Friday, 30 November 2012

Time to Get Serious!

Okay, it’s the last day of November.  Fellas, it’s time to shave off those ridiculous moustaches.  Time to prepare for the most lucrative season of the year.  For those of you who don’t know why last Friday was “black Friday,” it’s because retail businesses in the US are said to be working at a loss all year (or “in the red”), until this date.  It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Stand-up straight.  Check your breath.  Smile.  Remember your training.  This is not only the most profitable time of the year, it’s your biggest chance to make a great impression on new clients and earn a lifetime’s worth of business from them, their family and their friends.

·      Listen actively to people
·      Don’t prejudge based on looks
·      Be able to quickly prequalify your store
·      Be security conscious and effective with the rule of three
·      Sell from the top-down to increase your average sale
·      Don’t be a smarty-pants
·      Don’t forget to ask for the sale
·      Work as a team to make sales
·      Do this all well, and you’ll definitely have fun this Christmas season

These are a few posts to review in order to prepare yourself for the season.  For more, visit the blogsite and scroll-down on the left to select “selling jewellery” from the “Labels” menu, and it will show over 150 selling tips.  It’s my most popular subject.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

WCJExpo in Toronto?

Canadian Jeweller Magazine has announced that it will be the media sponsor for the Western Canadian Jewellery Expo in Edmonton, along with their new show in Toronto.  Having worked closely with the Edmonton show in years past, I can tell you that show manager, Lilie Ford has been responsible for key improvements to the Edmonton show in terms of decorating, organization, events and retailer experience.  I love what they’ve done in Edmonton!

What makes the WCJE think they can succeed where Reed/JCK has failed in Toronto?  Here are three ways they can provide a strong sustainable show in Toronto:

1.     Like the WCJE, continue to base the show around a stable core of Canadian suppliers, rather than stuffing the show with whomever you can strong-arm into exhibiting.  Quality, not quantity.
2.     Form a strategic alliance with the CJG, and work together to give their members times of exclusive access and group-specific benefits; while giving suppliers the simplicity of setting-up only once.
3.     Leverage economies of scale to market more effectively to retailers.  The message of a stronger national identity to the show along with stronger marketing to retailers should result in better results for Toronto.

I have no inside-information that pertains to the potential cooperation of WCJE and CJG.  I just think the regime-change in Toronto is an opportunity to explore closer ties between the buying group show and the broader trade event.

Monday, 26 November 2012


The four week count-down is on.  Black Friday which somehow slipped into Canada is over.  Santa’s in the malls and Christmas carols can be heard, but not like this one…  Here’s my own Christmas carol for jewellers.  I hope you enjoy!  

Merry Christmas, and may God bless us, everyone!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

What if?

Here’s a great selling tip.  Let’s say you’ve got an indecisive buyer in front of you who isn’t actually going to make the final arrangements (you’re dealing with her, but her husband or boyfriend is going to buy it and “surprise” her with it.)  She’s got the paralysis of analysis.  She just can’t decide between this one or that one.

Interrupt the discussion about the merits of one or the other.  This could go on forever.  Grab the one design that you think she favors and simply say, “if he came in here, bought this and “surprised” you with it, you’d be pretty thrilled wouldn’t you?”  This is what I call a “gut-check.”  Another good example of a gut-check is when you say, “if I took two of these three choices away because they were sold to someone else, which would you miss the least?”  Or a bit of a shocking gut-check is when you say, “I’m making the choice for you and it will be THIS one.  Now, how does that make you feel?”

The key is to help her imagine owning that design.  I like the first test-close the best.  It adds some discretion to the “giver” and reinforces that as a gift, it’s a huge bonus for her to have had some input to ensure it’s a selection she will enjoy.

Friday, 23 November 2012

So You Wanna be a Trusted Advisor?

In social media, you can join groups and become an “active participant”, or you can lead a group and try to become a “trusted advisor.”  Over this past year, at 281 posts into my goal of 300, I’ve enjoyed positive feedback, negative feedback, and I’ve gotten a few people’s backs up.  If you want to establish yourself as a thought leader, you will need to challenge others’ assumptions.  If you don’t, you’re boring.  How can you be engaging if you only ever rehash commonly held truths and avoid controversy?

If you are running or contemplating a social media campaign for your clients, my humble suggestion is this: make humble suggestions.  Do your research, present good consumer jewellery information.  Make your readers better informed consumers.  Once they know more about gems, quality, current trends and industry news they’ll gravitate to the source of that information.  If they stray to another retailer and ask them a few questions about issues you’ve addressed; and the retailer answers poorly or differently from you, they will only come to trust you more.  After all, everything they read on the computer holds more weight than what a retail sales clerk at the shopping mall says.

Look at your social media campaign in terms of your position on the football field.  An effectively advertised promotion is like a passing-play that can gain you a lot of yardage.  Your social media campaign is a running play that has a lower risk, but on average moves the ball only a few yards at a time.  Social media is about moving the ball a few yards at a time and constantly improving your field position; taking you from “someone I might do some business with” towards the goal of “I’d be a fool not to buy all of my jewellery from you.”

For those of you helping out with “Haitian Heroes Go for Gold”, check-out the latest video, and repost to your friends and followers.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Jim Dingwell

One of the best practical jokes I ever executed went kind of like this: one day while my coworker Jim Dingwell was away from the store for just a few minutes, I removed the screw from an arm of his reading glasses.  When he returned, he was followed closely by a couple looking for a diamond ring.  Well, they sat at the diamond desk and began talking about diamonds.  When it came time to ask the details of one particular design, Jim ceremoniously grabbed his reading glasses and with a deft flip of his wrist gave them a flick to extend the arm, and voila … the arm came off and flew into the face of the lady seated across from him.

Jim was quite embarrassed and quick to blame the cheap 3-for-$10 cheaters for the malfunction, but I had to stifle my reaction.  After all was said and done, I think he eventually sold those forgiving souls a ring.

It wasn’t long after they left that I confessed and tried through uncontrollable laughter to apologize.  Being a former military policeman, and chief of police in a small town in Ontario, he was pretty good at keeping his composure, but on that day, I managed to shake the unflappable Jim Dingwell.  With a great sense of humor, he was usually on the giving side of jokes and jibes.

Some of you know him from the retail jewellery scene around Edmonton and others might recognize him as the security coordinator from the Western Canadian Jewellery Expo.  I know him because he was a friend who I once managed to get the best of with a goofy prank.  Jim passed away on Tuesday and will be missed.  If you knew Jim, his obituary is in today’s Edmonton Journal.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

New Planet Discovered Made of Diamond!

Some of the best advertising creative has been written by people who were nearly completely loony.  Whoever came-up with “Movember” was a genius, but can you imagine his or her presentation to the board of directors at the Men’s Health Institute?  “You see, since mustaches are so traditionally manly, we tell guys to grow mustaches in the month of November, except we’ll call it MOvember and …”

I’m sure there were skeptics.  Do you consider it wild and crazy to wear matching T-shirts for a promotional event?  How about wearing lab-coats and stethoscopes for a photo-shoot branding you as a “diamond doctor” or “jewellery practitioner.”  What about Dick Jewell’s photo of him sitting backwards on a horse with the caption “Time to Remount?” to promote his jewellery restyling event?  Do I recall a story about a jeweller in Saskatchewan who brought a bull into her store?

Given the zillion advertising impressions that consumers are subjected to every day, make sure that an inflammatory or outrageous headline or curious image is used to draw people’s attention.  Without a little bit of creativity, most conventional advertisements that list the services you provide are a complete waste of money.

…By the way, I did listen to a news article recently about a distant planet who some scientists believe is mostly carbon-based; and therefore could have a significant layer of diamonds between its’ mantle and the cooler surface.  I’m trying to get a ticket on the next shuttle there.

Monday, 19 November 2012

The Electronic Grapevine

Re: Social Media Redefined… (see two articles down)

Marie writes: My comment would be that this is a double edged sword. I think that some social media users feel very free to say whatever comes to mind. We all know what happens when there are no facts involved and, before you know it, crazy opinions and postings become accepted fact.

Thanks Marie for taking the time to add to the conversation.  One of the best reasons to not only join, but also lead social network groups is that you are able to see those crazy opinions about jewellery, dispute false facts about jewellery and sew good information about jewellery.  If we become a source of consistently good and helpful information in social network spheres, we can build-up “trusted advisor” points.  When we are trusted, and our audience knows what we do, selling to them becomes much easier.

If you think you can step into a social network to sell and begin calling the shots, it doesn’t work that way.  You’re a party crasher.  You have no “creds.”  When Hamas and the I.D.F. begin firing jibes at each other via Twitter, it’s mostly to gain attention by mass-media outlets.  It worked.  The novelty of military factions tweeting earned them some ink.  Could Twitter morph into a valid source for up-to-the-minute news?  Probably not.  Will the social media public go to credible mass-media news sources to verify supposed facts and news from the Twitterverse?  I hope so.

Social media is evolving, but now that the “grapevine” is electronically viewed on high-tech expensive computing devices it still doesn’t make gossip, conjecture and rumors more accurate.  You can opt-out and let it happen or you can opt-in and become a force for positive and accurate information.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Have Fun!

<Follow-up from yesterday’s Social Media Redefined – coming tomorrow.  I received a very thoughtful comment from my buddy Marie.  Also coming soon a new Toddwaz Music Video!!!  You don’t wanna miss this one>

Okay, so we’re brushing-up on our sales skills.  We’re remembering to greet creatively, engagingly and enthusiastically, we’re reviewing product knowledge and brushing-up on our 5-steps, 7-steps or whatever selling system you subscribe to.  This is the time of year where we can use this knowledge and these skills the most often.

Whew!  Sounds like a lot of work.  Actually it’s not.  This is the time of year when we get to have the most fun.  The scales are tipped in our favor because we have the element of urgency on our side.  No matter what objections you run into, nobody can say they have more than 37 days, or 10 days or 1 more day before Christmas.  It’s on the 25th this year.  I checked.

Selling can be serious business.  It can be tactical, and it can test your knowledge and patience.  At this time of year it should also be fun.  Go ahead and measure your success by dollars in the cash register, but pay attention to how many people leave your store with a smile on their face or chuckling under their breath at a laugh you’ve shared with them.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…