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Jimmy DeGroot: Is your business being held hostage? April 04, 2024 (0 comments)


Green Bay, WI--Sydney is a fantastic seller. She closes over 60% of her opportunities and sells over 50% of her store’s annual volume. She’s also a diva, a know-it-all, wedges her way into other people’s sales, and takes liberties with her store’s non-negotiables. But, the owners, Sharon and Will, don't dare to address her problem areas because she’s such a good seller even though she’s tearing the team apart. Do you have a Sydney in your store?

I’ve seen this scenario time and again and have never seen one that turned out well if it isn’t addressed. Sharon and Will are the ones with the investment, time and efforts that have built this business and now they’re held hostage on all future growth by Sydney. I’ve been in this position a few times and I understand that the scariest thing to do is to address it head on. You fear for your entire business. But I’m here to tell you that the prospect of one person holding the reins to your business is even scarier. 

This problem with Sydney needs to be addressed in a professional and respectful manner. She needs to be made aware of the problems she’s causing and how it’s affecting the team. This discussion should be documented and signed by her, and it must be made very clear that her employment at your store is contingent upon changes. Then after a predetermined amount of time, another meeting should take place to discuss her progress or lack thereof. This meeting should be documented as well. One more meeting should be planned to again discuss progress. Yup, this is a three-strike system. If no progress is made, it’s time for dismissal.  

I know this is one of the toughest decisions you can make, but if she changes for the better or gets released, your team will notice and will rally behind you with a new-found energy. In many cases this new energy can be exponential, taking your store further than you ever thought it could go now that the hostage taker has changed or been released. 

Before this happens at your store, set non-negotiables or store standards for operations, customer service and sales. Then hold regularly scheduled one-on-one meetings with your team (no fewer than once per quarter) to discuss their adherence to them. If there are no standards to uphold, people will simply run amuck with whatever tactics they’re accustomed to.  

I invite anyone who has a Sydney in their store to give me a call to chat.  I love helping people break the chains of business hostage takers. My number is 920-492-1191

James (Jimmy) DeGroot is a professional jewelry sales and operations trainer from the jeweler’s side of the counter. Having been in management and the jewelry business for over 20 years, Jimmy offers weekly training to jewelers nationwide via the Train Retail website. Jimmy is an AGS titleholder and specializes in training relevant and timely methods for jewelry teams. He can do a full training on making Bridal Presentations the best they can be, among many other regular training options. Contact Jimmy at or call 920-492-1191.

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