Transforming the Jewelry Industry for the 21st Century
Welcome to my Jewelry Industry blog. This is the place for all of our industry comrades to come forth with questions, with new ideas and plans for our future. All of your constructive comments are welcome.
I reserve the right however, to edit, or delete any comment post that I find objectionable, spam-like or just inappropriate.
Karen worked in the retail jewelry industry for several years. She was a fabulous sales woman and loved the business for the beauty of the merchandise to the connection with the clients. Karen wanted every sale to live up to the meaning of the holiday it represented.
The store she worked for knew her value...they just were not able to offer a compensation package that gave Karen the security she felt she needed as she aged. And she knew that if a move in careers had to happen, it better be soon!
Three years ago, after seeing the writing on the wall, she began to look for an alternative career path. She lives in Oregon in a small town so there were few possibilities which made the task of finding a new career daunting. It took some doing, but because of her great people skills and her attention to detail, Karen found her new career path in healthcare! I shared a meal with her recently to hear how the shift from jewelry to healthcare were going...
She loves (just about) everything her new position provides. The fact that she can leave at 5pm, doesn't work on the weekends, has great team support around the office and still is caring for someone's personal experience made Karen's move to receiving a decent steady compensation package effortless! Even though she misses the jewelry business, security in a job makes up for it all!
Personally I miss what Karen brought to our industry. Like Karen, it seems that there are many others who are looking for a safer way to earn a living. The question is will they find one with as happy an ending as Karen?
Are you a busy person? Need to buy a special birthday gift? V-By is a new way to work with an expert, the retail jeweler, "live", online, without having to travel into their store. You'd be able to make the right gift choice from the comfort of your home or the convenience of your office!
Tell your favorite retailer to use V-By technology.
Yep, for me cold calls are still a part of every day business. I can't think of any business where attrition (the loss of business) doesn't play a part in the equation. So we always have to add new customers. And the phone is the handiest and still that most reliable way to do that...Voila, cold calls!
I learned how to make cold calls when I worked in San Francisco on the phone banks for EST & Werner Erhert back in the mid 70's. We used to refer to it as "smiling and dialing." It's a challenge every time I'd pick up the phone.
Mind you there is a mindset you have to put in place if you really want to get through the calls successfully. You can't be attached to what's going to happen each time you dial and someone answers... In fact, I'm always prepared for rejection every time someone answers the phone. Cold calling is the quintessential "improvisation."
When I'm getting my daily fix of cold calls done for the day I notice it becomes a meditation. I focus on my breathing and begin dialing calmly. Interestingly, there are many times that the person on the other end of the phone thinks I'm some one they know. Recently someone even told me that I gave the best "cold call" they had ever received! Cold calling is an art and needs to be cultivated through practice over time.
These calls are a means to an end and need to be scripted and planned with a result in mind. They are ineffective without that plan. But picking up the phone with that script doesn't mean it'll go the way you think it should. That's probably the part that terrifies people and excites people like me the most!
This is exactly where the art of improvisation comes in handy. I always have to listen to the person on the other end and respond accordingly. For example, when making calls into retail businesses, I always begin by asking "Are you busy with a client at the moment?" More often than not they are so shocked by the courtesy I show them that they are happy to speak further with me! Will I accomplish my goals while accommodating the listener on the other end of the line? I never know, so I just pick up the phone and dial again.... :)
(PS- Contact me if you want to get your cold calling up and running.)
I read this on the flight to Charlotte last week and liked it so well that I tore it out of the SW magazine and have it at my desk right now. It was written by Karen Finerman, CEO of Metropolitan Capital Advisors. She really did a nice job of unveiling yet another issue we women still face today. I was inspired by how she worded it!
How can women better sell their ideas? "I once asked a money manager why he has no women analysts. He said, 'If a man pounds the table and is confident about how much money I can make, and a woman who is just as smart tells me what could go wrong and how much I could lose---well, I'm a sucker. I fall for the upside every time.' Women have a natural aversion to risk, and we do ourselves a disservice by presenting the downside. Lead with the good stuff. Tell me what could go right. Our real strengths shine when we use our concern about risk to prepare for the tough follow-up questions. Go in strong. Sell the positive. And then close the deal by having all the details to support your case."
It's one of those reads that just resonated with me as a woman with an idea. Thanks Karen!
I know many of you (wholesale or retail) are interested in using V-By (smart technology) in your businesses but don't know how to begin the process of actually doing it. This post is going to give you some ideas of ways to work into it with effectiveness and success.
Your first step will be to examine how your business runs now. Writing down (in your computer or on a piece of paper!) the tasks that each person has in your organization is a good way to start. Then review that list and critically decide if each of those actions is actually bringing the business what it is meant to bring... today. If that action is not doing (or bringing to the business) what it used to do and bring, I call it "Dead Wood."
An example of "Dead Wood" is what one of my V-By members and I spoke about recently. He is a wholesale diamond dealer who gets call from different stores sometimes hours away by car. Every time he was getting a call for a diamond, he would jump in his car and drive that diamond (or 2 or 3 or 4...) to that store in hopes of a sale. Then he'd spend the time driving back to the office to wait for the sale to (hopefully) take place. If the sale never took place, he'd have to drive back, pick up the diamond (or 2 or 3 or 4...) and drive back. Too many times these special deliveries did not turn to sales. He used all that gas and wear on his car, worried about being exposed with high value merchandise and most of all of the time it took him in traveling on the busy stressful freeways back and forth! That is "Dead Wood!" Did you know that V-By has the capability of recording videos? That's exactly what this member is doing. Today he is using the time to record a brief video of each of his important diamonds along with their certificates. Now when a store calls about a diamond, he shoots them a video (or 2 or 3 or 4...) Not only can the retailer look at the video, but it can be passed onto their customer with ease and show that customer how "hip" that retailer really is!
My member is lessening his cost, his exposure and his wear on his car and his body! He has begun the process of getting rid of the "Dead Wood" and is replacing it with V-By, smart technology! This member is working diligently to rid himself of that "Dead Wood" scenario so he has more time to work smartly.
It may take time to educate his retailers to accept this new way to work. But if you really want your business to succeed into the future, you are going to have to change it up! The question is why would you continue doing what isn't effective? Even if it takes awhile for you to gain momentum using technology, you already know it will work for your future!
I'm offering a discounted first year V-By membership right now. If you are ready to get rid of the "Dead Wood" in your business, now's the time to get V-By, smart technology!
What's your "Dead Wood?" Call me and we can figure it out. Deborah e. Hecht, g.g. (702) 524-3883
My sense of this year's Las Vegas shows were over all more positive than the last 4 years. I felt a flitter of a buzz and I'm glad. Every time I had a chance to chat with a seller in an elevator, in the ladies room or at the food court, I asked how they felt the show was going for them. Each one seemed a bit relieved. As though they too found business on an upswing. But, like usual, that doesn't mean everyone wrote good business. Just perhaps "better" business.
When I visited my V-By customers they each had a different story to tell. One of them told me that he had the best day ever at this show. Another mentioned that his location was less than desirable and interfered with the traffic he felt he could have had. Which did correlate with some the booth movement I noticed. Some designers changed shows. Moving from Luxury to JCK. Or from one room to another at the Luxury show. I think that was because some designers who work with silver or alternative metals found the Luxury booths too expensive for their product mix. I also heard that downstairs, where the less expensive merchandise is located, was busier than upstairs (where Luxury and The Design Center are located.)
VERY HOT FEET!!!
There was also a rumor about the entire venue moving... When I asked why the venue might move, I was told that the number of rooms interfered with the flow of traffic. But I can't imaging that the JCK didn't sign a long time contract, so I don't see a move happening any time soon.
Lastly was the Maroon 5 debacle... The venue at the beach held 1/2 the number of people that stood in line! Needless to say there were loads of show buyers and sellers very unhappy after waiting in line on HOT cement for 2 hours just to be turned away! Not the best way to end our show experience!
As a progressive thinker, I created V-By, an online method that provides a buyer direct access to a seller (the expert) along with showing detailed merchandise "live & in HD!" (SKYPE on steroids!) Its purpose is to make appointments between buyer and seller comfortable, convenient and safe. You set the time to meet from any devise!
The writing is on the wall... It's time to change how we do what we do. It's time to reinvent ourselves. If you look deep enough aren't you able to envision that change? Don't you want to? It might be hard to face and even uncomfortable all alone, but if we do it as a united force within the jewelry industry I believe it can be done. One step at a time. Remember, you invented yourself once...You can do it again. After all, "Aren't you still that diamond in the rough."