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Jeweller's best business tips in 2015

The pages of jeweller are well-known for providing excellent business advice – and this year was no different. Here’s a selection of the very best words of wisdom for storeowners, managers and sales staff to take into 2016.
The hustler's handshake

Reaching for a customer’s hand while saying, “Hi, I’m (name) and you are?” is a no-no. There are few things creepier to witness than this 1950s car-selling technique. A handshake is something you earn, not force upon others. While the intent is correct – to greet the person as a friend – a thrusting handshake can be viewed as very impersonal.

The fix: Keep your hands to yourself. Do a good job and they’ll reach for your hand at the end of the sale.

Words of wisdom: Bob Phibbs, author of Stop the cringe and seal the sale.
Published February.

Don't make excuses

The best leaders don’t make excuses; they deliver their numbers consistently. Have you clearly communicated what people can expect from you? Are you delivering on those expectations consistently? Start there. When you set a clear standard of personal contribution and deliver on it, it becomes a lot easier to hold people accountable.

Words of wisdom: Ryan Estis, author of Improve sales with engagement.
Published November

We're too successful to change

All too often small business owners don’t see the need to rethink their business, especially traditional retailers with excellent financial results. The truth is that rethinking your business is actually the most fun when things are going well. When results fall short of expectations, the pressure to rethink things can lead to a negative vibe. Rethinking the future doesn’t mean changing all the good things in an organisation. No, the goal is to anticipate future changes in the market that may influence your business. It’s about being proactive and considering important strategic choices.

Words of wisdom: Steven Van Belleghem, author of 5 dangerous excuses for not re-inventing.
Published June

Interview sales teams

Whether it’s the latest product update or a new collection, asking staff to answer a couple of questions about their favourite products will form the basis of a great blog post that customers will appreciate. No one knows a retailer’s brand as well as its own employees.

Words of wisdom: Upasna Kakroo, author of Solving the content puzzle.
Published July

Myth: A valuation is how much a piece is 'worth'

Ultimately a piece of jewellery is ‘worth’ what someone will pay for it. An insurance replacement valuation indicates an amount for which the item could be replaced ‘new for old’ or ‘like for like’ in a particular market but that doesn’t mean anyone’s going to pay that price.

This is why valuations for insurance purposes are not intended to be used to set sale prices.

Words of wisdom: Megan Austin, author of Busting jewellery valuation myths.
Published March

Encourage wild and unconventional ideas

The wild and unconventional are ingredients in the innovation recipe. Unconventional is obvious in that the result is always a break with convention. Wild ideas, particularly, are the basis for disparate connections and it is through these connections that genius will develop. Not sure this actually works? Pierre Omidyar launched eBay from the impetus of his fiancée’s challenge of finding Pez dispensers.

Words of wisdom: Amy K Hutchens, author of Creating cultures of innovation.
Published October

Most engaged generation

According to a 2013 study conducted by Modern Survey, a US firm that measures employee performance and company success, millennialsare the most engaged generation in the workforce. Modern Survey’s president, Don MacPherson, says it’s easy to buy into stereotypes that Gen Y employees are lazy or unmotivated, but falling into that way of thinking doesn’t help anyone. Instead, embrace Gen Y, help them discover and use their strengths, and be open to learning from them. You’ll probably end up gaining a lot and expanding your own perspective.

Words of wisdom: Ryan Estis, author of Working with Gen Y staff.
Published May

Attention all back-office staff

Staff who have roles that don’t interact with customers often don’t believe customer service applies to them. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Everyone has a customer, be it outside or internal, and customer service is part of the culture of a business, not just a department.

Words of wisdom: Shep Hyken, author of Showing up is half the battle.
Published March

Price review

Retailers use a ‘cost plus’ mentality on the prices they set yet take no account of the extra value that is provided between receiving goods in-store and on selling those goods to the customers. By not adding in that extra value, they are making the same offer to the customer as a competitor who sells the exact same items at the same price but without the benefits of excellent service.

Stores that fail to factor these unique elements into their prices don’t believe their own value propositions and are not prepared to back it up. Building wealth and income are not dirty words. The more value a store can provide people, the more profitable that store will become.

Words of wisdom: David Brown, author of When did you last review your prices?
Published August

Contact info

A store’s contact information should be on every page of the website. Including the phone number and email address is not only helpful for visitors – especially those using mobile devices – but it also helps search engines to properly categorise a page in local search results. This is a no-brainer!

Words of wisdom: Amanda Clark, author of Small business website essentials.
Published May

Eye on the prize

Convinced that consumers will always choose cash over points/miles, some retailers have abandoned rewards programs in favour of cash-back strategies; however, studies have found that even though consumers will select cash when given a choice, they are more satisfied with rewards programs that result in a luxury item or experience.

Words of wisdom: Tim Moulton, author of Retail loyalty: testing common assumptions.
Published August

Spotting shortcomings

The first step is to drop the assumption that you’re doing okay just because no one is complaining. Be more proactive about spotting your store’s shortcomings so you can work on improving them. It’s important to walk around your store and look at everything as if you are your own worst enemy – you’ll see a lot of things you need to do better.

Words of wisdom: Francesca Nicasio, author of What we say, what they hear.
Published April

Motivating the unmotivated

What I didn’t understand at the time is that the ability to motivate others is a myth. I know that sounds like leadership blasphemy but I’m convinced you can’t motivate the unmotivated.

Motivation is the desire or willingness of someone to do something, and the desire to work with customers has to come from within. Instead of trying to motivate people, the key is to inspire the motivated and remove the unmotivated.

Words of wisdom: Doug Fleener, author of 10 tips to motivate your staff.
Published July

Innovation and success

Innovation is the key to future success. At least, that’s what it says on more than 200 million sources listed on Google so it’s safe to say it’s obvious, right? A culture of innovation requires a particular mind-space more than a cool, novel workspace. What people really need is to believe there are no bad ideas, just ineffective applications and outcomes.

Words of wisdom: Amy K Hutchens, author of Creating cultures of innovation.
Published October

Too much choice

Online stores often fall into the habit of merely presenting all stock and saying, “Here’s everything we have. You sort it out.” They fail to realise that this makes for a terrible shopping experience, not unlike searching through bargain bins filled to the brim with an entirely uncategorised assortment of DVDs. No shopper really wants to shop like that and no retailer should be aiming to retail like that.

Words of wisdom: Graham Jones, author of Too much choice can harm business.
Published June

Prepare an understudy

It’s not wise for any business to be overly dependent on one staff member – including yourself! Make sure that all positions in
the store can be handled by another staff member who can do the job in the event of someone’s absence. Problems can develop when one person starts to feel they are indispensable to the business and it becomes difficult to take strong action where thereis no adequate replacement. Rotating staff through different functions will help this.

Words of wisdom: David Brown, author of How to fix a hiring error.
Published December

Abandoning the four Ps

Retailing is not rocket science. It never has been and never will be. However, it does take courage to abandon the old business habits and practices of the Four Ps (product, place, price and promotion). The future survival of retailers will require them to realise that they need to be able to ask and answer the following questions, all of which are not Four P-centric and all of which focus on the who, what and where of consumer behaviour: What are consumers saying?
Who are they saying it to? Where are they saying it?

Words of wisdom: Chris Petersen, author of Three crucial questions for survival.
Published September

Make emails customer friendly

A business might be having an event, throwing a sale or receiving an award but prospects won’t care unless these events have something to do with them. Tell them how this information relates to them and how they will benefit, and increase the chances of marketing success. Use the words ‘you’ and ‘your’ extensively. Create messages with a specific person in mind and relate everything back to how that person can save or make money, have more time or improve their life with the advertised product or service.

Words of wisdom: Bob Phibbs, author of Direct marketing done right.
Published September

Brainstorm is in session

Don’t fall for the trap of beginning to analyse ideas after only a small number have been contributed. Think of it as a Darwinian process – the more separate ideas, the greater the chance that some will be fit enough to survive. Crazy thoughts that are completely unworkable can sometimes be springboards for other ideas that can be adapted into great new solutions. So keep the crazy ideas coming because you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a prince!

Words of wisdom: Paul Sloane, author of Great ways to ruin a brainstorm.
Published September

Personal stories

This is a story about changing ourselves; about having the courage to stand in front of a mirror and ask on what level we need to up our game so we can still make a relevant contribution to the organisation in a few years’ time. The battle between man and machine will intensify in the years to come and humans will have to prove their added value.

Words of wisdom: Steven Van Belleghem, author of Embrace the future by re-inventing retail.
Published October

Buying tips

There’s a lot going on at trade shows so it can be hard to stay focused and on track. As a rule, avoid making emotional decisions – if an item is not part of the plan, research it by all means but sleep on it before buying. If you feel the same way at the end of the show, trust your judgement. Retailers shouldn’t be hasty. There will be businesses that still own 80 per cent of their show purchases after 12 months and 60 per cent after 24 months.

Words of wisdom: David Brown, author of Plan, purchase and profit.
Published September

Website price listing - yes or no?

You want customers to talk with you first so you can show them how valuable your service is before quoting them a price – but that’s your website’s job. If your website is written well, it will easily show someone whether an item can solve their problem and if the price is worth it. Then, when a prospective customer does call, they’ve already been pre-sold and you don’t have to struggle to convince them of anything.

Words of wisdom: Karyn Greenstreet, author of Should you list prices on your website?
Published May

Managing old stock

The big question when it comes to stock that isn’t selling is, “When is old really old?” At Retail Edge Academy, we analyse the data from hundreds of stores and we believe a new or re-ordered item has the best chance of selling within the first 39 days. Am I saying items are old after 39 days? No, but I am saying items are on their way to becoming old and if retailers ignore those items, the problem will worsen.

Words of wisdom: David Brown, author of When to re-order and when to run
Published October

Embrace athletic mentality

Professional athletes work out constantly under the guidance of experts and have their performance monitored. This isn’t done to punish the athlete – it’s done to promote their absolute best performance.

The same type of routine can be applied to the sales and marketing training process. Managers should encourage staff
to apply set techniques for re-inventing the customer experience and increasing revenue.

Words of wisdom: Bob Phibbs, author of Marketing starts and ends with training.
Published December

Phone etiquette

Most retailers have casual staff and it’s not uncommon for customers to call back asking for a particular person they dealt with on the weekend. It’s not enough to tell a caller that a person is not available or “only works on the weekend”. Your words create a perception in the caller’s mind and when a colleague is not available it’s perfectly acceptable to say, “She is out of the store at the moment. May I take a message for her?”

Based on casual staff rostering, each store should have its own firm procedure for when customers call for casual staff. That is, it’s not wise just to take a message for everyone if the staff member isn’t rostered on for another five days.

Words of wisdom: Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender, authors of Phones may have changed, etiquette hasn’t.
Published November

Perform a pre-mortem

During a recent visit to Stanford, professor Baba Shiv advised his listeners to carry out a ‘pre-mortem’. Companies and people are usually good at performing post-mortems but by then it’s too late to analyse the causes of the disaster and determine how it could have been averted.

A pre-mortem aims to identify possible future causes of business death in advance, thereby enabling a company to take proactive steps to ensure its survival. This is a golden tip for any organisation. The key is to plan the pre-mortem while a company is still in top form.

Words of wisdom: Steven Van Belleghem, author of Embrace the future by reinventing retail.
Published October

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Sunday, 08 December, 2019 03:43am
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