Sunday, 30 September 2012

FINTRAC Audit Report

Thanks to Lawrence Brendel of Forest of Jewels in Edmonton who has offered to share his FINTRAC experience with The Toddwaz Report.

Hi Todd,

My FINTRAC Compliance Examination was conducted on Friday morning and didn’t take the five hours that was noted in their letter to me. In fact, the compliance officer was here for less than an hour. The whole process ran smoothly and she was very pleasant to work with.

FINTRAC gave me a month to prepare for the examination but of course I left it to the last minute. They requested two written documents from me in preparation for the examination. First were my store’s policies and procedures for compliance with PCMLTFA (Proceeds of Crime Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Act) and second was a risk based assessment pertaining to the level and types of risk that are specific to my business. I was supposed to send copies of these documents to the compliance officer 5 days before the exam but I forgot to do this. This failure was noted on my file. I decided that it would be in my best interest to be fully prepared on Friday morning. I was.

I thought I was quite diligent in writing my store’s Compliance Regime but at the end of the exam I was noted for a couple of deficiencies. One was an omission in how to deal with Terrorist Property. “What?” I asked the compliance officer. “How would I be able to distinguish this from regular property? Give me some examples?” She wasn’t too clear in her answer but I still need to have a written procedure for dealing with it. My deficiencies will be outlined in a forthcoming letter and I will need to address them.

It was also mentioned to me before the exam that FINTRAC wanted to see my bank statements specifically relating to cash deposits. I guess I didn’t hear or read that but I didn’t have them with me at exam time. However, the compliance officer was satisfied with viewing the monthly sales reports on my computer. She reviewed the last 6 months.

The Canadian Jewellery Association has an Anti-Money Laundering and Compliance Kit on their website under “Members Area”. I strongly recommend reading it and using it for staff training. It outlines what FINTRAC is about and what is required in your policies and procedures and your risk assessment. I would like to thank the CJA and JVC for putting this kit together. It is a great aid.

The Compliance Exam and the preparation leading up to it were not an unpleasant experience. My only regret is that I did not have time for a coffee with Todd but I’ll hit him up for a free one next time!

Lawrence Brendel
Forest of Jewels, Edmonton

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Social No-Sell?

A new article in JCK claims that Social networking sights tend to drive only 1% of sales.  It did say that, “social media posts are a great way to discover new products, brands, trends, or retailers.”  Don’t write it off yet.  The study also reveals that up to 30% of sales to repeat client sales start with a direct email.

Here’s what I see about this study.  Start with a good email list of loyal clients, and a broader social network made-up of some loyals and some random “likers.”  Compose and send your email campaign to earn those repeat purchases, but post the same information on Facebook.  With hardly any extra effort that 1% compared to the 30% represents a 3.3% increase in sales just by cutting and pasting from one media to another.  I believe that social networking will have a bigger impact on future sales, as you learn to use is more effectively.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Pop Quiz...

To once again quote Dennis Hopper, “Pop quiz, hotshot” suppose FINTRAC gives you a few days to organize for a compliance audit, “what do you do?”  Well, they’re out there ladies and gentlemen.  I rendezvoused with a client to drop off an order and he didn’t have time for coffee because he was busy cramming the massive FINTRAC manual in preparation for a five-hour session with the auditor today.

If you don’t know what FINTRAC is, it’s the Canadian government’s effort to monitor larger purchases to guard against money-laundering and other illegal financial slights-of-hand.  If you know what it is, but have never given it much thought, time to browse through the requirements by clicking HERE.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

"What do you Think?"

How do you handle it when a client deciding between two or three items asks you for your opinion?  Well, here are a few points to consider.

1.     If you’ve had enough dialogue, you should be able to give an opinion based upon preferences they’ve already told you about.
2.     When you sense that they are more worried about what other people think, then you can call-in one or two available staff, or even another shopper to give an unbiased opinion
3.     Double-tap!  If the client keeps coming back to the same design over and over again, but needs some encouragement to make a decision you can bring-in other staff, and when indicating the choices simply “double-tap” the favorite one to silently ask their support.

Once it’s down to two or three, it’s time for some closing questions:

1.     Test closes
a.     If your husband surprised you with this one, would you be amazed with his choice?
b.     If I was a really mean salesperson and put a gun to your head and told you to pick one, which one would it be?
c.      If we had to eliminate one of these three, which one would have to wait for a future special event?
d.     Take-away threat: if I told you that someone just called and gave me their credit card number to hold this piece and that you couldn’t have it would you be disappointed?
2.     Direct closes:
a.     Summary close: you said you wanted something wide, open and high, and this one ticks all of those boxes.  Is this the one?
b.     This one design keeps on calling your name, and all others seem to be falling short.  Will you give this one a good home?

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Three Month Countdown!

Three months until Christmas!  Is it too soon to talk about that?  No way.  Don’t forget to mention it whenever you can.  It’s never too early to plant seeds for Christmas purchases.  Three months, 100 days, twelve weeks, ten weeks, two months, and so-on.  Unless you’d rather sell everything in the last 14 days before Christmas, start now. 

You’re doing your clients a favor by suggesting that they buy or start layaways now while your selection is at it’s absolute best!  The more you sell now, the more attention you will have to give to the last minute shoppers.