Columnists Ivan Levi Thinking outside your store

Thinking outside your store

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Do you want to bring new business into your store without increasing your advertising budget or standing outside your store with a huge sign? Of course you do.

When I talk to owners across the country about increasing sales I hear over and over the same techniques being used - often with nominal results. Now is the time to think outside your jewelry store and try something new.


 

I will present to you two ideas that can significantly increase traffic into your business - and best of all there is minimal - or no up front investment.

Let's explore these two strategies:
First, have you ever encountered a superior sales person that amazed you with their professionalism and technique? You can encounter this person when buying a car, home, electronics, or even clothing. A superior salesperson stands out in a crowd.

But what if you could harness their professionalism for your own store without hiring them? Now you can.

Approach the owner of the store (along with the salesperson) to create a mutual referral network that offers a discount by mentioning your name or theirs. They send business to you and you send business to them. Not only does this create additional business for you and your partner store, but also goodwill within your local business market.

How does this work? Successful salespeople know how to effectively create a conversation with their customers while selling (I call this "information gathering"). During the course of communication with the customer, if it is brought up that they like the large screen TV in your store and they are going to be shopping for one, you can send them to your mutual referral contact at the electronics store.

At the same time, the electronic store salesperson is using the same information gathering technique (successful associates employ this gem regularly!) and you also receive business. What a fantastic set-up.

Briefly, there are two additional rules to ensure this strategy works. First, keep the lines of communication open between you and your mutual referral contacts through regular phone calls and handwritten notes - and second, remember to send business to them also! Be sure to create a two-way street.

For the second suggestion, why not go a step further and contact a large business or corporation in your area and offer a corporate discount for their employees - you could even print official looking discount cards with their company name. This is business you would not normally have, but because you took action and contacted the corporation, they win and you win. What a great combination!

The question I'm often asked is what type of discount (if any) should be offered? My suggested rule of thumb is always making it worthwhile for the new customer. There are two strategies you can incorporate: First, is a 10% discount on any purchase - very straightforward. Second, due to more and more ‘non-discount' stores across the country, a coupon of $50 with a minimum purchase of $100 is a successful approach.

Whichever strategy is used, remember this is free business that normally would not have walked into your store - unless you had tried creative marketing. Having others work for you in your local market is a smart and profitable way to generate untapped business.

Thinking outside the predictable marketing dogma creates new opportunities and new clients. Use these low cost techniques to think outside your store in order to bring business inside your store.

Ivan Levi is a sales trainer and president of Ivan Alan SolutionsTM, a Chicago based company that understands the independent jeweler's subtleties that puts them in a league of their own. Ivan can be reached at 800-235-1918.

 

 
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