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
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
“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
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
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.
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!