The day I signed the lease and received the keys to my store was a proud moment. Young, scared, but excited, I went about moving cases in. Next came the painting, laying of carpet, electrical work - you know, all the things many of us did when we opened our very first jewelry store.
After a month of concerted effort and elbow grease, the store opened and we were off to the races. Of course, friends and relatives came by to wish us well in our new enterprise though I wish some had stayed home. A particularly stinging remark was: “Why’d you open in this little town of under 4,000 people? You’re planning a course to bankruptcy!” “Thank you so much,” I replied!
Let’s see if this sounds familiar - a few years go by and we do alright at best, but then it happens. I make some serious buying mistakes and we get in over our heads. Now don’t sit there all smug - many of you did the same thing if you’ll just be honest. Of course, I was still marketing as I had been doing back in my jewelry chain store days so I really wasn’t getting the buying traffic I needed either.
Touch and go would be the best description of our operation for several years until I learned about this thing called “Direct Response Marketing.” That is the type of marketing that elicits a response from your client either in the form of an inquiry, a response to marketing and most importantly a purchase. It happens to be what I teach my private coaching clients today.
After applying the “Direct Response” techniques to our store, a strange thing began to happen. We had buying traffic - many times more than our fair share. Hey, I wasn’t complaining! Then another of those pivotal moments in my life happened, the president of a very large diamond corporation walked in along with my area’s sales rep - it was eye opening!
He proceeded to tell me what the top volume for jewelers like me in a small town should be based on some formula his company used. I don’t deny that the formula probably holds true most of the time, but Angie (my wife) and I are not your normal jewelers either. When he told me the figure, I immediately shared with him that I couldn’t go back to those kind of sales numbers as we had surpassed that years ago!
You’re thinking now, “Geez, this guy is bragging,” but no, that is not the point - I would tell anyone that we’ve been very blessed. You see we simply took the “Direct Response” model and applied it to a jewelry store operation instead of doing the usual “Brand or Image” style marketing many of our fellow jewelers do.
So, when shown our books this executive advised not to change a thing and keep on doing what we were doing.
Tell me more about “Direct Response” marketing you say? In future columns I’ll break it down in bite size chunks, but more importantly, I’ll teach you the mindset which is critical.
My point of this article is to say, don’t worry about operating in a small town such as we do. We love small town life and wouldn’t trade it for anything. It isn’t easy, you’ll have to do things differently to be successful - but you can be if you take the “Direct Response” route. Just know going in, you may be ridiculed, but they’ll all be shocked one day when and if you decide to “open your books” - success will be oh so sweet! Until next time…