Hey store owners and store managers, have you asked yourself lately how your sales associates are doing? Are they happy? Do they love coming to work every day? Do they get along and respect each other? Do they respect you? Do they stay, or are you constantly having to rehire and retrain? Do they have the energy and passion that you do for your business so it can grow and be successful? Don’t just ask yourself these questions, ask them.
I think about how I felt every time I returned from a buying trip, or the annual JCK Show. It would always renew my energy for sales, customer service, diamonds and gems! I felt encouraged. I felt like I was in the “right” job, it didn’t feel like work.
As a store manager on these trips I was able to think and network with people that did the same thing I did. We encouraged one another. I felt energized. I wanted to take all the ideas and merchandise and make even more sales and make more customers happy! Most sales associates don’t get to take these trips. That kind of thing is rarely in a company’s budget, but it is important to encourage and energize them, too. Make sure your sales associates see that your business, the company they work for, is actually their own business encapsulated in yours. Like their own entity, that they can grow within the store and within themselves.
When I started in the jewelry industry, I was a part-time sales associate. I then went full-time after I felt the rush of my first bridal sale! Then I became an assistant manager, and quickly was promoted to manager. Somewhere during that time I realized that I was running my very own business inside my store owner’s walls. I was selling my ability, my preparation, my knowledge and my reputation to every customer. I would make sure I sold them on the store and its quality and reputation too. I wanted to make sure when they came back to the store for any jewelry needs they not only came back to our store, but they came to see me.
I believe every one of your sales associates needs to understand the benefits of not only promoting the company but themselves as well. And if you are paying them commission, it will be all the sweeter for them to see their work and salesmanship as their own start-up, that they can be an entrepreneur of themselves. How encouraging is that? How much energy can that create?
There are many ways to give your staff this energy. Make sure you subscribe to media like the Mid-America or Southern Jewelry News and other industry publications. Point out interesting articles or copy them for your staff to read by hanging them up in the break-room. Have fashion magazines in your break room that heavily promote jewelry in their advertisements. Subscribe to online industry publications for the young staff that love the web. When you are getting ready to take a buying trip or are heading to a jewelry show, make sure you tell the staff where you are going and the purpose of your trip. Ask them their thoughts on current trends or jewelry they feel customers would respond to and purchase. If there are new vendors or lines you are interested in, let your staff know and ask their opinion. Set up a group text with them and while you are gone send a text each day briefing them on what you have seen or bought and encourage them to steer the store ship while you are away! When you return have a meeting and brief them on the things you learned and the ideas you had. Ask for their feedback on merchandise and merchandising. Make training available on a semi-annual basis at the least. Do it yourself or hire someone. Store owners and store managers need to be mentors, to have the desire to encourage the sales staff daily. Listen to your sales associates’ ideas and implement the good ones. Reward their ideas and obtained sales goals with words of encouragement along with any monetary rewards, understand that both are important and will go a very long way.
To grow your business and have financial success, help them grow their business. Give them energy. Give them encouragement. It will set a tone for the customers that walk in your door and the customers will feel it. That is what it’s all about. The funnel of energy that goes from you to your staff to your customers.
Think back to when you started in the business. Don’t forget to encourage and energize your sales staff every day, every month, and every year!