You're in the Know Are Your Sales Associates?
Got information? Pass it on to your staff. Here's how
You know how important it is for employees to stay current on the latest details that can influence a sale. For example, maybe a customer saw an article on the African dirty diamond controversy and has questions.
You know many of your customers with Web access may be as informed on gemstone news as your latest hire. Maybe a customer saw something about oiled emeralds and wants to discuss it with a staff member.
So how do you distribute information to sales associates in a quick and timely manner? Here are some ideas.
Hold a Weekly Briefing
As the owner or manager, youre the one who handles information. If you receive a mailing from a trade association with educational news, put it aside for a quick meeting once a week. When you read an interesting article in your favorite magazine, photocopy it and add it to the pile. Perhaps you checked the Web today and saw information about a new gem treatment that isnt circulated yet. Print it out and save it.
One morning each week, after putting out jewelry and before opening the door, have a 10-minute briefing. Go through your pile of information quickly and explain to your associates how it may affect the sales process.
This isnt a training meeting its an informational briefing. Your goal is to impart information quickly so your sales associates feel in the loop. No one wants to be the last to know, especially when new technology (such as high-pressure/high-temperature diamond treatments or improved fracture fillers) may change the way they sell diamonds.
Due to time crunches and the availability of information, you are the generalist. You read or hear about everything related to your store so you have the big picture. Then, you distill the information into need-to-know bits for your staff.
But you can call on associates for help. Appoint one staffer to keep abreast of diamond news, another for gems, another for metals. When they read a magazine or go to seminars, they pay special attention to their category and become the specialist in that field.
Group Your Materials
Where do you look in your store for product information? With any luck, its all already in one place. If not, designate a shelf, a drawer or other area where everything can be organized. Having everything at your fingertips gives you and your employees easier access to information.
Consider in-store communications a group activity. As the store owner or manager, you are clearly the leader in this essential activity. But teach staffers to be self-educating and proactive about keeping up with current information. Begin making education a way of life in your store today!
Also consider buying the JA Learning Center, which gives your employees control of their own training and allows for store owner/manager input. The Learning Center consists of three books containing exercises, basic knowledge and a program guide along with two binders to keep current articles and a computer disk. The binders give your employees a way to categorize and organize information. The disk contains the Learning Center books in a Microsoft Word format. Contact your JA representative at (800) 223-0673.
by Caroline Stanley
Caroline Stanley is a third-generation jeweler who now serves as director of marketing and communications at Jewelers of America.