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Conversation with a jeweler with really off sales


#1

A conversation with a jeweler who has some really OFF sales

Recently had an email conversation with a jeweler who said his sales
are off terribly. Many of the stores around him are going out of
business, his business was better this past summer than it is now.
One day he had only a $20 deposit. There are many jewelers who have
this problem. He also mentioned that he ad been advertising “Buying
OTC” and wondered not advertising jewelry as much that maybe this had
hurt his Christmas sales.

This was an email response I gave him, thought I’d share it with my
group of jewelers.

You’re not as alone as you might think. but just posting your
problem gets you started. You just have to do something about it. We
all probably know zero about how you do business. Did advertising
only “BUYING” OTC kill Christmas for you? I agree might hurt some,
but what would the past 6 months been like without the profits you
made from buying OTC? I bet it would have hurt without it. Should you
have devoted some advertising dollars to product? yeah. But its 12
days until xmas. Can you save Christmas? probably not but you can
keep from drowning.

I had a sign up in my shop in the 80’s that read:

“When you’re up to your ass in alligators, it’s hard to remember
that the ORIGINAL goal was just to drain the swamp.”

So now that you’re up to your ass in alligators, you have to shoot,
stab and poke their eyes out. Too late for direct mail but calling is
your shotgun now.

I speak to many jewelers. many are lazy and hope that “osmosis” will
save them. You know:

Attend a seminar and the knowledge will trickle down to the
checkbook. Buy a book or tape and just OWING the book will make sales
better.

No you have to talk the talk and walk the walk. I mentioned this to
a California jeweler I know and he walked the walk. What is that?
Getting the sales staff to do what they hate to do. First off what do
they love to do? WAIT for a customer to walk in.

Hate to do? Cold Call. What is cold calling? Calling people you’ve
never met and try to buy a product the don’t know anything about.
Would your staff be cold calling? NO. You know these customers and
they know what you have to sell.

This jeweler have the staff call every customer they’ve sold over
the past three years and invite them in to:

Have their jewelry cleaned and checked.

Tell them about some good buys we just got.

Its your birthday/anniversary and we have a $100 gift certificate in
your name for this month.

Just any reason to call the customer and tell them something. This
store saw sales keep EVEN with last years numbers. Did you ever
think you’d ever wish for “last years numbers?” Who would have
thought about such deep decreases in numbers?

Another thought. I spoke to one client who was a customer of a well
known jewelry consulting firm. During the summer his stores sales
were off by a lot. The firm asked to see his commission report. After
they did they asked him what he did all day?

He spent a goodly amount of time digesting their daily reports they
generated, ordered inventory in price points that were in need. You
know, the stuff the owner does.

They told him based upon the reports, he should be fired! They could
tell that his PERSONAL SALES had dropped and he had ALWAYS BEEN THE
#1 SALES PERSON IN THE STORE.

The owner usually is the #1 sales person. So they fired him, got
someone else to do the ordering and put his butt back onto the floor.
Sales immediately went up 30%. So my question would be: Is your butt
out there making sales, big sales or are you allowing your staff (who
are probably under trained) be the ones to be in charge of your
livelihood? I don’t know, just a question.

Call your customers and also tell them if they have stuff to sell,
they could exchange old stuff for new and maybe they could get great
jewelry for a ‘song’. Many folks will buy an item for $100 (example)
but give the customer $150 in credit to buy something from the store.
Man that could save the customer money and you’d make some but they
don’t know this, do they? Start calling and make it a constant habit.
I know its against what you’ve done, but you gotta try.

If you have a jeweler, PLAN NOW for Christmas day and the week
following. How? We had always put an ad in our newspaper on Christmas
Day and 3 days before Christmas. I can’t find a copy but the headline
read:

“Was your Gift the wrong size?”

Showed a picture of a ring, watch and chain. Then read on about how
we can size your ring, shorten watches, chains, bracelets etc so you
can wear and enjoy them NOW. We offer While You Wait Service too *
(with an asterisk and at the bottom: “slight extra charge for express
service”

We advertised that on Christmas day as its the day 75-90% of people
open their gifts and usually read the paper during this leisurely
day. Same ad 3 days before New Years, women want to wear their
jewelry on New Years Eve and we could get it done for them. We were
swamped with while you wait repairs all week long.

The week between December 25th and December 31st was always a killer
week for us. We charged 50% more for “while you wait or within 24
hour” service.

You can still do this, if you do in house work. You need to plan for
a massive inventory reduction sale in January. A postcard campaign
does great, use a bigger size card, 6x9" or so. See link below. They
both have stock jewelry pictures.

purepostcards.com
postcardmania.com

Next year I’d still advertise OTC and be more creative with it.
(Like give 50% more for store credit).

Your sales stink because the economy stinks. Next year it will stink
more. You don’t have to because you can be the SAVIOR for many
customer by exchanging your cash for their jewelry. Its a sure
profitable sale and takes little inventory (In OTC buying, CASH is
your inventory and on any given day you only need $5000 compared to
hundreds of thousands for jewelry).

Lastly, push repairs and custom design next year. For all of you who
"poo-poo" designing and MELTING the customers own gold, we made a
living from doing that. With over 1000 waxes on display (we did at
first) and its simple:

Choose ANY RING here and we’ll make ANY RING, with your GOLD for
$195. Setting and such is extra but instead of buying a ring for many
hundreds and even thousands, for a couple of hundred we can remake
your old jewelry into new.

I figured MY COST to make a ring from customers own gold when we
cast several at once to be about $35. Sold thats ervice for $195. Our
average sale from using customers gold was about $750, no materials
other than a few heads or so. You’d be amazed how many folks will
spend $750 to use their own gold and stones when they wouldn’t spend
$500 from your case.

Advertising is different today, maybe newspaper is still viable in
your town. When I had the store and in the early 90’s newspaper did
great for us. The ad we had in every Saturday paper is attached. It
can even be done as direct mail.

That’s probably enough to chew on right now. Have a great season!

Sincerely
David Geller
www.JewelerProfit.com


#2

Hi David,

Great posting. I soaked up every word.

But, tell me, did you REALLY use their own gold and remelt it to
make the item of their choice? I’ve read about so many problems
associated with recasting old gold, unless you add plenty of new gold
to accompany it in the melt. Is that how you do it? Or do you just
add some special ingredient that cleans up the old gold?

Larry Heyda


#3
But, tell me, did you REALLY use their own gold and remelt it to
make the item of their choice? I've read about so many problems
associated with recasting old gold, unless you add plenty of new
gold to accompany it in the melt. Is that how you do it? Or do you
just add some special ingredient that cleans up the old gold? 

As a student I always was always hearing how iffy it was to recycle
unrefined gold. Now I do it regularly with very little problem. I
think this is just another example of how fussy and paranoid some
jewelers are about cleanliness and purity. Not that I am against
those things, but you can color outside the lines and still have
things work.

What I do with customer gold is I tell them that I will need to add
some of my own gold to the melt and that some of theirs will be left
over in the sprue button. I use United Refining alloy 450, which
seems to help smooth things out pretty well. I also tell them that I
cannot gurantee quality, since gold manufactured in the US before the
ealy 1970s was often below plumb. I also offer them the choice of
using their gold or just taking it as scrap against the price. If
they want me to use the gold for sentimental reasons I promise I
will, but say that there may be some quality problems.

I make a line of fairly heavy gold wedding rings. I have found that
it brings me a few sales when I suggest that those boring, worn-out
rings that were all you could afford back when you got married 25 or
40 years ago can be traded up into new rings, but you will still
have the original rings, just made new. This sentiment really works
like magic when a couple is nenewing vows for an anniversary.
Sometimes, if the couple have never had their rings off for the
entire marriage I will invite them to leave the rings on and join me
at the casting. Then I can take the old rings right off their hands
and put them in the crucible, cast the ring and finish them while
they wait. In another thread we talked about how the shopping
experience does so much for customer loyalty and percieved value. If
you are a craftsman, as most Orchadians are, doing this really
impresses your customers with how authentic you are.

Stephen Walker


#4
This sentiment really works like magic when a couple is renewing
vows for an anniversary. Sometimes, if the couple have never had
their rings off for the entire marriage I will invite them to leave
the rings on and join me at the casting. Then I can take the old
rings right off their hands and put them in the crucible, cast the
ring and finish them while they wait.

Steve, this is terrific, the perfect example to get the rest of us
thinking about creative ways to connect to our customers. It really
is about the connection, isn’t it. I know that as most activities
become increasingly mechanized and impersonal, there are fewer and
fewer ways to connect. Just as the Arts & Crafts movement was a
response to the mechanization of the Industrial Revolution in the
late 19th century, I think many people today feel the same yearnings
to experience what is real, hand crafted and personal whether we’re
talking food, jewelry or a million other things that touch our lives.
Just yesterday I had to call Netflix and I talked to a “REAL PERSON”.
How good is that! We can all relate to that, right?


#5

I suppose we could recast customers’ old gold. On the other hand we
actually care about quality and durability. I’ve seen far too many
examples from other area jewelers who do recast old gold, full of
porosity, and with cast prongs that keep breaking mysteriously. Then
the customer comes to us to have it done right.

Michael Babinski
Foxfire Jewelers