By Pat Henneberry
Pat Henneberry is vice president of global learning and development at Hearts On Fire. She also is founder of The Jewelry Coach, a sales training community for jewelers.

For my entire career, when I’ve told someone I am in “sales” it has seemed like I am saying a dirty word. I am on a campaign to stop this madness!

Many years ago, sales got a bad name from used car dealers. (Thanks a lot for that!) Yet, I still hold on to my business card from the ‘80s that reads “Artcarved Sales Representive,” and I am proud of it. Companies in our industry today can’t survive without salespeople.

You don’t have to be writing up orders to be in sales because everyone in the company is selling something--ideas, customer service, reputation and, of course, training. At Hearts On Fire, we have Account Specialists, Territory Managers and Global Trainers who all are, in some fashion, selling the brand.

This is the deal: Today, sales is really about selling yourself. Whether you are selling on a retail floor or you are selling a brand to a retailer, the bottom line is you need to build relationships and sell yourself.

Here are some simple sales tips that apply to any sales professional in our industry (and, yes, some of these are from the ‘80s.)

Remember the 80/20 rule: In many cases, 80 percent of your business comes from 20 percent of your customers. Focus on the 20 percent first.

It’s so much easier to research today than when I did it in the 1980s (we won’t discuss going to the local Dairy Queen to find out about the local jeweler … yes, you.) Today you have the internet and Google and websites and social media. Knowing about your customer is almost more important than knowing your products and brands. You can’t sell anything if you don’t know about who they are.

Get in Front
You need to get in front of your customers. Go where they are. Find them. Don’t sit around and wait for them to walk into your store. If you are a rep on the road, you should be joining all the state associations in your territory, attending the regional shows and getting in front of your customers.

Talk Less
You will always get better results if you ask relevant questions and then listen to your customers’ needs. It will be so much easier to position yourself effectively.

Create demand. Remember--it’s not about how much it’s worth, it’s how much people think it’s worth. Customers buy products because it helps them solve a problem. Also, when selling, make sure you remember the customers’ problems and show them how your product will make their life easier, like letting him know only a 3-carat diamond will get him out of his mess!

Most of the time, we need to stop selling and let our customers buy. Stop being a “clerk.” Consumers today really dislike that approach. Don’t be aggressive. Present an opportunity. In my sales training workshops, we are always looking at “what’s the opportunity” with our customers, not how we can sell them.

You need to develop a sense of humor. Learn how to see humor in every situation. If you can make a customer smile, you’re halfway there. Like I remind customers all the time, this should be fun. Let’s enjoy this process.

Follow up
You don’t want them to forget about you. You don’t have to be a pest, but I like it when people are reminding me and following up with me. We are all so busy that doing this is helpful and it builds trust. I get the feeling that you are taking me seriously when you follow up.

No Sale, No Problem
Take it with grace. When they blow you off, just move on. It’s part of business, and you aren’t going to sell everyone. The sooner you move on, the sooner you’ll make another sale.

Pat Henneberry is vice president of global learning and development at Hearts On Fire. She also is founder of The Jewelry Coach, a sales training community for jewelers. Reach her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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