Friday, 31 May 2013

JCK Vegas Day 1 - Seminars

While all of the main-show vendors are setting up, Luxury exhibitors are busy selling, AGTA vendors are up and running and the conference halls were quite busy with seminars.  The day kicked-off at 8:00am with a breakfast session featuring Barbara Corcoran.  She is a New York rags to riches real estate broker, who you might recognize if you watch The Shark Tank.

Although during question time she offended pretty much the whole room by admitting that she’s a millionaire who doesn’t wear fine jewellery, she shared some very inspirational lessons from her 65 years of living.  She encouraged us to be good at failure; not striving for it, but tempting it often, and learning from it.  She shared how she built her own celebrity by writing free reports with well-researched information to establish herself as an expert.  When she was setting-up real estate offices, she always could base each location on two key people; and expander (creative, sales and development oriented) and a container (organized administrative type.)

She went on to urge that “the best leaders kiss down,” not up.  By that she shared stories of pouring her life into the people below her who were responsible for making her business money.  Even though some in the room felt they didn’t have the kind of capital that she began to amass once she sold her business for $65Million, she admonished that small guys have creativity, and during tough times when big money people stop spending it, creativity can be poured-out in order to increase your market share.  The final two points of her presentation were that “fun is good for business” and “you have the right to be there.” 

The stories were excellent, and as an occasional watcher of Shark Tank, she was pretty candid about her fellow panelists.  She also had a few things to say about “The Donald” who cost her $500,000 in lawyer fees to collect a $5Million commission.

After the keynote presentation, I attended sessions on “Successful Online Marketing and Web Presence,” “Working with new alloys and Metals,” “Pricing Stratagies for Custom Design,” and Brad Huisken’s “Sixteen Principles of Sales Management.”  I may go into detail on some in future articles, however even though he picked on me a little bit, Brad shared some particularly great wisdom.  The overall theme of his sixteen principles had to do with taking ownership over your salesperson’s success.  He has seen a lot of stores where the management is pretty laissez faire.  He acted-out a manager telling a sales associate to “go sell more,” contrasting that with one who says, “Hey, I noticed that your average sale is down 8% from the store average, so I’m going to watch your next few sales presentations and see if we can’t identify a few things we need to work on in order to improve that.”  If you’re not having weekly sales training and sitting down with each of your staff individually for 15 minutes per week, he considers you “out of touch.”  For a copy of his notes, just email me and I'll ask Brad if I can forward them to you.  There's lots of good stuff in there.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Doing it Right

As I look forward to Thursday's seminars at JCK Las Vegas, I’m reminded of Brad Huisken’s saying, “sales training doesn’t work…” Huh?  He really said that?  Further, he explains, “…sales training doesn’t work if it’s an event.  It has to be a process.”

After completing my Spring visits around Western Canada, I’ve been doing some renos at home.  The new home we moved into in March isn’t exactly the Taj Mahal, it needs some TLC and personal touches before we can call it our own.  The flooring guy said they could install the new lino in about a day, and the carpet could be done in another two days.  One corner of our basement had to be filled-in as the pad had sunk long ago and two layers of previous carpet failed to hide the flaw.  Before the flooring goes down, the baseboards have to come off.  If we’re replacing the baseboards with a newer style, the door casings won’t match, so might as well take them off too.  If you’re going to replace all of the trim, it’s an ideal time to paint.  In order to paint, there’s some patching that needs to be done.  Oh, and by the way, the exposed concrete footing wall should be framed, insulated, drywalled, trimmed and painted too.  Okay, so the three days of flooring installation requires three weeks of other work; without which the new features will be dragged down by everything else in the room.

Going to JCK Vegas to attend a sales training event is like the carpet installation.  One or two days and “all’s good,” right?  Wrong.  Without some sales experience, you won’t know what the heck they’re talking about.  Without product knowledge, you’ll have a hard time filling in the blanks that the sales trainer is referring to when she talks about answering objections, or romancing the product.  Without an instore sales manager guiding your attempts at putting the training into practice, you might apply new knowledge to the wrong scenarios. 

Learning to be a superstar jewellery seller is no easy one-day fix.  It has to be important enough to spend the time continuously to learn, practice, refine and perfect.  If you’re not going to Vegas, pull that sales training kit off of the shelf, and give it a once-over this weekend.  Think about how nervous you were the first week on the sales floor, and how much more proficient you are today.  Now imagine another 5, 10 or 20 years, and how much more effective you’ll be at serving your clients then.  There’s always more to learn, and until you’re closing, adding-on and gaining referrals from 100% of the people who walk into your store, you’re not done.

Proverbs 1:2-5 “for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young – let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance…”

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Best wishes!

Those of you who deal with Courtney Gold surely know my friend Peter Keymer.  Pete has been handling outside sales in the Lower Mainland of Vancouver along with inside sales, marketing support, inventory management and photography.  Peter will be retiring at the end of May, and we will miss him greatly.  I want to extend a personal debt of gratitude for all of the ways he’s helped me, inspired me and made me laugh.

If you know of someone who may be a candidate to join the Customgold / Courtney Gold family’s sales team, will you please have them contact Steve Parker at 1-800-563-8949.  The ideal candidate will be looking for a full-time position, but those carrying complimentary jewellery lines will be considered.

Also, best wishes to John and Claudette Craft on their anniversary.  If John’s visiting your store today, remind him to call his wife and sell him something fabulous to bring home to her!

Monday, 13 May 2013

Copping a ‘tude

One day I had it illustrated to me in vivid side-by-side detail.  Two ladies came to see me in my store.  Both could have been sisters.  Same build, same hands, same finger size.  One said, “I can’t wear rings that are too narrow, I mean look at my hands.”  The other later told me, “I need something quite fine with these short fingers.”  And then it hit me.  It’s not about the length of fingers, it’s about their self-image: their attitude.  Thereafter, I paid better attention to the intensity of color they wear, the boldness of their accessories and the amount of makeup worn.  A brassy realtor with big hair, massive bejeweled hand-bag and outrageous high heels is going to be a good candidate for my biggest, boldest designs!  It’s all about the attitude.

Don’t we wish there were more “big attitudes” out there?  Well, we can have a hand in encouraging that.  Whenever I see the lady with her three-piece wedding set, anniversary band, family ring and her mom’s wedding set all piled-up onto her left ring finger, it’s a great opportunity to encourage her to spread things out a bit.  Since she’s been wearing 15 rings on one finger, she is open to wearing something wider on another finger, but might need some enCOURAGEment.  If you talk about the attitude of wearing bigger bolder jewellery; there are very few women who don’t wish they were a bit more fashionable, and exuded a bit more of a confident attitude.  I enjoy the challenge of getting a lady to put a ring on a middle finger or index finger for the first time, because it opens-up a whole new world of possibilities in her jewellery wardrobe.

Make it your personal mission to expand our industry by claiming new territory on every customer’s hands.  And when they’ve got rings for every finger, start working on rings for every occasion, and color palette.  If you believe that having more jewellery than you can wear on a daily basis is excessive and wasteful, you should probably examine your own attitude.  Start by searching through the store’s inventory every single day to see which jewellery would be ideal for the outfit you’re wearing and how you’re feeling.  Then imagine having such a vast jewellery wardrobe yourself.  There are ladies coming into your store with the means to build a stunning collection, and you should be excited to help them do it; if you’ve got the right attitude.

Monday, 6 May 2013

More Ranting about EGL & Vegas

When I get engaged in conversations about EGL certificates, I’ve used the following analogy.  (With apologies to Hyundai drivers – Ron’s got a nice one!)  I say that an EGL cert is like Hyundai Motors saying that their economical Elantra has 500 horsepower.  “Well it isn’t equivalent to BMW horsepower; these are Hyundai horsepower…”  Do you think that consumer protection would allow that to happen?  EGL can choose to make a business out of providing knowingly deceptive diamond certificates, but why haven’t they been prohibited from using GIA nomenclature to do so???  That’s one of the questions I want to further investigate while at JCK Las Vegas.

Speaking about Vegas, I’ll be down there once again.  I can be found around the seminar halls at Mandalay Bay on Thursday.  Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings I’ll be at the Lashbrook Designs booth until around noon.  If you’re interested in starting your Lashbrook journey at the show in Vegas, I’ll take appointments until 11:30 on those three days, so call me to book your time.  Their booth was very busy at The Smart Show, so appointments are STRONGLY recommended. 

Beyond that, Steve, Lilian and I will be meeting with Courtney Gold suppliers, looking at gemstones and trends for Customgold and we will of course look forward to enjoying the fabulous social climate.  If you're going, make sure you seek-out the Canadian Jewellers Association booth on Sunday night at the pool party (with Maroon 5!!!); that's where all of the Canucks congregate.  We had a great time last year, and by Sunday night, Mrs. Toddwaz will be joining me, in case you have yet to meet Jana.

For those who can’t make it, I’ll let you know what you’re missing via The Toddwaz Report.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

How to Spot a Good Prospect

Two disparate thoughts crashed into my brain this morning.  The first was how difficult it is to find good staff; especially among the younger generation.  Many seem to lack the drive to acquire product knowledge and the confidence to ask for the sale.  It’s not universal by any means, but I hear the frustrations from retailers trying to identify effective prospects.

A second thought entered my head as I drove by my old highschool.  It brought-back memories of playing little league baseball on those fields, and the outstanding experience I had taking drama in highschool.  Our drama program was the best.  To our teacher, “Agrell” (Ken Agrell-Smith) drama was his life.  His dream was to one day portray King Lear, and he exuded incredible enthusiasm for stage-craft.  He confidently empowered us to direct and produce our own one-act plays in grade 12, and we always won scholarships at the Provincial one-act festival.  Being part of a most excellent team effort gave me the first-hand knowledge that even if you don’t know everything you need to know, you can work hard, acquire knowledge and achieve great things.  I’m not saying that I’m anything special, but I believe that what I achieved in my dramatic activities gave my confidence a huge boost at a young age.

Two conclusions.  If you have kids or grand-kids, look around and see where excellent leadership has a history of outstanding results, and get those kids involved.  Secondly, if anyone you interview has achieved highly in a team-sport, military, music, dance, academics or other cooperative achievements, that should be a sure sign that you’re looking at a good prospect.

If you're a Facebooker, follow Customgold on Facebook!