What kind of jewellery store manager are you?

Resident columnist Leonard Zell describes the different kind of jewellery store managers he has encountered throughout his time in the industry

I have spent entire days in jewellery stores, training managers how to teach their salespeople the fine art of selling. I have observed their habits and this is how I came up with these types of managers. For those of you who are managers, see what category you would be in.  For those who aspire to be managers my question is, where do you want to fit in?

Passive manager – This is the manager who just does the basic responsibilities assigned to him. He opens and closes the store, makes up a schedule, helps put the merchandise into the cases in the morning and then goes back into his office or hangs out towards the back of the store. The salespeople follow him back there and there is seldom anyone up front. The store looks almost vacant to passers by, it takes an act of god to get them to stay up front. Their excuse is, “I have a lot of paperwork to do and if I am needed out there they can call me”, they seldom do because he is never nearby. Their sales are poor and to cover this up they say, “I turn them over to the other salespeople. I don’t want to cut into their sales”, this excuse has been around a hundred years.

Passive intimidating manager – This manager has all of the attributes of the passive manager, but puts fear into their salespeople so they do not dare voice their complaints to the manager. Symptoms of this manager are high employee turnover and too much sick leave.

Super selling manager – This manager makes half the sales in the store and they let everyone know about it. One good thing is that they are on the floor selling, unfortunately they don’t have the patience to train their salespeople, in fact they don’t communicate with them much. The only time they communicate with their salespeople is when they make a mistake, subsequently giving them abuse. Many of these managers have a big ego and brag about the great sales they close. They don’t care that the more they build themselves up the more they put their salespeople down. They were hired for their strong sales, not for their ability to manage.

Negative manager – If there is something to complain about, they will find it. Worse yet, they’re negative to their salespeople by never complimenting them, only telling them their mistakes. Customers avoid them because they never smile, and worse yet if they’re is in charge of hiring they will select those just like them.

Old veteran – This manager has seen it all and has all the answers on selling. Nobody can teach them anything because what they do works fine. Why change now? They are too selfish to train anyone because the staff may end up outselling the manager, they just tell them all about the great sales they are making. It takes them forever to close a sale because he talks about everything under the sun except jewellery.

Deceptive manager – These managers make themselves look busy by having important papers in their hands. They spend too much time on the telephone pretending they are on business calls, take too long for lunch hour, and find excuses to take longer breaks. They are never around when you want them because, “Mr. Smith is on some errands”.

Professional manager – The opposite of the other managers. To be more specific here is a list:

  • Great positive attitude – When they arrive in the store they always have a smile for everyone and are full of enthusiasm regardless how they really feel. They leave their family problems at home. Their positive outlook is contagious and motivates their salespeople. They try to always catch salepeople doing something right instead of catching them doing something wrong, paying their salespeople a sincere compliment.
  • Uses good judgement – If there is a complaint they handle it immediately and in private. Above all they are an excellent listener and never interrupt an employee while they are stating their case. They know the best way to have their salespeople grow is to delegate them responsibilities.  The first person he delegates to is his assistant manager. Instead of using the assistant manager as a flunky or an errand-boy they treat the member of staff with respect and assign them important tasks and to help them grow, assigns them more important responsibilities.  When the manager is not in the store the assistant manager is ready to take over.
  • Puts his salespeople first – The professional manager will assign salespeople to particular departments and makes them feel as part of the success of the store.  The manager’s priorities are sales and they do everything they can to stay on the sales floor to rescue a sale, or be close by for a salesperson to ask for assistance. Instead of bragging about sales they make sure that when someone else makes a good sale they encourages them to tell the rest at the store meeting.

When it comes to product knowledge he makes sure the manager gets the trade magazines from the home office and passes them around, instead of showing ego by taking over the entire store meeting, the manager assigns product knowledge articles to a salesperson to lead discussion at the meeting. If there is a new selling technique or any new management idea they are eager to know about it.  If a salesperson makes a mistake, so what, doesn’t everybody, including the manager? This removes any fear to try something new and also to make suggestions because they know they will not be put down.

  • Trains his salespeople – Best yet, not only does the manager love to sell, they enjoy teaching salespeople at every opportunity they get. The manager role-plays selling situations and sales techniques with staff by always playing the salesperson. His salespeople get to play the customers and can challenge him, and it is all done in good humor. The manager knows that straight lecturing is not very effective and the best way to learn is to act out a technique.  Salespeople know that the manager cares for them and they show their gratitude by making sales that put the store way ahead of all the competition.
  • He is organised – They use a to-do list to make sure everything gets done and have it all on a schedule, knowing what technique they will teach on what day. Sometimes they must come in early to do it. That pride is apparent to customers when they are greeted by his smile and enthusiastic greeting.

The lesson learned?  The higher your standards as a manager, the more successful you will be.

This article first appeared in the October 2018 issue of Jewellery Focus

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