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How to find the best salespeople

Leonard Zell explains where to find the best salespeople for your jewellery store

Believe it or not, they are right under your eyes!  Remember when you were at a restaurant and you mentioned to your wife that the waitress had a zip to her personality when she greeted you and romanced the dishes on the menu, more than your salespeople romanced your jewellery?  Waitresses and waiters are excellent candidates because it is their nature to start a conversation with a smile, speak with enthusiasm and introduce themselves which most salespeople seldom do.

Their personality captures your attention and you really want to listen. Their income depends on their outgoing personality. They know this is the reason you will give them a good tip. Most restaurant owners look for that personality when they hire waitresses and waiters. Most jewellers do not, especially if they lack that enthusiasm and smile. They tend to hire in their own image.

To make my point, check the enthusiasm of your salespeople when they greet their first time customers.  Then ask them this question, “When you wait on a customer for the third time do you find it easier to smile and be more natural then when you greeted them the first time?” The answer I always get is, “Yes.” Then drop the other shoe and ask, “Why do customers have to come in three times to our store to get the greeting they should have received the first time?”  They will get the message. Waiters and waitresses are already trained for you. They show their smile and enthusiasm right away and have that happy outgoing personality with all their first time customers.

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That is what it takes to sell fine jewellery. Salespeople should be reminded that jewellery stores are the only retail stores that customers come in to buy almost exclusively for a happy occasion.  It stands to reason they should be happy too. Many of these waiters and waitresses would like to have a job with the better hours you can give them and especially to be selling jewellery. Just make sure you always have a business card handy.

My second choice are the salespeople at the  cosmetic counters at department stores. Many of these departments are leased and the lessee gives these salespeople that special training that wins over customers. They are also well dressed, wear the right makeup, their hair is perfect and they know how to smile. They are excellent choices for selling fine jewellery.

My third choice are residential real estate salespeople who sell the more expensive homes.  They don’t prejudge customers and are not hesitant to show your most expensive jewellery. In fact, they are very comfortable taking the initiative to show a three carat diamond or a diamond necklace for £20,000. We hired a sales lady who was a top real estate producer. She was tired of working on weekends and besides, she loved jewellery. Her sales took off right away and she became our leading salesperson.

I would think twice about hiring an experienced salesperson. You could be hiring some other jeweller’s mistake. In fact I made that mistake when I opened up our mall store. These salespeople had the product knowledge, but not the personality. After a few months I realized I had to make changes and the most important one was to hire by the smile.  

It was easy to teach these enthusiastic salespeople because they had the motivation to learn. As soon as I replaced the experienced salespeople the sales took off and after a few months sales were up 20% and better yet, more repeat customers because these salespeople were eager to develop a clientele. Of course, I paid them individual commissions.

All of these salespeople I have recommended work on commission and expect to be rewarded on their individual sales. If you have a group quota, they may not be interested. These salespeople have confidence in their sales and want to be rewarded on their individual achievement. Put yourself in their position. If you were coming from a job that paid commissions wouldn’t you want to be rewarded for your individual achievement?

I know some of you may be hesitant about hiring new salespeople primarily by their smile because they lack product knowledge. I found these salespeople were eager to learn and they learned fast because I took the time to give them my individual attention. I found that when they made a mistake, customers really didn’t care because they liked that salesperson. Before you say, “I don’t have the time,” I am going to stop you, because then you are the problem. You don’t know how to manage your time by doing the three most important duties of a jeweller, delegate, delegate, delegate – but that’s another article.  

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