For Your Staff: Selling Insights
Shop the Rest to Stay the Best
Just like professional sport teams, you should keep tabs
on your competitors to be successful
You may be too young to remember a hit song from the '50s
called "Little Things Mean A Lot." Whether or not you
remember the song, remember the phrase. Nowhere is it truer than
in fine jewelry retail sales.
In our past three articles (Professional Jeweler, July 1999,
p. 123; August 1999, p. 144; September 1999, p. 158) we reviewed
the "little things" that separate ordinary sales associates
from super successful ones. These often overlooked tricks
of the trade may give you just the edge you need to complete
one or two more sales per week than you might have otherwise.
Professional sport teams spend countless hours reviewing films
and videotapes of their opponents. If they're going to stand
a fighting chance of being victorious, they'd better know the
other team's strengths and weaknesses and create their game plan
Application for Jewelers
You can assess your own competitors' strengths and weaknesses
by answering some questions. How good are his prices? How does
he compare on selection? On customer service? Aren't you curious?
In fact, don't you need to know? Smart sales associates
and managers and owners for that matter know the answers.
How much are his 0.50 ct. SI1/G color solitaires? Does
he discount his watches? Does he carry tanzanite? Created color?
18k? How many opal rings does he have in preparation for October
birthstone sales? Has he changed his windows recently? How knowledgeable
are his sales associates?
How long does it take to be acknowledged when you walk in?
Is his promotional omega chain 10k or 14k? And maybe most important
of all, what does he tell his customers about your store?
Put on your old jeans and tennies, drop in and look around. Afraid
you'll be recognized? Send a surrogate friend, spouse,
sibling. Afraid you'll tie up a sales associate and prevent her
from serving a real customer? That's a valid concern. Choose
a time to "shop" that's not routinely busy: Tuesday
morning, Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. If you notice customers waiting
for help once you're inside a competitor's store, politely excuse
yourself for an appointment you "almost forgot" and
bow out gracefully.
However you choose to handle it, don't feeling shopping the
competition is unfair or unethical. The folks at Ford buy and
dismantle Chevies every day. "All's fair in love, war and
retail," and your competition is probably shopping your
store as you read this article. Absorb all the information you
can, then retreat to the mall bench or your car and write down
as much as you can remember.
Don't forget to shop the ads as well; nothing looks worse
than the customer knowing more than you do about what's going
on in the jewelry industry.
Share the information culled with your colleagues and boss. We
recommend different sales associates visit different competitors
monthly, then meet to compare notes.
Of course, the best use of the information will occur when
you sit down with your customer. It's so much easier to overcome
her objections when you're educated and aware:
"I think I saw the same bracelet at ABC Jewelers for
"Let me save you a trip, Mrs. White. I'm familiar with
that bracelet. Theirs has a spring ring closure; ours has a strong
and secure lobster claw clasp."
"This is the first place I've shopped. I love the ring,
but I'd like to look around."
"And a smart shopper does compare, Mrs. Black. I can
save you some time though. I've shopped the ads and the stores
and I can assure you no one has this fine quality ring at a comparable
Knowing your competition increases your self confidence,
which builds your customer's confidence in you. Learn and
stay on top of what's going on around you. It's one
of those little things that mean a lot as you make your way to
the top of the list of successful sales professionals.
by Christine Anzell and Jack Levenson
Christine Anzell and Jack Levenson have spent a combined half century
in fine jewelry retail. To order their copyright, jewelry specific
Client Record Keeping Book or Sales Training Manual, call them
at (800) 887 8902.
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.