How to Fail in the Jewelry Business

We all know what success looks like: Bill Gates. Elon Musk. Jeff Bezos. Kermit the Frog.

Yes, Kermit the Frog.

Bill and Elon and Jeff all are remarkably innovative, visionary and driven. They know how to pick the right team, motivate them, communicate expectations, reward performance. They understand tenacity and develop insights by doing the research. They also have uncompromising standards when it comes to quality.

As for Kermit, well, he’s just likable. And he’s been around much longer than the other three. Having a relationship with someone you like for that many years is indeed a success. What’s Kermit’s secret? He seems to know us and express the very feelings we all feel while making a personal connection with each of us.

According to a recent Forbes article, there are four main reasons businesses fail. We’ll add a fifth at the end that applies directly to the jewelry business. Here are the Forbes Four:

1. Making the wrong hires.

This is obvious, but so many small businesses hire based on convenience rather than qualifications. In the jewelry business you need people who understand the sentimental connection to life events as much as gemology.

2. Lack of a solid marketing plan.

Opening your doors every morning and collecting emails of customers is not a marketing plan. Neither is asking for reviews and sending a handwritten card to your best customers. And hiring your nephew to dress up like a bear and spin a sign in front of your store isn’t marketing either (see point number 1.) Marketing begins by creating a personal relationship with each person that walks in the door, understanding what emotional connections they are trying to create and making it easy for them to choose the right product to fill that need.

3. Ineffective team management.

It’s easy to set expectations, much more difficult to encourage behavior that generates sales and to hold salespeople accountable.Running a small business is time-consuming. Anything that automates the process is welcome, but it has to be focused on the core of your business: creating and sustaining personal relationships with customers so they become clients. This is called clienteling. And it requires the mindset of Jeff Bezos and Kermit theFrog.

4. Poor communication from the top.

The right communication starts with example. If you are living proof of great customer service then your employees will want to learn from you. If you are visionary like Elon Musk and approachable like Kermit, you will have many opportunities to teach employees to be successful. But you can’t be there for every action your employees make. Best to have some tools that help them be successful, that give you a quick summary of activities so you know where to offer help and encouragement.

5. Care only about sales.

This is the biggest mistake you can make in the jewelry business. People know when they are being sold something they don’t want. They know when they are being up-sold. They know when you care more about commissions than feelings.

The jewelry business is centered on emotional decisions and connecting to people to create trust. Watch a child interact with Kermit and you see her whisper secrets to the green frog. That’s trust. And the more customers you can get to share their secrets, aspirations, anticipations and wishes for the people they love, the more successful you’ll be. The trick is keeping track of it all. Luckily, that’s what Clientbook is for.

Clientbook. Because every customer deserves to be treated like a client.


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