Professional Jeweler Archive: Staff Meeting No. 1: First Impressions

June 2000

Managing: Sales Training

Staff Meeting No. 1: First Impressions

The first in a series of meeting outlines to help you train your sales staff

Make this and the other outlines in this series the core of regularly scheduled training sessions for sales associates. The aim of this lesson is to reinforce the importance of making a good first impression on customers.

I. Appearance

  1. Attire (clothes, shoes, jewelry).
    1. Professional, fashionable, crisp, clean, comfortable.
  2. Hair, Nails, Facial Hair.
    1. Clean, trimmed, professional.
  3. Rules of the Nose.
    1. No body odor, breath, cigarette aroma, overwhelming fragrance, gum chewing.

II. Smile

  1. Don’t you feel more comfortable when someone smiles? Encourage your employees to see themselves from the customer’s point of view.
  2. Smiling uses fewer muscles than frowning.
  3. What message does smiling deliver?
    1. Positive attitude, enthusiasm, sincerity, honesty, integrity, confidence, welcome (“You’re not imposing on my time”), silent greeting, ice-breaker.

III. Body Language

  1. Negative body language delivers the wrong message:
    1. Folded arms.
    2. Slouching.
    3. Elbows resting on counter, chin in hands.
    4. Looking down (no eye contact).
    5. Moving away from customer.
  2. Positive body language makes customer feel welcome.
    1. Arms open, hands out.
    2. Stand upright.
    3. Move toward customer.
    4. Make immediate eye contact (establishes confidence).

IV. Verbal Greeting

  1. Extremely important – you can turn the customer on or off the moment you utter those first words!
  2. What you don’t say can have as much impact as what you do say.
    1. Never start with a Yes/No question, especially “May I help you?” It’s too easy for customer to say “No.”
    2. Use descriptive open-ended words.
    a. “How may I help you?”
    b. “What special item (or person) are you shopping for today?"
    c. Offer to inspect or clean a piece for them.
    d. Present a new item for their opinion.
  3. Responses to “Just looking.”
    1. “You’ve come to the right place.”
    2. “Let me help you look; I see something’s caught your eye.”
    3. “While you’re looking, look at this outstanding new piece; it just arrived yesterday. What do you think?”

V. Self-introduction

  1. Difficult for some but most professional.
  2. Helps establish relationship you hope to build.
  3. Shows respect, builds confidence, demonstrates focus on that customer when you reuse his/her name.

The greeting takes only a minute, but can mark the beginning of a lasting rapport. Take a few minutes at the end of the session to set up role-plays and go through all steps of the process. Reward the best, work with the rest as the days progress.

A Word to the Wise

In this and future issues of Professional Jeweler, we’ll provide enough information to get you started on employee training at your staff meetings; the rest is up to you. The following hints, applied to every session, will help to make each one more pleasant, productive and profitable. Good luck!

  • Keep it positive.
  • Keep it brief.
  • Keep it interesting.
  • Keep it motivational.
  • Keep them involved.
  • Personalize it.
  • Customize it.

– by Christine Anzell & Jack Levenson

To order Anzell & Levenson’s jewelry-specific Client Record Keeping Book or Training Manual, see the ad in Marketplace (p. 202) or call (800) 887-8902.

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications