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Sales Strategy

To Train or Not to Train |  November 27, 2020 (0 comments)


Green Bay, WI--I was staring out the jewelry store window on a beautiful fall day in 1997 thinking about business and why I only have two cars in the parking lot.  One customer was a forever browser and one was in for a… you guessed it, watch battery.  Frustrated, I decided to take a drive down the road and found no less than a dozen cars in the parking lot of our newest competitor.  Walking inside to introduce myself I met the manager who happened to be a past rep for a line we carried.  I convinced him I was taking him to lunch and there I learned that they were on track to surpass our volume (a 20 year journey, theirs was only a 2 year journey thus far).  After I nearly fell off my chair I learned that their secret was 2 things, MARKETING and TRAINING.

And thus began my venture to become proficient at both.

Fast forward a few years and the now two stores have grown exponentially and continue growth to this day.  Now marketing is an entirely different article and for another day.  So today it’s all about training.  I’ve found through many years of training people that the magic is in DISCUSSION. 

Your people talk and talk and talk. They talk while setting up in the morning, pulling at the end of day and constantly between the two.  So I’ve found that the most successful stores will have an actual sit-down training meeting at least once per week, but then continue that training session with an ongoing discussion throughout the week.  If it’s left as a singular event and everyone scatters as the doors open, then it’s a waste of time, money and frustrates your people.  Rather, put your sales manager or anyone (if you don’t have a sales manager) in charge of leading the discussion towards that topic throughout the week.  This is so much more effective if the discussion happens just as a customer leaves should not be in the presence of other customers.

Here’s an example:  You watch a training video on NOT DISCOUNTING.  First you have an honest  group discussion on how your store is doing with this.  You get folks to understand the current state your store is in and then to realize that THEY must do something about it.  Then a good leader asks the group opinions as to how they as a team can alleviate excess discounting.  Now there’s group buy-in.  They now OWN the problem and realize through their input that THEY can solve this problem together. 

Next, salesperson Tina is working with a client and gives in to a 30% discount and throws in the head and sizing.  Her backup buddy overheard the presentation and when that client leaves, the two discuss ways to avoid discounting in the future. These can often be brilliant and can draw the two buddies closer together.  In a sense, this is the role paying that we always hear about but never do.  Your team is involved in an ONGOING DISCUSSION, focusing on the problem and fixing it together.  Now of course with this particular topic of non-discounting, games, contests and monetary incentives always make things more interesting.

As simple as this method sounds, as a trainer, I’m often asked by jewelers to “Come in and fix my team”.  But I know from experience that I will only go in there, create some immediate change, and it will usually fall back to business as usual in a few weeks.  Effective training must be an ongoing discussion  that  involves everyone constantly solving problems together and making corrections.  I know many stores who will play a training audio or video file while setting up and then discussing the training right before the store opens.  Some have full-on training meetings once a week and others even send their people the session to listen to in their car or at home, then a discussion at the store during setup.

However you chose to train your people, you will be much more effective and have great growth in sales and store culture if its FREQUENT and REGULAR, INVOLVES THEIR INPUT FOR BUY IN and CREATES AN ONGOING, DAILY DISCUSSION.   One final thought.  In this day and age when finding good people can prove difficult, regularly offering effective training to your existing and new people can really help boost their decision to stay at your store.  It will be a signal to them that you mean business and that they have upward income mobility because your team is always moving forward.

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 trains jewelers nationwide via the website  Jimmy is an AGS titleholder and specializes in training relevant and timely methods for jewelry teams. Contact Jimmy at or call 920-492-1191.

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