Friday, January 29, 2010

Live Steam for Scissors Sharpeners

This is just a quick video that shows why I live stream from my office most days. I NEVER would have gotten this fellows order right if I couldn't have shown him the machine to figure out what was broken. English was his second language and we were having trouble getting on the same page. A video, like a picture, can sometimes be worth a 1000 words. To see the part where I show the machine to my customer, click in the progress bar between the play/pause arrow and the time clock until you get about 4 minutes into the video. The sweet spot is a little more than half way along the bar. I tried to trim the clip, but couldn't load the video into my editing program in a recognizable format.

Drop by and visit me online during my work day. The address for my live stream is:

You won't be able to talk to me through this connection, but the is a chat box you can use to say hi or ask a question. Check it out when you have a chance.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Nipper Sharpening

On Monday of this week I had the chance to spend some time with Mike and Pam Borsch from Clipper Shack. Mike came to show me the ins-and-outs of sharpening nippers on the Clipper Shack Nipper Sharpening System. Wolff has recently started carrying this unit and since we sell it now, I wanted to get a better feel for how to operate it.

I had a great time with Mike and was glad to see that they had a nice time at Wolff too. Take a look at the quick email they sent me.

It was very nice to get to meet everyone at Wolff. We enjoyed our visit at Wolff Industries, and your Spartanburg facility is very impressive. You have a training room to die for! Your work environment is professional, but also fun and delightful. Both Mike and I were impressed!

We could tell that everyone who works at Wolff really cares about the company and its products. And all your products you carry at wolff are really great. I feel all sharpeners should take the time to go to Wolff Industries and see all the Wolff products as well as get the chance to meet the caring folks who stand behind the products. (you all are a great bunch of people)

In our opinion, sharpeners who travel to Wolff Industries to see all the products and the Wolff Sharpening facility, will gain more sharpening knowledge, and will form new sharpening friendships as well.

Jim, Thank you so much for everything, we look forward to seeing you all again. When we returned home we find snow and tempatures back in the teens. So really, your weather in SC is wayyyy better than ours!

Mike and Pam Borsch

Thanks for the kind words guys! Glad you came and I learned a lot. I look forward to doing more with you in the future.

If you'd like to find out more about the nipper sharpener, give me a call at 864-909-3381. If you'd like to talk about purchasing any of the Wolff scissors sharpening units, give me a call at 864-909-3381, tell me you're calling because you're a Jim Sharp reader, and I'll see if I can do something special for you. Thanks for reading! And don't forget to subscribe by email. To find out how, click here.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New Online Shark Fin® Catalog

You need to take a look at this great new online catalog Shark Fin® just put out! It's almost like having the paper version sitting right on your desk. Here is a link:

Wolff sells the Shark Fin® line of shears, so if you're interested in this product give me a call at 864-909-3381 or email me at

If you want to see an example of how this online catalog works, watch this short video below:

If you'd like an actual hard copy of the catalog, just give Joyce a call at Wolff at 800-888-3832.

Also! Be sure to subscribe to Jim Sharp via email. To find out more, click here.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Subscribe to Jim Sharp via Email

This is just a quick post letting you know that you can now subscribe to Jim Sharp and get instant updates whenever I add new content to this blog. It's easy to sign up.

All you have to do is type your email address into the "Subscribe via Email" box in the upper right corner of the blog, hit the subscribe button, and then retype a code word that feedburner will give you to start your feed.

Once you've done that, feedburner will send you an email to the account you entered asking you to verify that you want emails from Jim Sharp. Click on the link they send you, and that's it. You should start receiving an email whenever I update Jim Sharp.

If you have any questions, please feel free to give me a ring at 864-909-3381 or email me at

PS - Just so you know, I'm trusting this will work. I've subscribed to my own feed, so I should know for sure whether I set everything up right once I post this. If you subscribe, and have any issues, please email my right away and I do my best to take care of them.

Image: jaysee_pingkian

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Stylists will pay SOMEONE to sharpen their shears. Will that someone be you?

Stylists will pay someone to sharpen their shears. Will that someone be you? I mean really, at some point every stylist you talk to (or groomer, or tailor, or upholsterer) will eventually need to have their shears sharpened. They all go dull, so you can count on this being true. The question is, will these customers think of you when the time comes?

Now, I know you can make money cold calling every day and finding the ones that need the work done right then. Sharpening is somewhat of a numbers game and to some degree your success is tied to the needs of the moment. But if you really want to grow. If you really want to make money. You have to make yourself valuable to your customers and make it easy for them to connect with you. So...what are you doing to make yourself valuable? Hopefully you're providing your customers with unforgettable, top notch service! But what are you doing to stay connected? Here are a few suggestions you may want to consider incorporating into your business if you aren't doing them already:

Have good sales/marketing materials
Now I'm not just talking about just a full color brochure, I'm talking about having a full gambit of tools. These would include:
  • A well designed business card with up-to-date contact info including cell phone, website or blog or facebook fan page.
  • A website or blog or facebook fan page. Probably saw this second bullet point coming :)
  • A well designed sales/marketing packet. The brochure mentioned above would go in this, but so would price lists, catalogs of shears you carry, fliers with information about route schedules, and extra business cards for friends.
Have a way to collect contact information
First and foremost, collect business cards! Almost all your customers will have one, and the majority of them will be happy to give you one if you ask.

Check and see if there's an email address on the card. If there is, ask if you can use the email address to contact them via email to share route schedules and/or any specials you may be running on products you sell. Make a note on the card if they give you the okay.

If there isn't an email on the card, ask if you may have one. With today's cellular technology, if they say yes, collecting contact information like this is easy. Just punch the info into your smart phone, then sync it with your computer when you get home. Don't have mobile cellular technology that allows you to do this? Why not? If you're a mobile sharpener any mobile tools that can help you be more efficient and stay in touch with your customers is a good investment. Consider upgrading.

Finally, ask your customer if they are on facebook. If they are, point out your facebook fan page on your card and ask them to become a fan. Tell them this is another way you keep customers informed of schedules and specials.

Stay in touch
Once you have contact info, be sure to contact them. Put together a simple postcard you can send to customers that don't want to be contacted by email or facebook. If you get the customers email, enter it into your database and send a quick email thanking them for their info. Then send a short email once a week with updates. Make sure the email you send has a signature line with your cell number, email address, and any links to online sites you're using. Also, be sure to pay attention to your facebook fan page if you choose to start one. When someone becomes a fan, be sure to say thank you and update this site regularly. If you do a blog or website, do the same. People only come back to sites on line if there's something to come back to.

This seems like a lot of work
It is a lot of work, but in the long run it will pay off big time. Maintaining a presence online or maintaining a database and staying on top of it to use them to effectively communicate with your customers takes a certain level of dedication, I admit that. But staying in front of your customers consistently is the only sure fire way that I know of to be the first Sharpener they think of when they need their shears sharpened, or a new set of shears to play with. Why not look into some of the tools to stay in touch with your customers in quick and easy ways like email and facebook.

If you have questions about these things, drop me an email at or call me at 864-909-3381. I'll be glad to walk you through the steps to do these things or point you toward good books or websites if you'd like to study this further.

Image: flavinsky

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Is Good Customer Service a Must?

What's the value of customer service? Can it be measured? To a point...yes. Can it make or break a sale? You bet! Will most people pay extra if they feel the service is worthwhile? Definitely! So why don't more companies and salespeople make it a practice to provide good quality, helpful customer service?

We just had the opportunity to experience the Ying and Yang of the customer service conundrum here at Wolff. It involved two cell phone companies and one fantastic young lady.

The Old
The company that was providing our cellular service was recently purchased. The salesperson we had before the buyout was excellent. If we had a question, she knew the answer or was willing to get an answer for us. If we needed help, she was always there. Unfortunately, after the merger she was assigned to a different area. Since she's taken her new position it's been nearly impossible to get any real help when we have a need. She's tried to help from afar, but could only do so much from where she sits now.

Well, it was time this week to renew our cell phone contact, so we gave this new provider a call. After multiple attempts to contact the lady that was supposed to be our new salesperson, we finally had to call a higher-up and complain. That got a call from our salesperson and a date to meet. When we did meet though it was very disorganized. She had no phones in hand to look at, no thoughts on what she felt might fit Wolff's needs, and very little experence in the realm of cellular service for a business. Needless to say, we were disappointed, so we did some shopping around.

Out With the Old and In With the New
After making some calls, visiting some providers, and asking a lot of questions, we finally came across a breath of fresh air. Her name was Corie Seay. When we walked into her store she immediately took us under her wing and showed us all the newest technology that she felt would be a help to Wolff. She then set up an appointment to come visit Wolff and bring some other phones she though we might like. When she came for the visit, she had all her ducks in a row, phones in hand, and a colleague she felt might be of help to us as well.

After reviewing all she had and asking a few more questions, we signed on with her. Well, we signed on with AT&T that is, but really we signed on with her. She went out of her way to meet every need we had. She did a bunch of legwork prior to coming over to set up our new phones. And when she couldn't get everything done on the day came, she came the next day and finished even though it was her day off. Whoever may be reading this at AT&T, you have a truly wonderful asset in Corie. She was polite, good natured, and unbelievably helpful and knowledgeable. She should be commended.

So What's My Point?
My point is, it didn't have to be this way. If the company that bought the old company we were using had just taken a little time to actually help us, we'd most likely still be with them. Because they didn't care, we moved on; and as far as I can tell, we have no plans of returning.

Customer service is important! It's what will separate us from the competition. It's what will make both existing and potential customers stand up, say wow, and sing our praises to their friends. What are you doing to provide great service to your customers? Are you wowing them? Are you giving them things to talk about? Corie inspired me talk. Make it a goal every day to inspire your customers to do the same!

For the sake of disclosure, neither AT&T or any of their employees asked me to write this post. I wrote this because these compliments were earned and were a good example for Jim Sharp readers.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Help by Video

I do my best to help people as much as I can. In years past, it's been a little hard to really be much help to fellow sharpeners overseas, but with the internet making the world a smaller place, it's not that hard to help pretty much anyone...anywhere.

A good example of this is my friend Theodoros from Cyprus. He has been sharpening for a number of months now and I've been helping him adjust to using his new Wolff equipment. This is an unedited e-mail he recently sent and asked me to share:

This Theo from Cyprus.

I want to thank you for convincing me to buy the Hira-to®. It is an amazing machine with vast capabilities. It provides a sharpening finish that can only compared with that of the manufacturers.

I am using it for few months now and I do not any unsatisfied customer. The contrary they all are extremely happy and they are telling it to there colleagues as well.

The support I am receiving from you is close to none. Thanks a lot once again.

Best regards

Theodoros maybe there was a little lost in translation at the end there. I'm hoping he meant second to none and not close to none, but you get the point. :) Theodoros is happy. So how am I able to offer helpful support to someone so far away? I do so through a very cool online site called Skype.

Skype is a free online video chat service. All a person needs to do to use it is:

1. A Skype account. This is free, but you also have a choice of paid options as well.
2. High-speed access to the internet
3. A video cam for their computer. Actually, you don't really need the cam, but if you don't have one the person you are talking to won't be able to see you. Not as much fun that way!

Through this service I've been able to show Theodoros a number of sharpening techniques I never would have been able to explain over the phone. It's been a great help to both of us.

So why am I telling you this? Well, I figured this worked so well for Theodoros, why not use it more? How 'bout it? Want to give it a try? If you'd like to connect via Skype with me and see how this service will allow me to help you, send me an email with "What's your Skype address" in the subject line or body of the email and I'll send you my Skype address. My email address is If you'd like to learn a little more about Skype frist, here is their website:

I'm using this service to talk to people in the UK, Austraila, New Zealand, South Africa, and Russia. There's no reason I shouldn't be helping you via online video as well. Let me know if you want to connect!