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Selling Advice: Do you put your sales assistants first?

Doing a bit of analysis of the festive season to see what went right or wrong? LEONARD ZELL offers a hard-hitting list of things to consider when looking in the proverbial mirror.

When you looked at your sales for last year did you see…

  1. A 10% increase in sales or more over last year
  2. A 5% increase
  3. No increase

If it is A, take a bow. It it’s B, ask yourself why it wasn’t more. It it’s C, find out who is to blame.

Yes, if it was A, you should definitely pat yourself on the back because you did many things right.  Read on and you will pick up more ideas to increase your sales.

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When I ask jewellers who are in the B and C class why they are there here are some of their reasons;

  • There wasn’t near the traffic we had last year
  • My top salesperson quit, or someone had a baby and I don’t know if they will return
  • Too much discounting to close sales
  • Couldn’t find the right salespeople to complete my staff
  • Advertising didn’t bring in the results it did last year

Feel free to add a few more to this list. However, I do not classify these as reasons. These are excuses. I will tell you the real reason, you did not put your salespeople first.

Well, did you?

Do you have individual commissions so you can reward your high-achievers and create new ones? Do you have any over achievers? If you have none do you wonder why?

Do you have an annual dinner after the holidays inviting the spouses, with favours and bestowing annual awards?

Do you take the time to praise a salesperson who creates add-on sales, saves a sale from walking out of the store, or creates a sale from repairs, or ring cleaning?

Do you have morning meetings at least once a week? Do you have a prepared agenda, not only prepared by you, but by some of your salespeople? Do you let them conduct some of the meetings?

Do you pass Jewellery Focus around to all your salespeople so they can be kept informed on the latest industry news and market trends?

Do you ever catch your salespeople doing something right, or wait until they make a mistake and call their attention to it?

Do you have any idea what it costs you in lost sales when a salesperson’s pride is negatively affected by your attitude?

When was the last time you told a salesperson how proud you were of them?

When you made a mistake in a sale did you share it with your salespeople so they can learn from it and show genuine humility, or did you cover it up?

Do you train your salespeople on a continuous basis, just periodically, or rarely?

If you do train your salespeople do you lecture them, or use a combination of lecturing and roleplaying?

Does each salesperson have a client list they keep active to call their customers on anniversaries, birthdays and Christmas? Do you have the repeat customers that show the results?

When role playing do you take the part of the salesperson and your salespeople play the customers?  When you make a mistake do you call it to the attention others? Do you have them roll play with each other after your demonstration?

Do you or your manager find time during slow times during the day to lead in practising the sales techniques with role playing almost daily?

When a salesperson makes a creative sale, or any sale that ordinarily may not have been closed, do you tell the others salespeople about it and how that salesperson accomplished it?

When you come into your store in the morning do you enter with a big smile and say hello to everyone and stop to talk for a moment to make them feel important?

Do you come out of your office during the day and ask how everyone is doing and show an interest on what’s been going on?

Are you or your manager on the sales floor at all times to assist salespeople to help them close their sales and keep those sales from leaking out of your store?

By now you should know where the problem is. If you don’t, look in the mirror. To add more emphasis to my point, who creates the income to pay your living? Your salespeople. Isn’t it logical then to put your salespeople first and give them a percentage of their sales? Look what they earned for you. Yet very few jewellers in the UK put their salespeople on individual commission and then wonder why their sales don’t increase.  

Why should they when there is no incentive for them? If their work is not recognised why should they make any effort at all? Would you if you were a salesman in your store?  

I know what some of you jewellers will say: “We put our salespeople on a group commission so they are all treated equally and there is no fighting over commission”. That penalises the over achiever. They get no more income then the others and yet their sales are the reason everyone else made their quota. As far as any in-fighting over commissions is concerned, that is 100% the fault of the jeweller because he was not explicit on the rules.

Let’s talk about you jewellers and your attitude. Do you smile at your salespeople, or give them any compliment at all? Did you ever think of catching them doing something right?

This is all simple reality. You will see an immediate change of attitude in your salespeople and your customers will see it when they are greeted in your store. Employee turnover will no longer be a factor, in fact salespeople from your competitors will hear about your positive management and apply. It’s a win-win with only the dinner as an expense. The commissions are an investment in your salespeople – the best investment you may ever make.  

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