“If you don’t know jewelry, trust your jeweler.” It’s that elusive, intangible, most valuable asset. Hard-won but fragile, it’s the reflection of your character. Reputation. Good will. Especially in jewelry it’s all important. Although abstract, it’s a concrete asset in evaluating, selling or trading a company. It’s golden.
Like character in a person, good will is your company’s reflection. It’s you, magnified. For an independent firm - such as a store or designer - it’s the individual who’s the face of the business. Even top corporations often have a face - like “the Colonel” for KFC - to project the personal image of the company and generate good will.
It’s what PR is all about. Building your brand, your name. Everything we do adds to or undercuts our good will. Politicians today speak of accumulating “political capital” - essentially political good will. As you accumulate capital through profitable sales, acquisition of inventory, equipment and real estate, you’re also building a parallel intangible, but equally valuable, asset - good will.
There’s a movement afoot to get back to basics. It’s partly a reaction against the 1980s “greed is good” mentality. It’s partly a reaction to fast internet start ups - and shut downs - that can’t be relied on. It’s partly a reaction to large faceless corporations where no one seems to be accountable. Customers today seek companies with character who stand behind their products. In the end people want to deal with people they know and trust. They value ethical sourcing of products, companies who are socially and environmentally aware.
Old-fashioned good will. Generate it and it will come back to you. Do you patronize certain companies because you know and trust them? Do you avoid certain companies because of a bad experience with them or what you’ve heard about them? So do your clients.
Good will hunting? Here’s how to cultivate it:
• First, do no harm. In this era of instant communication - the internet and Facebook - everything is immediately transparent. Customers rate in real time their experience with companies. Don’t want negative responses? Don’t let any customer leave unsatisfied. Make it right. In PR and politics it’s called damage control. Nip any difficulties in the bud. Conduct your own evaluations. Offer room for customer feedback on in-store surveys, your website or Facebook page, and follow up with any suggestions or difficulties.
• The customer is king. Cultivate your clients. Call or e-mail them when you get a new piece you think would be perfect for them. Remember their birthdays and anniversaries. Offer little add-ons - free ring cleaning, free gift wrapping. It’s that little “something extra” that customers remember. Go the extra mile. Legends are legion of jewelers who delivered the special engagement ring in the nick of time and won lifelong loyalty.
• Every part is a reflection of the whole - your inventory, displays, staff, store, advertising and promotions. Like small mirrors they project who you are. Every reflection should burnish your image.
• Get involved! Are you active in community organizations? Do you donate to charities? Participate in foundations? Networking establishes new connections and builds trust. It shows you care.
As in business, so in life. While you’re maximizing profit, growing capital, you’re also building intangible capital of lasting value for generations to come. Building good will is building your legacy.