By now you should have your holiday staff set and your staffing plan in motion. That’s good, but don’t make the mistake of sitting back and waiting for clients to pour in. There are a number of relatively simple, inexpensive steps you should have your salespeople take this month and next to make you stand out from your competitors, enhance your reputation for service, and give your holiday sales a major boost.
Greet every client quickly. You should do this consistently, regardless of how busy you are. Acknowledge customers immediately as they enter the store. Have festive snacks and beverages on hand for customers to enjoy while they wait.
Call preferred clients to make special appointments. The idea is to call and set appointments well ahead of time—before Thanksgiving. This ensures that preferred customers will have the best selection and will come at a time when you can have key associates available to service them. Set items aside for them to look at based on your knowledge of their taste and previous purchases.
Send personal invitations to key clients. Offer them a discount, a first look at new merchandise, or another incentive to get them in the door. Mail them a catalog with a personal invitation to contact you directly if they want to make a purchase.
Visit key clients at their homes or offices. Make sure you’re armed with merchandise you think they would like, as well as your catalog.
Use direct sales strategies. Use these approaches when a preferred client is too busy to physically visit your store or meet with you. For example, you can set up phone time to walk them through your catalog and Web site. If a customer makes a purchase, offer him or her free shipping, provide complimentary gift wrapping, and offer to hand-deliver the purchase right to their door or office where you can thank them personally for their order.
Use your catalogs and Web site to compile wish lists for clients. You can later convey these lists to clients’ friends and loved ones for gift ideas for the holidays and beyond.
Keep the holiday sales momentum going after the season. For example, you can send handwritten thank-you notes inviting clients to come back to the store to exchange gift merchandise, trade up, make an add-on purchase, take advantage of post-holiday sales or discounts, get older jewelry cleaned or repaired, preview new spring merchandise, etc.
STAY SECURE DURING THE HOLIDAYS
The holiday selling season—for most jewelers, the busiest time of the year—is also the time to make sure your staff is well-versed on holiday security procedures. While the hustle and bustle and constant crowds are good for business, it also increases your potential risk of loss—which is why your salespeople need to be particularly vigilant at this time of year. Once your holiday staff is set, make sure they’re up to speed on the basic procedures they will need to follow to keep themselves and your merchandise safe and secure. Here are some essential holiday tips for you and your salespeople from Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co.:
Always have at least two employees open and close your store. One should unlock (or lock) the front door, and the other should observe from a safe distance with a cell phone, ready to make a call in case of an emergency.
Never allow anyone into your store before opening or after closing time.
Have a code word or phrase for suspicious situations. All your associates should know the code word and use it to warn one another when something doesn’t seem right. Practice your suspicious-situation procedure, which should include a salesperson visibly leaving the store with a cell phone and waiting outside the store.
Talk with local police or mall security. Discuss how to coordinate with them in the event of a crime or emergency situation. In addition, make sure all associates understand the procedures they should follow.
Remember: Merchandise can be replaced; lives cannot. In the event of a robbery, stress to your associates the importance of remaining calm, following the robber’s orders, and not resisting.
Pay especially close attention to clients carrying coats or bags. A coat or a bag can be used to conceal merchandise. Offer to take coats and bags from clients and place them in a safe place while the client shops.