Jewelers Suite JHJ Magazine

Things I’ve learned from Harry Friedman: Part 1

Written by jewelerssuite

written by David Geller

There are lots of sales and management trainers in every industry. There are absolutely two people that helped to redirect my business and helped me to thrive and to set me on the right track.

On my price book it was an accountant who was sent to me from a diamond setter friend. The accountant, 10 years prior, gave up accounting, bought 2 books on Watch Repairing and self-taught did watch repair for 5-8 years. Now, I finally had an accountant who understood how to make money with your hands. He’s the person that showed me the light of day, which then allowed me to developed my Geller Price Book.

As a store manager and trainer, I was absolutely TERRIBLE.  My sales meetings had been occurring once in a while, and usually involved me telling the staff what they did wrong this week more than anything else. I also thought “if you want it done right, do it yourself.”


I was a good teacher when I taught bench skills, just not in teaching the sales staff selling skills nor was I good at 100% getting them to “buy into’ what I needed or wanted.

Then in 1991, I went to a 3-day Harry Friedman Store Management Bootcamp. What an eye-opening experience. I wasn’t the worst in the seminar by far, but nowhere near the top. Harry helps all kinds of retail industries. Jewelry stores are a big one, along with furniture stores, appliance, clothing, shoes and a few others.

That was in March 1991, and in June I paid a lot of money to bring him and his associates into my store for three days.  His associate was Brad Huisken, who is now a big trainer in our industry. The 3 days at his workshop and 3 days at my store turned us around. This is the first of a few articles on what he did to get me to excel.

To be able to get your sales staff to excel takes many skills. I had already mastered pricing for profits for the shop, now selling and closing ratios came next.

First things first:


Rather than having a hodgepodge of complaining sessions, we started having store sales meetings, like clockwork, every other Friday for an hour. The sales staff came in an extra ½ hour early to setup, so we had a full hour for training. We divided the meeting into 4 important training session, 15 minutes each.

  1. First 15 minutes:
    The most important part of our store was shop sales, so the first 15 minutes was on my price book , starting from page 1: Ring Sizing. Everyone had a book, “open up to page 1, sizing. This is why we charge so much to make it larger, and we have to be careful of the following fragile stores.”
    We had a white board and I’d draw pictures so they’d learn how procedures are performed and I’d explain the pricing and we’d go over things to say to customers concerned about price. How to sell. “Then turn to page 2, 18kt”.
    We stopped after 15 minutes and the next Friday meeting started at where we stopped. Took 6 months to go through and train on the whole book and the staff was well trained, priced correctly 90% of the time and asked fewer questions.
  2. 2nd 15 minutes:
    Product Knowledge. We let the sale staff teach this. They learn more teaching it than listening to me. Everyone signed up weeks in advance on a product type they wanted to teach. We were doing well selling loose color to go into our custom designs so one week Denise might talk, show, describe and sell a loose sapphire for her topic. She’d tell us where they are mined, difference in Thai and Ceylon, etc. and a little history on famous ones and do some roll playing with another associate in selling them, with objections coming at them. If we didn’t have stones, they could get them in on Memo.
  3. 3rd 15 minutes:
    Selling skills”
    Harry now has online video selling lessons for 8 industries.  Jewelry is one of them. The store manager oversees training and administers tests that come along with the training. At the time we did it, we bought VHS tapes and had workbooks. I taught the class most times with feedback from staff during the 3rd 15 minutes. We used Harrys simple but wonderful selling book titled “No thanks, I’m just looking”.
    Each meeting we could go over 1 or 2 chapters at a time
    1. Opening the sale
    2. Smoozing
    3. Add ons
    4. Objections
    5  and more
    It probably took 6 weeks to go through his book and we had individuals training on their own time in slow periods in the kitchen watching the tapes.
  4. Last 15 minutes:

Store news. Not store bitching. News!

New products or vendors we have gained recently. We also included information on our promotions, advertising, general questions.

We did this virtually twice a month for years to train the staff.

Our next article will be personal coaching Harry taught me, along with “keeping score”.

David Geller
Store Trainer

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