About Victor Franchetti INC.

I am a Sales and Marketing expert that has experience in many aspects of the field including product placement with retail chains, jewelry and rough diamonds, financial products and much more. My experience is mostly in management level and above.

Only In Redding

Only in Redding

I sit in a Starbucks in a small Northern California town gazing into my iPad. From afar, I catch the blowing breeze of a conversation between three older men. One donning the armor of a retiree (tan shorts, scoop neck short and silver helm), the other two wear the armor of house Redding (Levi jeans and flannel shirts). What they are discussing is lost on me as I have forsaken my ability to fully speak Redding, but I translate a few choice sentences, one goes like this:

“I have been to Los Angeles once and to San Jose twice….”

after that I lost the the translation and all I could hear was grunts and guttural noises, but that key phrase rang in my ears, L.A once and to San Jose twice, these places may seem like far off castles in the sky to the unknowing ear, but they are fairly close to this deserted outpost, yet these older men speak of these places like they lie sleeping across the atlantic.

Breaking news: a farmer just joined the table, complete with overalls-dirty cap-orange shirt and everything, no this is not the lead up to a joke, this is the reality of Redding California: Breaking News

As i stare out the window of the Starbucks gazing into the empty intersection, I feel like an alien visiting a dusty 1950’s diner, trying my hardest to understand this strange place, but only succeeding in longing for home, or culture or understanding……humanity?

A thought bubble appears over my head:

{is this place an anomaly, or are there others like it, scarred landscapes devoid of culture, travel, places where the printed word still dominates and people order their coffees as a large, not a venti.}

The urge to run away washes over me like a giant salt crusted wave crashing over the white sand of a Caribbean hideaway, but some unknown force keeps me here. More retired newspapers walk in, no digital media in sight, I am alone. The guttural noises start to make more sense, am I starting to understand the language again, should I buy a newspaper and trash the iPad, do I need suspenders, I can’t take back my travels or culture, but I can forget, maybe I should assimilate, I resist the urge, assimilation here would be a slow death.

I start to think, is this place unique? I have heard of other places like this, but I thought that they have disappeared, become extent like the pterodactyl. This isolated place, so close to a stronghold of culture (San Francisco), yet so far away from culture itself. Why is cultured shunned, hated, put in shackles and thrown into a dark dungeon? Maybe there is a comfort in this town that I never knew, or resisted all the years that I lived here, a sort of peace that the rest of us long for…..I do not know, the conversation now transforms into power tools as the farmer starts to walk away, it seems to get heated, in a polite way, i understand every third word-Power tool……..Drills, Saws..Machine………..there is nothing wrong with power tools, I have used them in another life, but a heated power tool conversation in Starbucks, only in Redding.

Mike Story

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Why Do Sales People Fail: Some Personal Thoughts

Why Do Sales People Crash and Burn…..

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1- They Don’t Like Sales:

Too many people take a sales job based on a recruiters promise of never ending commissions and a wonderland type workplace where they all play racquetball, show up to work late and leave when they like. They take these jobs based not on a love for sales, but on the dream of big money and flexible work schedules-these people inevitably fail. It is a very simple proposition, if you don’t like or respect the job of selling, you will not succeed. Your customer can and will tell when you don’t like or respect your sales job, they can sense the difference between a salesperson that likes to sell and one that only likes to cash the commission check. This point sums up very easily, if you don’t like to sell, don’t be a salesperson, you will fail..

2-They Don’t Believe in the Company or Product:

Your cant sell what you don’t believe in or even worse what you think is garbage. I can’t count the number of salespeople that have tried to pitch me on a product that they obviously wouldn’t buy theirselves and sometimes disdain having to sell. I know a lot of salespeople will tell me that it doesn’t matter if I believe in the product, I can sell anything to anyone, and, to a point this may be true, but when you don’t believe in your product, even if you can fake it verbally and emotionally, your lack of belief and confidence In your product always shows up. It shows up In Your body language, in unintentional changes in pitch and in many other small and often unnoticed things done by the salesperson. But, as a salesperson, you may not notice these tells, as a customer, we are looking for them and pick up on them quickly. If you find yourself in a position where you don’t believe in the product, talk to your manager about this problem, make him or her convince you that what they represent is a good product and worth selling. If your sales management can’t convince you that the product is worth selling, then maybe it is not, and start looking for another job because failure will be knocking on your door in that situation.

3- They Don’t Have a Routine:

A good salesperson has a routine, one for in office, in the field and in front of customers. If you have ever observed a superstar salesperson at their job, you will notice that they do a lot of the same things both during, before and after their sales pitch. Being a salesperson is like being an athlete, you need to have consistency and routine. You warm up the same way, you throw your pitch the same every-time and if you let yourself get thrown out of your rhythm, you stumble. Routine is important to keep you focused especially when facing multiple rejections and failures. A salesperson without a routine will be greatly effected by rejection but a salesperson with a strict and polished routine will suffer ( if any) very little negativity brought on by mass rejection.

4- They Don’t Ask for the Sale:

This problem plagues many salespeople in every industry and I can’t count how many times I have gone with salespeople to observe them and they do everything right, a good routine, a great pitch, product belief, they love to sell, but we walk away without the business and when everything aligns but you don’t get the sale, there is normally one thing to blame- you never asked for the sale!!!
This is the most important part of sales, ask for the sale. If you have done everything right and you believe in the product, then asking for the sale is a no brainier. A salesperson can not fear rejection and can not be timid about asking for the sale, that is why you are on the phone or in front of the customer, they know you are not there for coffee and tea, so don’t be afraid to ask, especially if you have done your job, put the pressure on the customer to reject you and give you reasons why, put them in that uncomfortable position, not yourself.

5- Management, Management, Management:

No matter how good a salesperson you are,if your management doesn’t have a plan, execute that plan, coherently convey that plan to the sales team and instill confidence in that plan, as a salesperson, you are going to have a hard time being successful. When working as part of a sales team, it is up to the management to make sure that the team members are trained, confident in what is being sold, knowledgeable in what is being sold and that they have the proper avenues for question and answer as needed. Sales management needs to have an open door policy for questions and concerns. The sales people need to know that their leadership is there to support them at all times. The sales management is in charge of putting the right people in the right places, making sure they have the tools and training to succeed and Making sure that the sales team is motivated and dedicated to and for the job. In a sales team, success can begin and end with the sales management.

A salesman, like the storage battery in your car, is constantly discharging energy. Unless he is recharged at frequent intervals he soon runs dry. This is one of the greatest responsibilities of sales leadership.
-R. H. Grant

Product Integration Into Large Retail Chains

Tips on integrating your product into large retail chains

1-be prepared

This one should be obvious, but you would be surprised how many sales managers and VPs go to large retail chains without all their product, sales or marketing info. You don’t get two first impressions and with a lot of these large retail chains, the first impression is key, mainly if you are dealing with an upper level territorial manager or upper level executive. Have all the data you need at your fingertips. Use a tablet like an iPad for quick data lookup and make sure to have some type of a written bound report that will highlight the important facts and graphs that will use or mention in your sales presentation or meeting.

2-know the store policies and rules on integration before hand, especially if you are trying to get around them.

This is very important, every retail chain has its own rules when it comes to full product integration and if you go into a meeting formal or informal without full knowledge of these rules and regulations, you will be putting yourself one step out of the door. This is especially important if you are trying to circumvent a rule that they have regarding outside product integration. When you are trying to circumvent one of their rules, you must not only know that rule inside out, but know all supporting rules and any rules that are in the same realm as the one that you are trying to go around. You must also be prepared to sell your point for going around a company policy and why it is a good idea. and trust me, you will not be the first one to try this, but you better be the most prepared and polished in order to be successful.

3-Be a salesman.

I tell people this all the time, you are a sales executive, so be a salesman. So many of us get into management roles and we become only businessmen, but we must be both and remember what made us a good VP of sales or Regional manager of sales and marketing and that was our ability to be a superstar salesman. Don’t lose this, it is especially important when trying to integrate your product line I to major retail chains. These chains get business,en pitching their products all the time, but how often do they get a true superstar salesman, not often. Prove to them why you are a VP and make it happen. There are only two outcomes in sales and they are both the same, success, failure is never an option.

4-try to get your products integrated locally, then move from there.

This is for when you have a very new product with no sales history and limited supply and manufacturing resources. It can be very easy to get your product into local stores of a top retail chain. This is relationship, relationship, relationship. Get to know the zone managers and the store managers, let them try out the product. Do some local surveys. Prove to the, that it will sell and that it is a good idea to try out an end-cap or other promotional display and be relentless. If you devote the time and effort, you will get your product in,locally. You may have to stock and restock yourself, but it will be worth. Once your product starts selling out, have the manager get you a meeting with the regional or district manager and move on from there. It will take some time, but this approach has a high rate of success and can end up in full product integration, the only thing that can stand in your way is your own ability to fill POs (purchase orders).

5-know your competition and their stats.

This one is highly important. Know your competing products that the retail chain currently stocks. Find out their weaknesses and any aspect of that product that may make them unattractive to a retail chain. For example, if you are trying to get your wood dowels into Home Depot, research the competition and dig into where they get their wood and if there are any illegal or immoral environmental aspects of the logging operation. Start a small social media campaign introducing the consumer to this and where these products are ticked. Try to get some environmental groups on your side and then pitch you environmentally friendly wood dowel with an environmental group endorsement to the retail chain. Odds are that they are going to want to showcase your product and make a big deal out of the green friendly alternative. You may not take a large market share out of our competitor, but it will,get you in the door. They say that knowledge is power, in the sales and marketing game, it is everything.

7-try to make friends.

This is obvious, don’t be a jerk. No one wants to help out or work with someone they don’t like unless they have to. Put the attitude on the back-burner and focus on the job at hand. This is more for the hiring department or for small startups and businesses on the VP,or President himself. Sales is all about the relationship and no one wants to be friends with a jerk.

To sum it up, take all of the skills that made you the VP or Manager and use those to get full product integration, you rose to the top for a reason and you should only be limited by your production ability when it comes to product integration into large retail chains.

    The key is not to “call the decision make.” The key is to “have the decision maker call you.”

–Jeffrey Gitomer

Rough Diamond Suppliers via TradeKey, Alibaba and like sites

Online sellers via trade key and alibaba, the PROS and CONS and the way to make these websites work for you.

1-scammers,some ways to identify

a-ip address originating country does not match the country that the person says that they are in. You will never find a real supplier or broker of rough diamonds with an ip address that doesn’t match their stated country of origin.

b-they will sign contracts and ship the rough to you for a price, sounds great, no travel costs, all the work is done, they will show you a great manifest…..THIS IS ALL FALSE, no supplier will ever ship you goods without prior inspection and or travel to said country.

c-They are on a trade website. 99.9 % of these guys are scammers, the key is how to make the scammer work for you..

d-Rough diamonds are always (almost always at least, if you are going through a legitimate large company such as DGI or DeBeers then you can trust their manifests, if they give you one, with no worries) sold in mixed parcels. Meaning that you will get the good with the bad. Almost all of these “suppliers” on these trade sites will promise you rough diamond parcels with the highest quality and the largest stones only. If a seller actually did this, he would sell off his best quality stuff and be stuck with the garbage stones, they don’t normally like to do that. Every parcel that I have ever purchased has had good and bad stones and this is where an expert comes in. If you have an expert in rough ID with cutting experience, he can give an approximation of the value of the parcel, with that you can calculate your profit margin and negotiate from there. With my buyers, I have always used the Adtec price list as my baseline for rough prices, some buyers like this and some do not, it depends on the buyer. The seller will almost always tell you that this is not a reliable price list and that they are too low, but remember they are there to maximize their profits, not yours. In short, only scammers offer the best of the best unless they are representing a large and well known diamond company.

2-If 99.99% of these sellers on these trade websites are scammers, then why go on these sites.

a-there are always those .01% that are out there, and surfing these trade sites is free, there is no travel cost per day and no risk of getting sick, kidnapped or whatever else can happen out in the bush in Africa.

b-While most of these supposed sellers are scammers, there are a percentage of them (probably 10%) that work as brokers for actual rough suppliers or for another direct broker to an actual rough supplier. This means that they can make a rough purchase happen for, usually, a commission between 1-2% of the sale price. I have done this with these trade sites and it worked well. To find out if they can set this type of a meeting up, just ask them. If they get offended and call you a liar etc, they probably can’t help, but if they agree and give you some contact info in the country you are traveling, it is worth checking into. On a sub-note, never let these guys know the exact month, day or week that you are arriving, they will track the airports and try to find out where you are staying etc. They may try to tell you that you must have a referral for a visa into their country, this is usually not true. I have been to many of the African nations and have been told this many times by brokers or rough suppliers on the ground but have never needed a referral for a visa. Most African nations let you get a visa at their own airport while for some you must apply at your nearest consulate and wait. There are also websites that can handle all your visa needs for a price. The easiest thing to do is to just check into the countries visa process through their local or closest consulate and go from there.

To sum this article up, while the supposed sellers on these trade sites are usually trying to run a scam on you, if you are a savvy buyer and can understand how they work, you can use a few of them to your advantage. Most of these guys are trying to scrape together a living without much opportunity and they will scam you if you let them, when confronted with the opportunity to make money the legit way, they will take it if they can.

Determining the Value of Your Rough

Determining the value of your rough.

As I have said in a prior article, I use the Adtec price guide for my basic valuation of price for rough diamond purchasing, but this is not an absolute way to value as there are other ways to value rough depending on many factors. In this article, I will discuss one such factor,final cut valuation and how it was represented in a recent article on a popular diamond website.

I just read an article from a website that I will name that uses the final cutting price to determine value, this is a fine way of determining value, especially if you are selling directly to a cutter (you need to realize that there are expenses in the cutting process so he will have to margin those into the final price.) or cutting yourself. This method takes the final price per carat of the cut diamond, for example 1,300, multiplied by the total carat weight of the rough, for example 8 carats, finally multiplied by the cut yield of the rough diamond, for example 35%. Using this method and the examples, we would take 1,300 * 8 * .35 for 3,640 total value. The problem with this is determining the cut yield. The website made the the assumption that a 5 carat rough VS1 D color, for example, will provide 50 percent yield on average. This assumption could not be further from the truth. There are many outside factors that go into determining final yield that make this method complicated.

First off, only a perfect octahedron shaped (there are always exceptions but this is a general rule of thumb that can be used) rough diamond will yield a 50% cut, rough diamonds come in many other shapes normally called flats and macles that are worth less than the octahedron shaped rough. This is because these other shapes do not yield as high a percentage for the final cut and sometimes, they can not be cut into the most popular cuts like round brilliant, princess or cushion. Some of these flats and macle are only good for the more fancy cuts or even figurine type cuts such as a heart or other special cut. The second thing to understand is that the larger a rough diamond gets, the higher your chance that it will have cracks or imperfections that will have to be avoided by the cutter thus making it impossible to cut it into one diamond. Meaning that if you buy a 25 carat perfect octahedron rough diamond, there is still a good chance that this stone will be cut into one 6 carat, and 3 two carat diamonds. Only an experienced cutter will be able to ascertain how the diamond will be cut. This is why I encourage all rough buyers or prospected rough buyers to higher a gemologist that has a cutting background over one that does not. When you take into account all of these variations, using the basic 50% cut value method without an experienced cutter on your team is business suicide and will only end up in blown margins, lost money and another buyer out of the business.

thank you