Columnists Brad Huisken Make 2014 your best year ever!

Make 2014 your best year ever!

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Last year is gone. Some of you are glad to see it go, others may have had their best year ever, or maybe you broke even. It really doesn’t matter. The past is behind us and there is nothing we can do to change history. You can, however, make the decision to make this year your best year ever. Keep in mind though that in life nothing ever changes until you decide that it needs to change.

I have always believed that if a jewelry store-owner or manager can create a culture of personal growth and development within their organization, it will be successful and reach levels that you have trouble even imagining.  Retail is changing, the jewelry business is certainly changing, the way people shop and buy merchandise has changed, and I know that it will continue to change.

If you keep doing things the same way you have always done things, how could you expect any different results?

I have talked many times, about what I call the Five Silver Bullets to productivity improvement.  These Five Silver Bullets could also be called Good, Sound, Business Principles.  These things need to be implemented and incorporated into all aspects of a retail jewelry store today.

They are:

1) Goals – set on three levels – minimum, goal and stretch goal. Your people will achieve incredible results if challenged, given the tools needed, and rewarded for hitting the numbers. People will improve what you inspect, not what you expect - if you can attach a statistic to it, give it a goal, track it, train your people how to do it and then reward them for getting it done.

2) Accountability – on all levels, including but not limited to; sales, profit, personnel, merchandise, and marketing. The single biggest reason that businesses and individuals fail, or don’t reach their maximum potential, is because they are managed based on opinions rather than facts. Track the numbers, have the statistical background info and manage your people based on factual information. People can and will only improve in areas where they are deficient. If you can’t point out their deficiencies and coach and train them on how to improve, then how could they do any better? Further, never compare one individual to another individual - only compare an individual to store averages.

3) Training and Coaching – The four areas are Sales Techniques, Product Knowledge, Operational Knowledge, and Customer Service. The job of training and coaching is never done. Training cannot be done in weekly or monthly meetings, through reading a book or listening to DVDs. It is a 24/7/365 job that the sales manager has in training the people. Yes, you need to have a morning huddle, weekly staff meetings, and individual weekly sit down one-on ones with each team member, listen in on 3 or 4 presentations per week and talk to your people. There are five criteria for training. They have to hear it, read it, write it, role-play it and be observed doing it in live presentations. Only after all 5 criteria have been met, on every area that people need training and knowledge, can you say you have trained your people.

4) Non-Negotiable Sales, Customer Service, and Operational Standards – All great companies have non-negotiable standards. These are those things within your organization that you will not and cannot allow to be compromised in your company.  For example: Thanking customers, turning over a sale that is going south, clienteling, how a repair is written, attempting to close and adding-on, how the store is opened and closed, the way the telephone is answered, protecting the integrity of the productivity statistics, to name just a few. Sales Standards are those things that will have a direct effect on sales and profits. Customer Service Standards are those things that will have a direct effect on first and last impressions that a customer has of the organization. Operational Standards are those things that will have a direct effect on how the business is run.

5) A Training Process – Jewelry stores need a training process in the same four areas, sales techniques, product knowledge, customer service, and operations.  You can’t assume anything. Jewelry retailers need a formal system. Call me goofy, but I recommend my training programs. However, if you don’t use mine, use somebody’s. There is a ton of great information available and it still amazes me how many people simply don’t know what they don’t know and don’t know that they don’t know it. Things like; how to handle customer objections, how to add-on effectively, how to smoothly turn over a sale, what to do when a customer says, “I’m just looking,” how to create or increase the perception of value and on and on.

The retail jewelry pie isn’t going to get any bigger in the near future, however, your portion of the retail jewelry pie can increase substantially.  It is through the consistent application of good, sound business principles, installing the five silver bullets, having the right people within the organization, and creating an environment of personal growth that will almost guarantee success well into the future. Note, I said having the right people within the organization – I heard this quote recently – think about it:

If you can’t change the people, then change the people!

I will be the first to admit that it isn’t easy.  There is no short cut to the success counter.  It takes a lot of hard work, self-determination, enthusiasm, drive, leaving your ego at home, perseverance, motivation, and extra effort to make a store or a business what you have always dreamed that it would be and what your customers hope that it will be when they walk in the front door. 

I am reminded of a plaque that I have had on my desk for thirty years, it reads:

“Enthusiasm is a catalyst, when added to wisdom and experience, it can produce small miracles. If you want to turn hours into minutes, renew your enthusiasm.”

I can think of no better time than right now to renew your enthusiasm for your store or business and make things happen. If you are an individual salesperson reading this article there is nothing stopping you from pursuing these strategies on your own. If you are the owner or manager, be the leader that your people expect you to be, and that you want to be. It is all available for the taking.

These are all things that you need to do. If you are wondering how to do them then take three days and attend our Business Strategies & Solutions Seminar. These issues, along with dozens of others, will be answered for you by me, and six other of the most powerful, knowledgeable, and engaging, trainers, consultants and successful retailers that I have met in my 38 years in the business.


Author, trainer, consultant, and speaker Brad Huisken is President of IAS Training. 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 or 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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