Curb your enthusiasm. That is the best advice I can give you before you got to the a show show. If you jewellers are asking why, take a good honest look at your inventory. Remember. I said honest. The replies I hear are: “We have too many older pieces and have to fill in with new merchandise.” Then I ask the question they don’t like to hear: “How long have you had these pieces?” These are some of the answers:
- I can’t tell you off hand, but I’ll check on it
- I’ll have to look it up
- My book keeper has it. I’ll ask her
- We really haven’t had any of it that long
Then I ask the toughest question: “What kind of software do you have that lets you know the following?”
- The length of time each piece of jewellery has been in stock
- The total amount you have in each category
- The price ranges
That’s when I get the ‘what what in the heck are you talking about’ look. Surprisingly, some jewellers have told me they purchased the software, but never got around to using it. When I ask them about how long this older merchandise has been in stock, I get estimates: “From two to five years and the more expensive pieces, even longer.” This is when I give them the advice they do not want to hear. “When you go to any jewellery show, without knowing how much money you have tied up in merchandise that is more than two years old, you are headed for trouble. The more new merchandise you buy the more the old multiplies and you wonder why you have no budget.”
Too many jewellers want the excuse for going to a show when they know they should not because they cannot, Curb Their Enthusiasm. They assume their buying may be the problem and when they see the latest styles at the show, this will solve it. Actually it only adds to it. They have no idea why it goes unsold year after year so they ask their salespeople to concentrate on the old jewellery so it will free up cash to buy the latest styles. Some jewellers put it in a separate showcase and take a large mark down. Regardless, it is still there after 30 days.
For those of you who want to go to a show unburdened by all of this, here are the answers. First, find out and admit who is responsible for all of this. Look in the mirror. Yes, it’s you. You did not take enough time to observe your salespeople on the sales floor and hear their favorite remark when bringing out the first piece of jewellery: “Let me show you something we just got in.” You have no idea what that has cost you. Every salesperson has used this some time in their career and many use it daily. When I ask them why, these are their reasons:
- “I know my customers want to see the latest styles, so why not show them?”
- “I can get more enthusiasm behind the newer pieces of jewellery”
- “I get tired of showing the same old pieces over and over”
In all these cases it shows me these salespeople have had very little sales training if any. Because of this lack of training, they are forced to clerk the sale. This means to act like an ordinary sales clerk, take the easy way out, regardless of the cost. They have become an order taker. Keep showing the new pieces of jewellery until the customer says, “I like it”, and they say, “Great! Can I have your credit card?” That’s their close and of course they never thought of creating an add-on sale, which cost you even more, because they never had any training for that either. Now you know why I asked you to look in the mirror for who is responsible.
Your salespeople should not have to rely on a particular sentence such as: “Let me show you something we just got in.” If you do not tell them to zip up their enthusiasm, regardless how they feel, you will have to Curb Your Enthusiasm when you go to a show. Customers expect it. The reason is they are coming in to buy for a happy occasion. They are already thinking of the person they are buying it for and visualising their happiness when they open the box and put on the diamond necklace and earrings. Yes, your customers are happy and if you were that customer wouldn’t you expect the salesperson to be happy and show a smile with enthusiasm as you enter their store?
It all comes down to this. Sell the same way you would like to be sold. If you get your salespeople to adhere to this cardinal rule of Zelling they will be surprised the positive reaction they will get from their customers and the additional sales they close. This is why when I see that rare salesperson that always has a smile and enthusiasm, they are far and away the leading salesperson in that store, regardless of their experience. All of your salespeople will have that opportunity if you jewellers will invest in the time to train your salespeople.
Let me help you get started. When a customer asks to see a particular piece of jewellery these are some suggested sentences they can use, that if said with enthusiasm, will bring a positive reaction from their customers. “I have a necklace I would like to see.” Or “I have something special I would like you to try on.” If it is for someone else, “I have special piece of jewellery to show you.” You can take it from there and make up your own.
The best way I recommend to get started is for you to set the standard and do a roleplay with you playing the salesperson and one of your salespeople the customer. Show what you mean by a smile and enthusiasm. The next step is to ask them to take out their mobile phones, place them on the sales counter, recite those sentences, or others they prefer, and play them back. This dose of reality is always a shock. Almost no-one likes to hear themselves on a recorder, but persevere and after a few tries they will hear improvement. Now ask two of your salespeople to practice with each other across the counter and have them record it. They will both see where they can improve. Keep at it and continuously keep training throughout the week. If you stop, your salespeople will revert to their previous ways.
Remind your salespeople that the majority of customers do not know what is your older jewellery and with their new enthusiasm they will find how much easier it is to sell these pieces. Be sure to tell them of your successes because you have found that by increasing your enthusiasm and smiling more, your sales have increased. Now you show the newest jewellery as the last resort. Setting a good example is the best way to convince your salespeople.
If some of your jewellery is really out of date and there is no way your salespeople are going to sell it, then think again. Here is the answer. Instead of putting these pieces in the window with a 50% discount, or try selling it on Ebay, give your salespeople the incentive of at least a 20% and sell it at full price. Each time a salesperson reaches for a piece of jewellery for £2,000 with a 20% commission they know that could be £400 in their pocket. On lower priced jewellery or pieces you consider very difficult to sell, give 30%. Why not? You were about to put a larger discount on all these pieces for your customers and see it sit there forever in your store, or discount it on Ebay. Let your salespeople benefit?
This feature first appeared in the September 2017 issue of Jewellery Focus.