Monday, 30 April 2012

Imagine Parody For Jewellers

Okay, maybe I've finally SNAPPED.  I just can't help but dream about a utopian retail jewellery industry.  Just Imagine...

Have a great week!

Sunday, 29 April 2012

The A-B-Cs of Selling

I’ve heard it said that the A-B-Cs of selling stood for “Always Be Closing.”  I disagree.  It’s important to ask for the sale.  It’s critical to have many ways of closing the sale at your disposal.  It’s pushy and shortsighted for everything that comes from your lips to be either a close or a set-up to a close. 

If you are like most of my independent retail jewellers, you want more than to make a single sale.  You want to build your “tribe.”  You want to establish and reinforce strong bonds with people in your community.  You want to make friends and you want to make sales.

By always working towards closing a sale, you might miss the opportunity to earn the friendship and trust of a long-term client.  Try remembering that God gave you two ears and one mouth.  Use them in that proportion.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Saturday Story Time – Vancouver Visit

I had been working in the jewellery business in Edmonton for only a couple of months back in 1987 when I received an invitation to a wedding in Vancouver.  A coworker told me that while in Vancouver, I should visit the store of Tony Cavelti.  Being young and keen, I made a point of visiting the downtown Vancouver design studio.  When I explained why I was there, Tony himself came out to greet me.  He welcomed me to the industry and asked if I wanted to see something special.  From his vault he brought out a 13.42ct emerald worth $170,000.  The color was vivid, and the small wispy inclusion was like an angel floating within the rare gemstone. 

It took only 5 minutes to make a big impression on me.  20 years later, Mr. Cavelti would receive a lifetime achievement award at the Western Canadian Jewellery Expo, and I was on-hand to congratulate him.  I shook his hand, reminded him of how we had met 20 years before and explained how I had continued on to make a fulfilling career in jewellery.  I thanked him for having been such a great ambassador of Canada’s jewellery family.

Don’t take our industry for granted.  Treat it as our best-kept secret.  If people knew how enjoyable it is to sell, design or promote great jewellery, we might have even more competition!

Shout-outs to Tony Cavelti, (the late) Varouj Arkarakas, Roy Katsuyama, Guy Forest and (the late) Dale Markwart who all took some time to encourage me on my journey through the jewellery biz.  If you’re young in the industry, introduce yourselves to some old-timers.  If you have many years of experience in this business, take some time to share stories with the up-coming generation.

Have a great weekend.

Friday, 27 April 2012


I’ve enjoyed listening to talk radio in Alberta preparing for the provincial election.  Believe it or not, it’s one way I keep my brain engaged to stave-off drowsiness while driving.  It struck me that politicians make a lot of promises, kiss a lot of babies, knock on a lot of doors and shake a ton of hands before an election.

If that’s what gets them elected, then there’s something wrong with our system.  It’s not a demonstration of what they will do if they get elected.  It’s as ludicrous as doing a dance at an audition for a guitar player.

As you campaign to get elected someone’s “personal jeweller,” I hope you’ll remember this.  When you speak to a service club, or at a function that you sponsor retell stories of extremely happy customers and how much you’ve enjoyed being a part of their special celebrations.  Rather than making campaign promises and spewing empty words, answer the question on everyone’s lips.  “What kind of experience can I expect if I elect you my personal jeweller?”  By telling actual stories, those happy customers are actually the ones campaigning for you.  And we all know that word-of-mouth advertising is the most effective!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Social Media Insanity

Is the number of venues for “social media” getting out of hand???  I’ve been asked to speak to DiGem in August about social media and also to sit on a panel at JCK Toronto on the same subject.  In order to have anything to offer, I’ve tried to involve myself and see what works.  Do I have it figured-out yet?  I don’t think anyone has because as soon as you get into a groove using one successfully, it changes or another social media site pops-up that might also benefit you.

My current take on the subject?  Facebook is the dominant social site, and brilliantly offers Facebook Pages (or “Facebook Fan Pages”) so that you can separately promote your business.  The Toddwaz Report has followers from my personal Facebook friends as well as business only connections.

I have a Twitter account, however I very seldom “tweet.”  If you regularly check your Twitter feed at least once per day, follow me @toddwaz and I will begin posting my blogs and more to Twitter as well.  The 144 character limit allows concise pronouncements, but mostly requires half of the tweet to consist of a link to “read on…”  F.Y.I. 144 characters ends part-way through the word “will” in this paragraph.  I enjoy following Brent Butt and a few other comedians who seem to enjoy the challenge of putting out amusing tweets within the character limit.

Linkedin is beginning to develop importance for those who are involved in an industry.  Today I finally broke-down and began requesting connections with numerous retailers and wholesalers.  I belong to a couple of industry discussion groups and have participated in some great debates already.

If you aren’t involved in any of these and you want to be, the first step is to throw your name into the hat.  It takes time to build your network.  It’s like starting to frequent a pub, or joining a private golf club or moving to a new town.  First you move there and then you start building your network.  You likely know a few people, so immediately you connect, friend or follow those close to you.  Then one introduces you to another and so it grows. 

As for Google+, Flickr, MyLife, Myspace, Bebo, Foursquare, Nexopia, Meetup, Pinterest and the host of other social networking venues?  You can’t be everywhere, all the time.  I’ve said before that social networking is like Cliff Claven walking into Cheers.  You look around and see who’s doing what.  You may engage in a conversation or you might not (in Cliff’s case a virtual impossibility.)  But you go there most days and pretty soon it’s a place “where everybody knows your name.”

By reading this, you are a member of the Toddwaz social network along with a select number of retailers in Western Canada.  I have been using my Facebook as the “social” part of my blog, but you’re not all Facebookers.  Now there is a new way to interact within this network.  If you have something to say, something to comment on, just click the “POST A COMMENT OR REPLY” link below.  It will take you to a page where anyone can post comments and lookup previous posts (even sorting them by subject matter.)

Socially yours,


Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Thoroughly Pleased…

My blog is a little later than normal today because I was in a rush to get my car into the dealer for some service work (okay, and I slept-in a bit).  My wife Jana had a meeting to get to, so I tried to tell the service receptionist what I wanted done and then get-out of there as quickly as possible.

He took the time to make sure he understood exactly what I expected and explained to me which items on my service schedule were overdue.  It really only took an extra two minutes for him to be completely thorough in making sure we were on the same page.  Jana made her meeting on time, and I left the dealership comfortable in the knowledge that they weren’t going to charge me for stuff I wasn’t willing to pay for.

The longer I’m in the jewellery business, the better I get at being thorough in my communications.  As some of you know, I not only sell wholesale, but work with retail clients at a few restyle and design shows. I still occasionally miss something, but by taking the extra 30 to 45 seconds to go over a work-order and point-out the karat, color, price, design elements and what will be returned, it not only helps me be thorough, it gives the client piece-of-mind that I’m earnestly committed to pleasing them.

Being thorough also allows you to cover your butt!

When taking in repairs you can communicate thoroughly by saying, “as far as I can see there are 6 claws that need retipping, so the total price will be $72 plus tax unless the goldsmith notices something I didn’t; in which case we’ll let you know before proceeding with any additional service.” 

When talking about time-frames for repairs, special orders and custom work try saying “assuming that courier schedules are on-time and there are no problems with doing a perfect job, we should have this ready for you by a week Friday.” 

Hey, life happens.  I think we all want to assume the best.  When you’re thorough and honest with your client, they’ll be much more understanding if something does go wrong.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012


When I was in retail and took my A.R.M.S. management training, one thing I learned (but never put into practice) was the use of “Spruikers.”  Or was it “Sprookahs”?  I couldn’t tell through the Aussie accents.  I’ve seen flower shops and Little Caesar’s Pizza use a highly visible person on the street with a sign to entice cars into their parking lots.  I once saw a bikini-clad babe jumping up and down on a mini-trampoline with a sign ushering traffic into a car-wash.  That’s what those Aussies were talking about.

A recent article in JCK reminded me of this great marketing technique (click headline to view aricle)

I’ve seen Michael Hill use this technique.  They have a staff member at the threshold or just outside their store with a tray reminiscent of banquet wait-staff with a tray of canap├ęs.  Why are they the only jewellery store I’ve ever seen do this? 

Most of you would claim to carry better quality jewellery than them.  Most of you believe yourselves to be brighter than their staff.  They’re growing for a reason.  If it’s not because of their product or staff, it must have something to do with marketing!

If you have better product and more knowledgeable staff, why don’t you try matching their marketing initiative?  If you have in-store specials, why not pay someone minimum wage to stand there and pass-out hand-bills for a few of the busiest hours?

It’s a numbers game, people!  Let’s say 500 people walk by your store in a day and 30 come-in.  If a sprooker lures 6% of the remaining 470 people to enter your store and 10% of them make a purchase, you’ve earned two or three new customers.  That may not seem like much, but if your average ticket is $140, you’ve more than paid for the extra staff time.  But that’s not the end of the story.  If you convert them into long-term clients, their lifetime value from personal spending and referrals is virtually immeasurable. 

If you’ve given this a try, please let me know.  I’d like to hear from those of you who’ve taken action on this front.