February 1998


Treat your sales staff as you do your customers - with respect and caring. The example will pay off

The jewelry business is a people business. You've heard it often enough, but usually when talking about your clients, not your sales staff. As a manager, you have to extend that same caring and warmth to employees as you give to your customers. This may seem like Management 101, but most managers will tell you that when the going gets tough, maintaining relationships with the staff is often near the bottom of the "To Do" list.

Your sales force will imitate you. If you're short, curt and don't have time for them, they may inflict the same style on customers. They also may have problems they feel you're too busy to hear. Either scenario is a recipe for lackluster sales and high turnover rates.

The newsletter Bottom Line Personal interviewed Julie Bick, a corporate consultant from Seattle who cut her managerial teeth at Microsoft and then wrote a book called All I Really Need to Know in Business I Learned at Microsoft (Pocket Books). Bick has some simple suggestions for making personal contacts with staff routine so they get the benefit of your wisdom and the modeling behavior they need to develop good relationships with customers.

  • Meet with each salesperson for at least one uninterrupted half-hour weekly. If you have managers and assistant managers to whom you delegate, make sure they do it if you can't. Once a week, review what you've heard and implement solutions to problems. Spending this much one-on-one time offers unique opportunities to review store goals and catch someone who may be wandering in the wrong direction.
  • Have a drop-in policy - but with a time limit. There may be questions only you can answer. Stress that you have a policy of keeping these meetings to a few minutes - then enforce it. But be sure you satisfactorily answer questions before showing your staffer the door!

Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.


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