Columnists Brad Huisken It all comes down to people!

It all comes down to people!

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Whether you manage a jewelry store or sell jewelry, the use of knowledge means everything. I know that as an Owner or Manager if you can create an environment of personal growth and development, your store will be successful. Surround yourself with people that constantly want to improve and the company will grow. As the Owner or Manager your job responsibility is to provide the staff with everything they will need in order to be successful.

In order to fulfill your responsibilities as an owner or as a sales manager you must: Provide the leadership, knowledge, training, incentives, and consequences in order to recruit, hire, develop, and maintain successful salespeople.

I could write a book just on that sentence, but look at each word and think about how that applies to you and your business. Great leaders, for example, lead by example, are great communicators, have a vision for the future, are organized, and disciplined. Having the knowledge takes a constant effort, no one will ever know everything that there is to know. Training must be consistent and on going.

I have often said that sales training doesn’t work if it is an event, it has to be an ongoing process. Incentives must be given to sales staff if you want to make some changes. In order to instill change in any organization, I believe that you have to make the change a policy. Train your people on how to fulfill the policy and address what is in it for them when they make the change.

In other words: In order to instill change in an organization three things must happen!

  • Policy
  • Training
  • Incentives

The same is true with consequences. If the person doesn’t fulfill the policy, have been trained on the policy, have shown that they can adhere to the policy, and yet they still don’t or won’t adhere to the policy, then a change needs to be made.

A successful sales staff is: Completely trained, working toward objectives, held accountable for performance, and rewarded based on results.

As a business owner or sales manager, you are in the business of hiring and training people for the rest of your professional life. I don’t think people will ever be completely trained, simply because the world and the industry is changing at a very rapid pace. A business owner has to work toward objectives, which are goals and statistics. The people have to be held accountable to producing at least a minimum level of performance and rewarded based on exceeding the expectations.

It is only through the consistent application of solid business principles that a business will grow and reach it’s maximum potential. The five silver bullets to productivity improvement below are what I call the solid business principles when it comes to the personnel working within a store.

Great sales managers, owners, and coaches, have to be where the action is - on the floor. You cannot effectively implement any one of these business principles from an office. You have to be on the floor listening in on sales presentations, catching people doing things both right and wrong, offering positive praise and solid coaching when appropriate and needed. How the phone is answered, how customers are greeted and acknowledged, how the customer is thanked and invited back, attempting to close the sale and attempting to add-on to the sale should all be non-negotiable within a great organization, wouldn’t you think?

Five Silver Bullets for Productivity Improvement:

  • Training & Coaching (Training Checklists & Reviews)
  • Non-Negotiable Sales & Customer Service Standards
  • Goals
  • Accountability
  • A Training Process

There are four basic areas where jewelry salespeople need to be knowledgeable, thus need training in order to perform their job responsibilities. Imagine an automobile with four tires. Should one of the tires be low on air or flat the automobile would not run efficiently. The same is true in sales; if one of these four areas is weak, the sales presentation may take a turn for the worse. Customers expect salespeople to be the expert, and I am sure that most professional salespeople want to be experts.

Therefore, salespeople must do everything within reason to constantly look at increasing their skills, abilities, and thus knowledge. Read the industry trade journals. Talk to the various merchandise representatives, do some research on the Internet, talk to your fellow salespeople that may have expertise in a specific area. One of the biggest problems that I see in retail jewelry is that too many salespeople learn just what it takes to get by. Be something different, be extraordinary, and go above and beyond the normal. I know that knowledge is the key to success, not only in jewelry sales, but in all aspects of life as well.

The four areas are:

1) Sales Techniques - Knowing how to make initial contact, and how to greet a customer in a non-pushy and aggressive way. Learn how to determine the customer’s needs. The easiest way is through a series of open-ended questions that are designed to capture the maximum amount of information from the customer. Learn how to demonstrate merchandise in a way that increases the customer’s perception of value using features, benefits, and agreement questions. Have a toolbox of closing techniques that will help you close more sales. Learn how to sell people add-on items through getting the customer to tell you what they are going to buy next. When a customer says, “I’ll be back” they are not necessarily coming back. They have objections that you need to learn how to handle. Practice different ways to give and receive turnovers in a way that doesn’t offend customers.

2) Product Knowledge - Know how to talk to the customer in terms of not only the technical aspects of the jewelry, but the emotional aspects as well. How to describe the features and benefits in terms that the customer understands, knowing inventory levels, prices by memory, financial considerations, etc. Product knowledge is one of those things that you have to have. You may not need to use it however. If the customer needs a technical presentation, then you have to be prepared to give a technical presentation. If the customer is more emotionally driven, you may not need to use any of your technical product knowledge. Be prepared for every different type of customer.

3) Operational Knowledge - Knowing how to write up financing forms, special orders, all the aspects of repairs and maintaining jewelry, how to write up a sales slip, layaway, gift certificate, knowing how to use the tools of the trade, putting things back where they go, all the companies policies and procedures, etc. I have seen many sales lost for dumb operational reasons that just shouldn’t have happened. I once saw a jewelry salesperson lose a sale because they couldn’t find the special order form. Be prepared in all the different areas of the total store operation.

4) Customer Service Skills - Knowing how to sincerely thank a customer and invite them back, exceptional communication skills, understanding and applying non-negotiable customer service standards (i.e., if you say it, do it), no personal problems in business, satisfy every customer, etc.

No one area is any more or less important than another area. A salesperson has to be trained on all aspects of the job in order to reach their maximum potential and to capitalize on the opportunities that are present in each and every company. A trained sales staff is essential to success in today’s jewelry marketplace.

Again, the only thing that separates one jewelry store from another, in the customers’ eyes, is the people that work in the store.

Author, trainer, consultant, and speaker Brad Huisken is President of IAS Training. Mr. Huisken has authored several books and training manuals on sales and produces a Weekly Sales Training Meeting video series along with Aptitude Tests and Proficiency Exams for new hires, current sales staff and sales managers. In addition, he publishes a free weekly newsletter called “Sales Insight” For a free subscription or more information contact IAS Training at 800-248-7703, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it visit his website at www.iastraining.com.

 
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