Last updateWed, 15 Nov 2017 6am

Brad Huisken

Here’s to Hope!

I talk to hundreds if not thousands of retailers on a regular basis, and it continues to amaze me how many of them are hoping that things get better and the economy turns around.  I know that hope and about two dollars will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks, and that is about it.  To sit back and hope that things get better is going to do absolutely nothing to ensure that things do get better in your store and for your business.

If you have a competitor or two in your town, you have an opportunity for a sales and profit increase.  If you have had a competitor or two go out of business recently, you have an opportunity for a sales and profit increase.  The retail jewelry pie isn’t going to get any bigger in the near future; however, your piece of the pie can get bigger.  The day of the retail clerk are dead and gone.  The person working on your sales floor has to be a trained, professional retail salesperson.

What are you doing this year that is considerably different from last year?  What changes need to be made in the business to ensure its growth?  From a sales and sales management perspective, which is the only area with which I deal, it is time to manage the business and the people based in factual, statistical information. 

I find the biggest reason that businesses fail, or don’t reach their maximum potential is that they are managed based on opinions rather than factual information. It is time to implement non-negotiable sales and customer service standards.  It is time to leave the ego at home and realize that maybe there is a better way.

I have what I call my five silver bullets for productivity improvement. You could say that these 5 things are the great, sound business principles that need to be implemented within every organization.

They are:

  1. Goals and Objectives
  2. Coaching and Training
  3. Accountability
  4. Non-Negotiable Sales, Customer Service and Operational Standards
  5. A Training Process

For example: I know that retail jewelry store owners spend a fortune to get customers to come in the front door, and yet many owners don’t know what happened with them once they got in the front door.  The last statistic that I read said it costs $35 - $40 to get a customer to come into the store. With the industry averaging a 22% closing rate, what happens to the other 78% of the people that come in the door?  Did the sales person capture their contact information, with permission for follow-up?  Did the sales person make an appointment for a future visit?  Was the customer that didn’t buy turned over to another salesperson to give them a chance at the sale?  Or was the customer given your typical “Get out of the store free card” (a business card) and told “Come back when you are ready”? (OUCH)

When you multiply the number of customers that don’t or aren’t buying from you by $35 - $40, you can clearly see how expensive it is to have untrained people working the sales floor.  In most stores it is tens of thousands of dollars a month. The customer was ready, they were in your store, they really wanted jewelry, and yet something went wrong.  Oh well, Let’s hope they come back!

Author, trainer, consultant, and speaker Brad Huisken is President of IAS Training. Huisken has authored several books and training manuals on sales and  produces a Weekly Sales Training Meeting video series along with Aptitude Tests and Proficiency Exams for new hires, current sales staff and sales managers. In addition, he publishes a free weekly newsletter called “Sales Insight” For a free subscription or more information contact IAS Training at 800-248-7703 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Visit his website at www.iastraining.com.


Read any good books lately?

It seems to me that most jewelry store owners, sales managers, and salespeople are working in their store or business, not necessarily on their store or business.  You may be asking, what is the difference?  Working in your business is simply reacting to the day-to-day happenings within the organization.  Most are waiting on customers, buying merchandise, accounting for the merchandise and the receipts of the day, displaying merchandise, creating and running advertisements and doing various promotions. Others are working on their business by proactively seeking new information, reading as many business books and trade journals as possible, attending educational seminars and actually growing the business.

Quit making excuses jewelry retailers!

It’s time to step it up and quit making excuses about the economy, the state of the industry, the building bust, etc. or you may find yourself stepping aside!  I say this with the highest degree of respect for the industry and the people within it. Further, I am writing this article because I believe in the independent retailer and the small businessperson of this country and want to pass along knowledge to help them not only survive, but to thrive.

Making cuts!

With the economic conditions that exist today, I keep hearing jewelry retailers talking about making cuts in order to maintain profit.  I agree you must make some cuts today in order to maintain a profitable company, however, a cut in the wrong place can kill your business.  Let me caution you - do not cut your lifeline or your training budget.  Your salespeople are, without question, the most valuable asset that you have.  They are the first, last and middle impression that a customer has of your business.

Selling jewelry in the current economy

No longer can a jewelry retailer sit back and wait for customers to come to them. A jewelry store owner can’t just build the ivory palace and hope for customers to come into the store. Sometimes they aren’t coming. Savvy jewelry retailers have to go out and get customers. As a jewelry store owner I would want to take a look at every advertising dollar that I spent and make sure that I am getting a sizable return on the investment. The owner of the store, or the marketing people, have to create selling opportunities.

The use of knowledge is power

Every successful professional jewelry salesperson has a tremendous level of confidence. In order to reach a high level of confidence, salespeople must possess and use their knowledge.  Remember the first time you used a spreadsheet program?  Or the first time you programmed your old VCR? You had the knowledge to use it, but you had to practice that knowledge to have it become second nature (well, VCR’s may never be second nature to some of us... thank goodness for kids!)  So, the title of this article should be “The Use and Constant Practice of Knowledge is Power!”

Set Goals - Increase Sales!

Setting goals is an important part in every aspect of one’s life. They provide us with, among other things, direction and motivation. People generally talk about two types of goals, short-term goals and long-term goals. In addition we will explore mid-range goals, which is an under used practice in terms of their importance. All three types of goals are important in the field of sales and we will discuss why they are, and how they interact with one another.