Where did you hear about us?”

??Collect customer “profile” cards. Reward clients for filling them out and employees for collecting them.

??Conduct consumer surveys regularly. Ask your local Better Business Bureau, Chamber of Commerce, or local university about how to find free or low-cost demographic information for your area.

??Businesses should always be asking themselves: “Who do we want to do business with, and how do we reach them?” To attract more people, retailers should exchange databases with similar but noncompeting stores and consider purchasing prospect lists from reputable sources.

??Identify your store’s unique perspective. Your marketing should set the business apart, by promoting your selection of exclusive merchandise, one-of-a-kind products, an in-house certificated bench jeweler, or services such as “battery replacement while you wait.”

??Keep your name out there. Speak to local groups, send out emails, write articles for local publications and groups, and get involved in high-profile community and charitable events.

??Build public trust. If you participate in charity or community work locally, let your customers know about it.

??Reevaluate your branding efforts regularly. Is your logo appropriate? Is it dated? Does the look of your store and website reflect the image you are trying to project? The store should send a unified message in every communication. Every point of human and non-human contact should be considered part of your branding effort.

Basic Principles of Client Development

Debbie Hiss, sales trainer

??Clienteling “is not cold calling or telemarketing,” Hiss said, but a way to make it easy for men to purchase gifts for women.  

??Collect information on every client or prospect who walks in. Transfer that information to a client book or customer relationship management system.

??After every sale, jewelers should send out a thank-you note to a confirmed address. It must be hand-written, hand-addressed, and hand-stamped and include specifics about the purchased item.

??After the purchase, call the buyer to see if the gift got the response he or she was hoping for. Then ask permission to contact the recipient. When you speak to the recipient, identify yourself and state the reason for the call, and then try to set an appointment to make any adjustments; also demonstrate how to take care of the piece.

??Whenever a female customer comes into the store, have her update her wish list. This roster should include three or four items at different price points, as well as one aspirational item. It shouldn’t contain jewelry the woman may buy for herself, but pieces she would like to be “gifted.”

??Six months after the purchase, contact the recipient, and set an appointment for a professional clean and check. At the appointment, update her wish list, and get to know her better.

??Eleven months after the purchase, call the purchaser with a “celebration reminder.” Let him know that you have a wish list of several products, in a range of price points, which she would love to receive. Then make an appointment. When you meet, make sure to have the items ready.

Double Your Earnings With Add-On Sales!

Brad Huisken, president, IAS Training

“The easiest way to sell an add-on is to ask ‘fact-finding’ questions that get customers to tell you what they would like to buy next. These questions should be open-ended.”
—Brad Huisken

??The best way to maximize profits in a jewelry store is to sell add-ons. But those sales must be done “with technique,” in a non-pushy, nonaggressive way. “You want it to be perceived as good customer service,” Huisken said.

??A lot of retailers pigeonhole themselves, assuming the add-on has to be a coordinated piece. Actually, it can be anything.

??The easiest way to sell an add-on is to ask “fact-finding” questions that get customers to tell you what they would like to buy next. These questions should be open-ended, meaning they can’t be answered with a “yes” or “no.” Examples include: “What other special events do you have coming up?” “Who is on your gift list this month?” and “Tell me about her jewelry wardrobe.”

??Your prospect’s mind is actually most open to buying additional items prior to buying the main item. “Once the decision has been made to complete the transaction, the mind closes to any further suggestions.”

??Even if customers are coming in to change a watch battery, it’s an opportunity to sell them something. Don’t let them leave without finding out what other needs they have.

Have You Ever Hired a Mistake? Creating Success in Your Workplace

Janice Mack Talcott, president, Janice Mack & Associates

??There are two kinds of hiring mistakes: Taking on the wrong people, and putting workers in the wrong job.

??Not every person is suited for every task. Staff members with “high extroversion” are good salespeople, but if they don’t have ­dominant personalities, they are bad closers.

??Behavioral tests, such as the Professional DynaMetric survey, help ensure the right person is filling the appropriate slot. They can also be used for recruiting.

??Employers should be clear about their expectations for their workers. However, don’t overcomplicate performance management; judge your employees on five to 10 factors, and then decide on how you will rate them.

??When evaluating salespeople, always keep the bottom line in mind: “You might have a person who produces a lot of sales, but they could be producing sales with no margin.”

Follow the Money: A Practical Workshop for Developing a New Media Strategy

Rachel Wengrow and Angie Ash, Fruchtman Marketing

“Luxury newcomers are willing to spend more money on fewer, better-quality items, as opposed to buying bigger numbers of cheaper items of lesser quality.”
—Fruchtman Marketing

??So-called “luxury newcomers” are willing to splurge, but they’re also inherently value-conscious. These younger, less affluent consumers conduct a lot of research online before making a purchase and give a lot of credence to consumer reviews and comments.

??Luxury newcomers are willing to spend more money on fewer, better-quality items, as opposed to buying bigger numbers of cheaper items of lesser quality. This group is always hunting for the best deals on designer brands.

??Television remains the leading leisure activity of most demographic groups, and therefore TV advertising has the greatest impact on their purchasing decisions.

??While many luxury newcomers use the Internet heavily, ­magazine ads are a close second to TV ads in affecting their buying decisions. Online advertisements remain a distant third. To get your message to this new luxury group, advertise in the morning and ­evening local news. (Additional reporting by Paul Holewa)

More for Your Store on JCKonline.com:
+ How to Bring in Luxury Shoppers—and Keep Them Happy
+ Strictly Bridal Business
+ Lost in Transition

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