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Interview with Jewelry Sales Optimization Expert Kathleen Cutler

In Episode #56 of the Joy Joya Jewelry Marketing Podcast, I interview Kathleen Cutler, founder of Bespoke Commerce and CEO of Kathleen Cutler Strategy. Kathleen helps high-end jewelers bring more money into their businesses by using sales strategies and systems that are easy for her clients to learn and maintain.

I first met Kathleen in person at the most recent Jewelry Ecomm Live! event in Miami, where she was also a presenter and spoke about how jewelry business owners can use technology without losing the personal, human connection with their customers. I was immediately impressed by Kathleen’s vast knowledge of sales optimization strategies for jewelry brands.

In addition, her client case studies blew my mind! While one of her clients saw $14,367 in new sales in one month, another saw an increase of 48% year over year and a 96% increase in average order value – and those are just a few of many examples of how she’s helped her clients grow their businesses exponentially. I had so much fun picking her brain for over an hour on this episode, so grab some popcorn and find a comfortable chair because you’re about to learn so much about improving your sales!

In this episode, we discuss topics like:

  • How does she begin the process of assessing a new client’s needs and then getting that client on track?
  • Why do jewelry brands need to shift the way they think about and execute sales?
  • What are some of the most common mistakes that jewelry brands make when it comes to sales and marketing?
  • How can jewelry brands consistently maintain an element of human touch when communicating with customers, even if they’re communicating with those customers via a digital platform like Instagram DM or Facebook Messenger?
  • What’s the deal with millennials? Why should jewelry brands care about reaching this generation?
  • What is her favorite client success story and why?
  • What are some strategies that jewelry brands can start implementing next year, and what can they do to distinguish themselves?

Below are some highlights from the interview with their corresponding time stamps, so you can skip to the relevant position in the interview if you’re interested in hearing more about any specific topic:

11:43 – Why “vanity” metrics like website traffic and social media followers don’t work

“Do we need more traffic, or do we actually need people who’ve already bought from us before to buy from us again? I like to say, “Eat the lowest hanging fruit first.” How can we basically turn the traditional e-commerce funnel – which just says if you get more traffic, it will lead to more leads, which will lead to more sales – on its head and instead reverse it? We can say, “Okay, if we actually just reengage with our top 20% of clients, really get to know them, invite them back in again and again, give them another taste. Make sure that, you know, they’re always continuously purchasing with us.”

14:48 – Keep a “little black book”

“Have a working knowledge of your top 20 clients and organize them in a certain way. Make sure that, if you have a brick and mortar store or if you are a designer who has quite a big team, that everyone knows who those people are. So if you have staff turnover, you’re not losing that institutional knowledge. You’re maintaining a little black book.”

15:44 – Why you must know your top clients

“Now more than ever, it’s imperative to really know your top clients and treat them like they are the VIP. They’re paying your bills. You know, if you start to identify your top clients, you might find they make up a huge percentage of your sales. And if you’re like some of the clients I work with, you might find that if you’ve had a good client and they’re just really happy and they love your stuff and they never complain, you actually might not talk to them very much versus your squeaky-wheel people who always want to return or exchange or modify or something like that. They’re kind of taking up all of your time, and your VIP clients aren’t getting any of your time. So really understanding who your top clients are is the first step.

24:21 – What’s the quickest way to cash?

“I’m always asking my clients, ‘What’s your quickest way to cash?’ Is it more Instagram followers or is it keeping in touch with people who’ve already purchased from you? And the answer’s always: it’s keeping in touch with people who’ve already purchased from you. When people say, ‘Oh, I don’t have time to do this.’ It’s like, well, where can you identify places where you could maybe dial back the effort in some ways and really amplify the effort in the sales realm?”

29:17 – Customers rarely click “buy” on a first look

“So rarely will someone visit your website from Instagram and click ‘buy’ on, you know, a $1,200 piece or $30,000 piece. There will almost always be a conversation that happens in between someone discovering you and actually purchasing from you. And it’s really: how can you use that to your advantage as a jeweler, and how can you have some systems in place where you are always responding in a really beautiful way?”

37:34 – How Kathleen helps her clients get on track

“We create a full-out system that can grow with you. So we start really small, again, looking at those top clients, really matching the message, hitting send together, then making sure those messages get out. And then, yes, we build out like a totally beautiful system for them. We explore the questions “What touch points do you have before the sale? What touch points do you have after the sale?”

42:29 – The role of a website in the sales process

“You don’t want it to be a soul-less shop that people just walk through and leave. You want them to start to interact with you. Make your website more sticky and be about opening conversations and then have a way to track those conversations and make sure you’re responding to them and not, you know, kind of not losing that thread as well.

50:19 – Why an abandoned cart is a good thing

I actually encourage my clients to be notified of their high value carts, whatever represents a high value cart for them, be it. If someone abandons a high-value cart, I want to be notified, so you can say, “I noticed you just abandoned the bangle bracelets. These are some of my favorite bracelets. I actually have a video of one. Do you want me to send it over? Or do you want to hop on a phone call? Do you have some questions?” You’re starting to open these conversations with them. I love when carts are abandoned because it showed intent to purchase. And now we just need to understand what held them back from purchasing.”

52:29 – Why millennials matter

Now they are mainly 30 plus. They have families. The millennial female population is on track to be the single-most educated population in the history of the United States. So that’s pretty fantastic that they’re hugely educated. And they’re expected to account for 30% of sales in the U.S. And also, they’re at the start of this long buying cycle.”

Be sure to visit Kathleen’s website and download her informative ebook. You can also follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.