Toledo, OH—These are trying and uncertain times, and the challenges we are facing as an industry are undeniably massive.
We are not new to overwhelming challenges though, and even in the most difficult of times, people still get engaged, get married, have babies, and celebrate significant occasions and achievements. Adversity often makes those moments even more important. The inherent value and real significance of diamonds and fine jewelry, as well as our resilience and flexibility, make us better equipped to handle challenges than many other industries.
There’s great inspiration to be found in and much to be learned from our history, but today’s new world order demands an even greater level of versatility and innovation than at any time in our past. For some, this major turning point in our business presents an opportune time to exit. For the rest of us, it represents an amazing opportunity to learn from our customers and to come back better, stronger, and more successful than ever.
On an organizational level, times of crisis can be both threatening and liberating. For most, culture change is hard without a big shock that means all the old ‘rules’ can be broken. This is that moment.
Have you stopped short of making policy changes you knew were right for your business because you didn’t think you’d get the support of your long-tenured employees? Do you have a ‘prima donna’ (or two) on your team; i.e. the ones who sell well and get by with behaving badly in other areas because of it? Has it been easier to ignore performance not in keeping with your values than to confront it? This is your opportunity to re-open with a whole new sense of purpose – and a whole new set of non-negotiable standards that support the culture that defines your store brand.
What have you expected of yourself and your team over these past weeks with regard to engagement and learning? If you’ve held your team to a training schedule while they’ve been away from the store, you’ve got a head start. If you haven’t, there’s still time!
There is a wide variety of professional development and training options available right now, most at no cost to you. From [Centurion and] Instore webinars to DPA’s terrific e-learning program to online courses from the Platinum Guild and the International Society of Gemologists (among others) to recordings from programs created by MJSA – there is no shortage of ways to invest your time and payroll hours. Whether you are still closed, preparing to open, or taking the first tentative steps of bringing customers back, don’t let this opportunity slip away.
If you have kept your people on the payroll (even with the assistance of grant or loan programs), give them work to do!
Kate Peterson is the President of Performance Concepts, Inc., a company dedicated to providing innovative and effective consultation in the areas of organizational design and development, communication, retail operations, human resource management, sales and consumer behavior, and training and education focused on the learning needs of the luxury sales professional. This article previously appeared in the Tuesday Tips & Tricks newsletter from Fruchtman Marketing.