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[How2] Merry (and Successful) Christmas Season

Dear Fellow Jewelers

2-3 weeks ago I sent out an email asking for your input into 5 ways
to make this Christmas not only merry, but very profitable. I was
giving a speach to the Consolidated Jewelers Association in New Yor
(did so just last week in fact).

I was very surprised at the great responses you gave me. So here
they are. print this out, read over a cup of coffee and a donut.
Hopefully just a few of things will spark extra money for you this

How to Have a MERRY and Successful Christmas Season in 2010

While the economy has certainly been one to kill the sale of luxury
goods there are many retailers who have adopted, worked like dogs and
thrived. There are plenty of jewelers who never stopped thriving!

What has happened recently?

  1. Less people who will buy jewelry because they are unemployed.

  2. Plenty of people whose income are affected by the economy,
    commission; profits, etc.

  3. Many want what we have but buy smaller dollar amounts. Average
    sale in a store has dropped in half from $400 to under $200.

  4. Bridal has dropped less, a bright spot. Average bridal sale down
    from $2900 to about $2400.

Bright spots:

  1. The economy is bouncing back.

  2. Sales are up for many people.

  3. There is less competition (not a bright spot if your store closed

  4. It is reported that this Christmas season will be better than
    expected. Why? Customers just can’t NOT BUY stuff that long in
    America. It is reported by Market Watch that jewelry is one of two
    items consumers want this year.


But you’re going to have to work for it.

  1. Average sale will still be lower, but higher than last year.

  2. You will sell more units.

  3. Customers are savvier; the internet “teaches” them things about
    their purchase.

  4. Customer’s have been burned by the economy and must be treated
    with TLC.

Answers to five questions jewelers have asked by other jewelers who
have survived, no, THRIVED!

How to handle the battle with “Sticker Shock” with your staff and
your customer?

  1. Many customers don’t know what the price “was” nor should be.
    YOU’VE seen it and can’t believe it but don’t assume they might know
    "OMG! That sure went up in price!" It may be more than their budget
    but they want to buy jewelry.

  2. In 2009 there was the same number of units sold in jewelry
    stores, just lower price points. Customer’s want it.

  3. You must still romance the product; sell the sizzle not the
    expense of the cow or the stove.

  4. This year’s prices next year may look “cheap” in comparison.

  5. Explain why they are high and then move on. Do you know why they
    are high? There are two factors in play and you may be surprised that
    one of them “price” is not an issue.

a. Our dollar is weak in the world, which is not a good thing,
so gold is bought as a hedge. More people who buy it in large
quantities, the higher the demand and higher the price escalates.

b. China has a quickly growing middle class. They are buying
gold jewelry in large quantities! As is India.

c. As a young consumer, if you didn’t know from $350 gold, you
just wouldn’t know!

  1. Tell them how you came to pick this particular piece for the

  2. "Better buy from our stock, prices are based upon lower metal
    prices. Special orders will be higher and if this one sells, its
    replacement will be higher.

  3. Have lower price points available to just “change the

  4. Stock items bought off the street with a normal to normal+
    markup. You’ll make a good profit, have good turn and the customer
    will have choices of good price points.

  5. Agree its high but then “so are cars, gas, temperpedic beds” and
    move on, don’t dwell on it.

  6. Start into selling and bypass “tit for tat” with price.

  7. "Jewelry is timeless and expert craftsmanship will give years of
    joy and pleasure.

  8. Express price in monthly terms, whether it be buying it and
    paying monthly or what it will cost over a lifetime or HAS: “Shoot,
    you’ve been married 20 years, $2000 over 20 years is $8.00 a month.
    Aren’t you worth eight bucks?”

  9. Stay away from words “Yep, gold sure is high”. (High to whom?
    When white gold was $700, the other white metal was -platinum- was
    $500 to $1000 higher. It’s all relevant".

  10. Reinforce Product Knowledge, role play in meetings so words come
    out flawlessly.

  11. Show sterling; sterling & 18kt, sterling with diamonds. Don’t
    think your store can’t/shouldn’t sell sterling. I know a store doing
    1.5 million in titanium wedding bands. TITANIUM!

  12. Show other alternative metals.

  13. Put the item on a scale, recalculate the cost at $125 to $150 a
    gram and show how “replacement cost” will be higher. This is the time
    to buy.

  14. Ignore price and just get into selling “style; quality and

  15. Expensive to YOU might be cheap to someone else. I looked years
    ago for a $1100 TV, ended up buying a $3000 one.

  16. What sticker shock? Most customers don’t know what that bracelet
    cost last year. Ask a man how much eggs are. Ask a woman how much for
    a good set of tires.

  17. “Our product is the same price as when gold was $300 less”.

  18. Always have lower end products to show. It’s their decision, not

  19. If price is too high, customer make the price with Silver or
    even recycle their own gold or use their old jewelry as a "buy"
    against the price of what’s in the case.

How to sell against 1) Internet 2) QVC 3) HSC pricing

  1. Always welcome Show & Tell! Its starts your salesmanship.

  2. This brought more jewelers answering “There’s jewelry for
    everyone. What makes you think you should even compete in this

  3. QVC & HSC are a different competitor than the internet.

  4. “Would you choose a wife from a driver’s license or written
    word?” 5 foot 2, eyes of blue and other stats" is still a different
    woman in everyone’s eyes. Same goes for buying your “husband” over
    the TV.

  5. Sell the “moment in time”. Jewelry is bought as much for an
    occasion, event or reward as anything else.

  6. Use the L’Oreal line "you’re worth it. Have the staff actually
    watch QVC to see how they sell. It’s more about their “sizzle” than
    their price. DVR/tape/DVD the show and have staff watch it in the
    break room.

  7. Have Value Items in stock.

  8. Purchase 2 or 3 items from the shopping channels and internet so
    you can save them time and uncertainty and show them what they’d buy
    in some price points. Keep the receipt with the item to prove you
    bought it there.

  9. Then you can show

a. Shank thickness.
b. Saturation of color in
c. Prongs & setting/craftsmanship under magnification.
d. Use a business car to “pick” at prongs. If it catches, prongs
will catch on clothing.

  1. Save items you’ve bought off the street that you know came from

  2. We give better service, there’s no sending it "back and forth"
    in the mail.

  3. Much of the TV show jewelry is the same quality as cruise ships
    and probably more people have had a chance to see cruise ship jewelry
    up close.

  4. “Don’t buy your jewelry where you buy your underwear!”

  5. Sell style, service and easy exchange.

  6. You wouldn’t compare the attributes of a Lexus against a Chevy
    Malibu. Why would you think you should sell your store against the
    other competition?

  7. We live in a visual media; have a QVC piece handy to show.

  8. If you have their, out theirs and yours on scale. Hopefully
    yours is the winner.

  9. The KNOT.COM came out with s survey of bridal customers last
    year. Know this:

a. When we were young, the bridal customer was a 21 year old
female and 25 year old male.

b. They visited 7-8 jewelry stores to gain knowledge, and then
bought from one.

c. Today the woman is 25, the man is 29. They have more money
and are more educated on product knowledge.

d. They visit 15-17 websites, and then go to only 1 or 2 Jewelry
Store where they buy from one.

e. Still over 80% of jewelry is sold in a brick and mortar

How to train the staff to bring in more customer’s with promotions,
gift cards and just plain “get’m in the store”.

  1. Always have a wish list and have 60-75% of customers fill it in
    and work it.

a. Need who to contact
b. What she wants.
c. When she’ll want it.
d. They can be SO TOAST!

  1. Contact the counterpart and let them know you’re about to make
    their life soooooo easy!

  2. Always ask every customer:

a. "What’s the next piece of jewelry you want?"
b. "When’s the next occasion?"
c. “Who shall I talk to?”

  1. Send written notes “She was here 3 months ago, liked a bracelet
    which I have on hold for you and your anniversary is in just 3 short

  2. Call customers to thank them for their business, offer to check
    their rings and lean for free. Don’t sell anything, just be nice.

  3. Send out birthday cards and important date reminders.

  4. Send customers (pre-done) postcards while on your trips. Takes

  5. Start advertising/marketing to your big spenders.

  6. Have regular sales meetings explaining what’s expected of the

  7. You must role play how to do this as well as rehearsing any
    scripts for phone sue. You are allowed by law to contact "customers’
    who have bought from you.

  8. Remember-women love it when makeup counter sales staff contact
    them. Women want this stuff.

  9. Have a fishbowl in the showroom to get (Call it a
    marketing survey) and pull one card a month for a free dinner.

  10. Make phone calls all year.

  11. Call homes at day and leave message on their machine. Thanks
    them for their business; promote a special event; come in and get
    rings cleaned.

  12. Have more events in the store, have the staff call them and
    invite them.

  13. Calling works!

  14. If having an event and the staff calls, give a bonus to the
    staff for a successful event. Their calling worked and will reward
    them for what was scary to them.

  15. Hand out business cards everywhere YOU SHOP

  16. You and the staff should be associated with charities and be a
    member of some type of organization.

  17. Put your picture on your business card and leave it everywhere.
    Stores; restaurants; dry cleaners.

  18. Develop personal contact books and execute those lists and

How to get the most out of your advertising this season, what to do,
how to do it and when to do it?

  1. You should be advertising all year long, not just last quarter.

  2. Studies have shown spending the same dollars spread out over 12
    months over the same dollars in the last quarter makes the last
    quarter stronger and all year better.

  3. Send to your best customers a gift before Thanksgiving.

  4. “Best customers” don’t have to be those who spent big $$$.
    Frequent customers as well. Someone who came in with 5 repairs this
    year may not be “big to you” but they are going to buy Christmas
    gifts from someone, aren’t they?

  5. Customers want to be appreciated.

  6. JATW, Mike Burley says lost customers are 68% of all of your
    customers from indifference on our part and being unappreciated.

  7. SEND OUT the week before Thanksgiving a gold plated Christmas
    tree ornament to your best customers to just thank them for their

  8. They have gold plated mistletoe, holly and such,
    all packaged up to mail, which cost $1.86. Their cost, packaged is
    about $11. Reports are customers are happy to get something as a
    thank you and it is mailed so it arrives about Tuesday before
    Thanksgiving. Now they can show it to their family & friends.
    Increased sales have been reported.

  9. Barter jewelry with advertisers.

  10. Try offering 100% cash to buy spots. I know a jeweler who wanted
    to be #1 in his market as Christmas. Was told $40,000 to do that.
    “Bring your station manager down to the store.” When salesman and
    manager at his desk, peeled off $20,000 in one hundred dollar bills.
    “Here, I’ll pay this much in cash”. Out of 6 radio stations, 5 took
    the cash (at half price). He was #1 in his market that year.

  11. Signage to the public:

a. Street signs.
b. Banners outside the store.
c. Banners inside the store
d. Sandwich boards outside the front door.

  1. Trunk shows from vendors.

  2. Holiday parties to customers.

  3. Private parties once a month to selected fewer customers.

  4. When delivering a custom design or specially ordered piece of
    jewelry to a customer, take a picture first. Go to Office Depot, buy
    blank business cards. Free software makes your own business
    card but instead of YOUR logo, insert the picture of HER RING. (Still
    has your store name and such). Tell customer “We live by referrals,
    will you refer family & friends?” (She will say yes). “Oh good, here
    are 10 of our cards” It has HER ring on it; you know she’ll show that
    card and hand them out. "Looks, it’s my ring on their cards!

  5. Send after Thanksgiving 500 of your best customers a $100, no
    strings attached gift certificate. One store did this and tracked it.
    Brought in an additional $78,000 in NEW business. Average discount
    amounted to 15%.

  6. Swap mailing list with another high end retailer. Example: Lexus
    car dealer, bridal store and mail to their customers.

  7. Contact another store, again like a car dealer and let the car
    dealer say in the mailing “We have picked out a Christmas gift just
    for you, our way of saying thank you.” The gift is to be picked up at
    your store. The gold plated mistle toe would be excellent for that.

  8. Send out news worthy press releases to TV stations; newspapers;
    local magazines. Keep sending, some will publish it, they always need
    to fill space.

  9. Billboards do very well. Keep it to 7 words plus your logo.

  10. Radio stations along with Facebook and Twitter.

  11. Target existing customers with a rewards program. Ideas are a.
    Gift card for every “so many dollars spent” in the store. b. bring in
    a friend and you and the friend both get 20% off.

  12. You must have a website. Look for it to sell your store and
    educate over trying to sell product online.

  13. Make a facebook page for your store. It’s easy.

  14. With the internet and email have you noticed your direct mail
    has dropped? But people still have a mail box. Direct mail today has
    less competition for the customers’ attention. Direct mail works.

  15. Use Direct Mail and coupons. “Free” still works. Use coupons
    with an expiration date.

  16. Try “puffy mail”. Send something that will make envelope puffy.
    They will want to open your envelope.

  17. Spend 6-8% of sales on advertising. Spend 6-8% quarterly.

  18. Cable TV works, AVP makes great jewelers ads for TV. and see them.

  19. Use off the wall ads to stand out. Go see

  20. Direct mail catalogues.

  21. Ads in movie theatres-trailers. Lots of young couples: Bridal!

  22. LED signage at the street if you can. The sign is more expensive
    but is changeable and those who have it rave about it.

  23. Sell fresh roses in the store. One store that keeps them in a
    cooler has additional traffic all year long.

  24. One store sells nice perfume in their store as well. Generates
    traffic as it runs out and people come back in to get more. Email
    marketing is a must, start getting emails immediately.

How to Stop The “I’ll Be Back Bus”; Let me think about it; I’m just

  1. Most owner and staff members think they are pushy if they continue
    to sell after the customer says “I’ll think about it” or I’ll be

  2. People who are engaged with you when looking in the case will buy
    from some store within the month 75% of the time. Yes it can be
    because they stop looking when they find:

a. A better price
b. A much better selection
c. A better value
d. A much better sales person put in front of them!

If you have a-c, then you’re the reason they didn’t buy. Wouldn’t it
just kill you to find that the reason they DIDN’T buy from you is
because after the first NO you let them walk and another store sold
them because they asked questions that got the customer to say NO 2
more times than you and THEN THEY BOUGHT!

  1. Sign every customer (buying or not) for your Birthday Club. Then
    you have contact info; email and can check up with them on “being

  2. Let them know much of what’s in the case is in limited supply; we
    hardly ever “reorder the same thing so soon after selling this one.”

  3. Get people to put money down to make sure you’ll hold it for them
    so it’s not sold right under their feet. “This is a popular item,
    I’ve shown it twice this week”

  4. Role play in meetings, have another associate come over when
    you’re getting toward the end of a “Be Back”. There are 3 purposes to
    bring someone over:

a. To do a “TO” (Turn Over). There are lots of reasons why
customer won’t buy FROM YOU.

i. You're too old or young for the customer. 
ii. They are an "A" personality and you're a "B". 
iii. To have the associate "assume" the customer is buying

"Oh you're getting that! I've shown it twice, women go gaga
over it. Great choice!" 

iv. To just say "I've had 2 people look at that this week. If
you're not getting it I think my customer who was here Monday
might come back this week and get it for her anniversary." 
  1. Turn overs! Introduce the new associate and brag on them: “Marvin
    here knows everything about pearls. Marv, come tell Sheryl here why
    these peoples are better than others.” Then back away and let Marvin
    take over.

  2. After you here “I’ll be back”, don’t hand out your card so fast.
    Continue to ask questions. If you get the customer to say “No, I
    think I’ll think about it” well over 50% will then buy (because you
    have continued to sell). One associate told me she sells 7% of the
    time when she gets to the 4th no.

  3. Harry Friedman took a $750,000 a year luggage store to 2.4
    million in 18 months buy just doing turn overs.

  4. If the customer does walk, don’t let that be the end of your
    politeness. Walk them to the door and shake their hand.

  5. Make an audio CD, 10 minutes that educates your customer why
    they should buy from you and educate a heck of a lot more. They might
    listen to it in the car and be sold more from you while going to your
    competitor. “Here s a Cd for you. It’s got some good tips on how to
    choose and buy a diamond and it’s got a gift certificate in it for
    you as well.” The gift certificate? At the end of the audio CD says
    "and if you’ll bring this cd back into the store we’ll give you $50
    off your purchase."

  6. Suggestive closes:

Shall we gift wrap it?

You deserve it!

It’s easier to get forgiveness than permission.

Ask your husband? He didn’t ask your permission on his bass boat,
did he? I help everyone make decisions. I have decided you should
have this and enjoy it. You decide if you’re using American Express
or visa, OK? I tell you what, we’ll charge you $1000 for the box and
bow and we’ll throw in the ring for free!

  1. Practice in advance: “Hey boss, if this lovely lady gets this
    $1000 ring can I throw in one of our $200 watches for her husband as
    gift from the store?” (Your cost on the watch is $100, the same thing
    as a 10% discount on the sale and you get $1000 rather than $800)

  2. Throw some hints:

a. Our stocks on this are limited.
b. May be weeks before we get another one if this one sells.
c. The replacement one for this one when sold will probably be
25% more than this one.
d. 6 months from now you won’t remember what you paid but every
time you look down at your hand you’ll say "I’m happy I got this
ring as that Mary suggested.

  1. “Be Backs” are more times than not a customer

a. Not getting enough but too lazy or embarrassed to
ask for more.
b. Doesn’t “click” with the sales clerk.
c. has not really been asked to buy.

  1. 50-75% of “Be backs” will buy from SOMEONE!"


  1. Don’t talk about the recession.

  2. If asked how business is don’t say “could be better.” Rather
    choose one:

a. We are doing great! Don’t know why, but we are.
b. Unbelievable!
c. Surprisingly, our sales are way up!
d. (people love to buy from busy, happy people. Fake it if you
have to)

  1. Put items over 18 months in a separate case and label it “Extreme
    Value case”. Discount the heck out of those items. If a customer
    wants a deal, bring them over to the Extreme value Case".

  2. If you have items that don’t move well, like watches, use them as
    bait to buy. If you’re selling a $500 item and a "20% discount seems
    to be in the works ($50 off) say to the customer:

“This item is hot this season and we’re not discounting it but I
have an idea that can kill 2 birds with one stone. It would be my
pleasure to give you as a gift when you get this ring a watch over
here that sells for $100. So you get $100 that you wanted and you get
a no cost great gift to give your husband, don, boss, grandfather or
whomever. Which watch would you like to choose?”

Instead of giving $100 off and only depositing $400, you discount
only the cost of the watch which is

Have a great season!
David Geller