Independents

5 Questions on ‘Sell Something’

IndependentsDec 20, 2016

5 Questions on ‘Sell Something’

Vibhor Gems president, author and National Jeweler columnist Peter Smith answers questions about his new book, which is out now.

20161220_Sell-Something.jpg
Peter Smith, the author of “Hiring Squirrels: 12 Essential Interview Questions to Uncover Great Retail Sales Talent,” has a new book out called “Sell Something: Principles and Perspectives for Engaged Retail Salespeople.”
New York--In his new book for retail salespeople, Peter Smith explores the paradox of choice and the contrast principle, and explains how something called regret avoidance can be a powerful motivator for consumers.

Sell Something is not, as Smith puts it, a typical “Sales 101”-type of book.

Recently, the Vibhor Gems president and National Jeweler columnist took the time to answer five questions about his new book, which is available now on Amazon.

Sell Something is Smith’s second book, following 2014’s Hiring Squirrels.

National Jeweler: What inspired you to write Sell Something?

Peter Smith: I felt like I really had something to say on a subject that I wasn’t reading about or hearing about in the jewelry space.

There are lots of people conducting what I’d call variations on time-worn themes when it comes to sales training and understanding sales personnel, but I wasn’t seeing much that was incorporating the really important advances in neuroscience that have come to the fore in the last 10 years or so. These advances allow us to now understand human behavior (salespeople and customers) in a way that we couldn’t previously.

NJ: What kind of research did you do for the book?

PS: I used 60 or so direct sources in Sell Something. That would include mostly books on the social sciences and some relevant white papers. Those references come from the top researchers, academics and writers in the field of neuroscience; people such as Susan Cain, Adam Grant, Daniel Pink, Amy Cuddy, Daniel Kahneman, Daniel Goleman, etc.

My passion for the social sciences means that about half of the 50 or so books I’ll read in a given year fit into that category, so I was able to access years of reading and dozens of highlighted works on the subject.

Then, of course, I have the luxury of seeing things up close and personal from my own work in the industry, studying retail and, in particular, retail salespeople.

Lastly, when I was working on (my last book) Hiring Squirrels, I used personality-assessment data from more than 700 salespeople who were then employed in independent retail stores.

That data, and those profiles, of course, were very helpful in understanding both successful salespeople (42 percent) and those who were not at all suited to sales (58 percent) and helped to shape Sell Something.

NJ: What is the most common mistake retail jewelry salespeople make that cause them to lose a sale?

PS: I have to give you two of the most common mistakes. The first one is that far too many salespeople think that those who know the most sell the most. Nothing could be further from the truth, and this over-reliance on product information dumping, instead of making real emotional connections, costs millions of dollars in lost business in our industry every day.

The second point is that salespeople think the customer will tell them when they are ready to buy, instead of the salesperson owning the responsibility for influencing and inspiring the customer into wanting to make a purchase. 


NJ: What is the No. 1 thing you hope readers take away from this book?

PS: I would hope that salespeople who are serious about their profession will be reminded that there is no substitute for serial learning. That means learning about the business of sales and human behavior and not just products.

There are so many resources available to salespeople today, and they really should be dedicating a few minutes every day; listening to TED Talks, podcasts, or reading articles, books and posts about sales and consumer behavior.

NJ: What is your favorite anecdote from the book?

PS: One story in particular stands out. Lara, a salesperson who is a top performer, was having an unusually hard time connecting with a man who had entered her store. I could sense her frustration as she recounted her story, and yet it was clear that she was doing a magnificent job reading the customer and demonstrating real empathy in her efforts to make a meaningful connection. 

In the end, we learn that the man had just realized a terrible tragedy in his life and, despite the fact that no salesperson could ever have been prepared for that news, Lara managed the situation to an end that was immensely satisfying for the customer and over and beyond what one might reasonably have expected under the circumstances. 

Michelle Graffis the editor-in-chief at National Jeweler, directing the publication’s coverage both online and in print.

The Latest

Lightbox lab grown diamond pendant in yellow gold
Lab-GrownFeb 26, 2024
Lightbox ‘Significantly’ Lowered Its Prices in Q4

The De Beers-owned lab-grown diamond company dropped the price on its standard offerings from $800/carat to $600/carat.

JA New York signs
Events & AwardsFeb 26, 2024
JA New York to Bring the Diamond District to Spring Show

The upcoming show will have an immersive “47th Street Experience” for attendees.

GIA Dubai laboratory
GradingFeb 26, 2024
GIA Opens Lab in Dubai

The new DMCC Laboratory at Uptown Tower will initially serve clients in Dubai free trade zones.

GIA id100
Brought to you by
Full Disclosure at Your Fingertips

Distinguishing natural diamonds from laboratory-grown stones – now more available than ever – has been difficult for jewelers. Until now.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 36 with affirmations
WatchesFeb 23, 2024
Rolex to Open New Watchmaking School in Dallas

The Rolex Watchmaking Training Center will welcome its first class this fall.

Weekly QuizFeb 22, 2024
This Week’s Quiz
Test your jewelry news knowledge with this short test.
Take the Quiz
Guzema Freedom heart pendant for Ukraine
CollectionsFeb 23, 2024
Piece of the Week: Guzema’s ‘Freedom’ for Ukraine Pendant

Ukrainian jewelry designer Valeriya Guzema’s charitable “Freedom” collection is inspired by hope for the country’s future.

Elton John’s leopard print Rolex Daytona watch
AuctionsFeb 22, 2024
Elton John’s Leopard-Print Rolex Roars at Auction

Two Cartier watches also topped their estimates at Christie’s “The Collection of Sir Elton John: Goodbye Peachtree Road” evening sale.

flashforge pic.png
Brought to you by
WaxJet: Revolution in Jewelry Manufacturing

The WaxJet 400, recognized as the world's fastest wax printer, is bringing in a new era of precision and efficiency to industry.

Buccellati header
TrendsFeb 22, 2024
Buccellati to Open ‘Prince of Goldsmiths’ Exhibition

Set to be held in Venice, it’s a look through the maison’s history.

813-carat “Constellation” diamond in rough form
SourcingFeb 22, 2024
Lucara, HB Group Partnership Revived

It is another 10-year sales agreement in which all the larger rough recovered from the Karowe mine will go to HB Group for manufacturing.

Sebastian Clarke and Katherine van Dell of Heritage Auctions
AuctionsFeb 22, 2024
Heritage Auctions Adds 2 New Hires to West Palm Beach Office

Sebastian Clarke and Katherine van Dell, frequent appraisers on “Antiques Roadshow,” will join the new office.

National Jeweler columnist Sherry Smith
ColumnistsFeb 21, 2024
On Data: January Was a ‘Mixed Bag’ for Independent Jewelers

Sherry Smith dishes on the month’s highs and lows and the two categories consumers were loving ahead of Valentine’s Day.

Stock image of diamonds
GradingFeb 21, 2024
GIA’s Same-Day Service Now Available Everywhere

The new service, introduced to stem fraud related to lab-grown diamonds, will be offered at no cost for the time being.

Jam + Rico Claire’s jewelry
CollectionsFeb 21, 2024
Jam + Rico Debuts Second Claire’s Collection

Founder Lisette Scott was inspired by the intricacy, colors, and symbolism of African art and architecture.

Rapaport logo
SourcingFeb 21, 2024
Rapaport to Hold Another Natural Pearl Auction

Viewings start this week in New York and bidding will close on March 8.

National Jeweler columnist Peter Smith
ColumnistsFeb 20, 2024
Squirrel Spotting: Life After Rolex

Peter Smith shares advice from independent jewelers who used losing this cornerstone brand as a catalyst for reinvention.

Neile Adams McQueen and Steve McQueen
AuctionsFeb 20, 2024
Jewels from Neile Adams McQueen Shine at Bonhams

All 13 lots belonging to the actress and first wife of Steve McQueen sold at the recent “California Jewels” sale.

Stuller bench jeweler
Events & AwardsFeb 20, 2024
Stuller to Host Bench Jeweler Workshop in March

Registration is also open for its “Battle of the Benches” challenge.

Jade Ruzzo gold and diamond Tennessee Torque necklace
CollectionsFeb 16, 2024
Piece of the Week: Jade Ruzzo’s Tribute to Tennessee

The movement of the 18-karat gold and diamond “Tennessee Torque” necklace is subtle.

Jared Goff and Claudia Cividino
MajorsFeb 15, 2024
Detroit Lions’ QB Jared Goff Going to Jared

Goff, whose fans hold up “He Went to Jared” signs at games, has signed a partnership with the retailer.

De Beers Venetia diamond mine
SourcingFeb 15, 2024
De Beers’ Production Down 8% in 2023

The company recovered 31.9 million carats of diamonds in 2023, compared with 34.6 million in 2022.

Gina D’Onofrio Heritage Auctions
AuctionsFeb 15, 2024
Heritage Auctions Names New Co-Director of Fine Jewelry

Industry veteran Gina D’Onofrio has rejoined the auction house.

Indian Diamond and Colorstone Association (IDCA) awards
Events & AwardsFeb 15, 2024
IDCA Hands Out Awards in Tucson

The association also celebrated its 40th anniversary.

A selection of engagement rings
TrendsFeb 14, 2024
5 Engagement Ring Trends for 2024

From three-stone rings to fancy shapes, experts weigh in on what consumers could be looking for this year.

Boucheron Power of Couture
CollectionsFeb 14, 2024
Boucheron’s New High Jewelry Collection Pays Homage to Ceremony, History

“Power of Couture” recalls Frédéric Boucheron’s love of fabric using diamonds and rock crystal.

Rough diamonds from Gahcho Kue diamond mine
SourcingFeb 14, 2024
De Beers’ Rough Diamond Sales Improve Slightly

The diamond miner and marketer said “solid” holiday sales in the U.S. helped stabilize the industry.

Jonker I Diamonds
SourcingFeb 14, 2024
‘100 Carats’ Exhibition Opens at LA Museum

A new display at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County features dozens of gemstones each weighing 100 carats or more.

×

This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy