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Shane Decker

22 Tips for Happy Holiday Selling

Taking care of the small things during your busy season can yield big results.

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This story was originally published in the January 2017 edition of INSTORE.

DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON when your store gets slammed with traffic, you need to stay aware of what’s happening on the showroom floor. Who’s waiting on whom? What’s happening with each client? Have they been greeted? Does a salesperson need an assist? And so on. Remember, the experience delivered is more important than the product purchased. Here’s a checklist of things to remember even during the busiest of times this month.

1. The sweet spot must be covered at all times by someone ready to greet clients. (The “sweet spot” is 15 feet inside your door to the customer’s right as they walk in.)

2. Be sure everyone is greeted, smiled at, acknowledged and spoken to within the first 5 seconds of entering your store.

3. Ask, “How many others are on your list?” after the first item is purchased. The average Christmas shopper buys 15 to 20 gifts. Why should he only buy one from you?

4. Wow everyone. Show everyone a diamond over a carat before he leaves, after everything else is done. Clients buy on impulse all the time, just as you do. They’re easy to show and easy to sell. Start at $5,995; this is an easy number to close. And you’re planting seeds. Say “Guess what’s in the vault?” or “Gotta show you my favorite.” Christmas is a great time to start wowing if you never have before.

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5. Get plenty of sleep.

6. Come in with a great attitude. If your attitude sucks, stay home.

7. Have fun. The client wants to have fun as well, so you should too.

8. Team-sell. Help others succeed when they’re with clients. Assist if needed. Help close if needed. Be supportive if needed.

9. Have water, Coke, coffee, cinnamon rolls and cookies for customers. Make it feel like home. The longer they stay, the more they spend.

10. Make sure all showcases and tools are organized every morning, and check this often every day. Nothing looks worse during a presentation than you running around like a chicken with your head cut off looking for something. If you get it out, put it back where you got it.

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11. Make sure the inside of the showcases is vacuumed and the glass inside the cases is clean.

12. Polish all jewelry before the rush starts.

13. If the price tags are old, replace them. No one wants to buy old-looking jewelry that hasn’t sold.

14. Make sure the store looks like Christmas, even if you don’t personally celebrate the season. The clients coming in do.

15. Replace burned out light bulbs, LEDs and overhead lamps. Jewelry always looks better when it is lit properly.

16. Come in and clean early every morning. Vacuum floors. Remove trash. Be sure the coffee maker is stocked and running.

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17. Don’t do busy work while clients are in the store. Stay late if necessary.

18. Don’t start putting jewelry in the vault when it’s closing time if clients are in the store. They will feel rushed.

19. If your store has a dress-down policy, dress up for the holidays. Being dressed up can help improve your closing ratio.

20. Have sales contests the last 10 days before Christmas, like “Pass the $20.” This means that whoever has the biggest sale of the day goes home with the twenty-dollar bill. Or maybe every day the owner picks a different item that must be sold, and whoever sells it gets $50. Or whoever has the most add-ons.

21. Have a 15-minute meeting every morning to talk about the success of yesterday’s sales and set goals for today.

22. Do not promise repairs or appraisals until after Christmas. Stay motivated to sell and let clients know there will be plenty of time for repairs afterwards.

Shane Decker has provided sales training to more than 3,000 jewelry stores. Shane cut his teeth in jewelry sales in Garden City, KS, and sold over 100 1-carat diamonds four years in a row. Contact him at sdecker@ex-sell-ence.com.

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Shane Decker

Here’s the Most Important Area To Invest In As a Store Owner

You’re only as good as your people.

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RETAIL STORE OWNERS ARE having a difficult time holding onto their people. Right now, about half of all sales teams change every three years, and every seven years there is a total team change (with the exception of one or two “loyalists” in each store).

What’s the solution? Training. When salespeople have more knowledge, they close more sales and make more money. And as long as they’re making money, they’re far less likely to leave you.

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Training involves several areas, but one of the most fundamental is product knowledge. Your customers are more educated than ever before — and millennials are taking this to a whole new level. They do more research and know more about the product they’re purchasing than most salespeople do.

That’s why all salespeople, especially in bridal and diamonds, should take GIA Diamonds 1 and 2 and Diamond Grading. To some of you, this seems elementary, but I see so many salespeople who haven’t done this.

Salespeople who don’t have product knowledge talk too much to make up for their lack of knowledge. When you talk too much, you can talk right past the closing opportunity. Talking too much also takes the client’s attention away from the item being sold, and it takes attention away from the reason he or she came into your store in the first place.

Product knowledge gives you self-confidence and empowers you. When you have self-confidence, the client will have confidence in you. They won’t have as many objections. Your closing ratio will go up because clients can tell that you know what you’re talking about. They will trust you to help them make a decision.

Owners and managers: hold a one-hour sales meeting each week. Spend 20 minutes on product knowledge, 20 minutes on salesmanship, and 20 minutes on role-playing. When your sales team is well-trained, you’ll have more time to work on your business and you’ll be interrupted less often to help people close sales.

You’re only as good as the people you train. Your team controls how much money you make. And it’s amazing how many salespeople in jewelry stores do not know what they’re doing.

When salespeople are empowered with knowledge, they’re happier and more successful. Teamwork is better because they trust each other’s sales skills.

If you want a higher inventory turn, a higher closing ratio, and more net profit, start training your team. The more knowledgeable they are, the more valuable they feel and the longer they will stay. You invest money in buildings and marketing — start investing in your most valuable asset: your people.

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Shane Decker

How to Avoid 3 Security and Sales Risks

Secure sales techniques not only keep your jewelry safer, they make your clients happier, writes Shane Decker.

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THROUGHOUT THE YEAR, I’m in jewelry stores all over the country, and one thing I’ve noticed is that many stores are packing up their jewelry and timepieces before they close. They start packing up at 5:30 when they close at 6. What if a client comes in at 5:50 because that’s the only time he can make it, and everything is put away? You’ve just told him you don’t want to wait on him. He’ll go somewhere else and become a client there.

I’ve heard salespeople tell such a client, “Tell us what you want and we’ll go get it out.” But by that point, it’s already too late. The client feels like he is being a bother or that your plans are more important than he is. (Not only is the practice of packing up early a sale killer, but your insurance carrier may have a problem with it as well. You’ve got your jewelry all boxed up and sitting on top of the counters for the bad guys to come in and take it out very easily.)

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Some stores try to avoid killing the sale by packing up areas where they don’t think the client is looking. But this is silently telling the client, “Hurry up and get out so that we can finish packing up the area you’re looking at.”

Clients hate feeling rushed. They chose your store to purchase jewelry. If you’re in that big of a hurry to get home every night, go get another job! Quit killing the client’s experience.

Another problem I see often is what I call “over-showing.” It’s when salespeople have too many items out on the counter pad. This only confuses the client. It also makes it easier for someone to grab your inventory and run out the door. If you ask enough selling-specific questions, you can dial in quickly on what the client wants and concentrate on one or at most two items. Never have more than three items at once on the pad. But always put the item that interests the client in their hand. It shows trust and gives them ownership.

One final security risk that I see is salespeople walking away from their clients. If you leave the merchandise out in front of them, you make them feel nervous. But if you take it with you, you’re showing them that you don’t trust them. This is a sale killer. Always have someone to assist you to avoid either of these bad options.

Be sales-minded, but also be security minded. Practice store floor awareness. Be aware of other sales associates’ needs. This will make your store more secure, and equally importantly, make your clients much happier with their experience.

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Shane Decker

The Time Shane Decker Pre-Judged a Client – and Paid the Price

Every time you approach a client, think “She’s a millionaire. I’m closing this sale.”

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Selling out of your own pocketbook means selling what you can afford. But never assume that’s all the client can afford. If you do, you’re not just doing yourself and your store a disservice — you’re doing your client a disservice.

Let me tell you a story about me. About 40 years ago when I was new in the industry, there was a lady that I thought was poor. I was new to the community and I thought people were mean to her — they all called her “The Cat Lady.” She pushed an empty cart by the store every morning, then in the evening, she would come by with a cart full of bottles, cans and anything she thought was valuable.

Right before Valentine’s Day, we had just changed our store windows to feature ruby and diamond jewelry. That evening, she stopped and looked in the window. Then she covered everything up in her cart, parked it outside and came in.

She was wearing a ratty old coat. I waited on her with a smile. She let me know she had always wanted a ruby and diamond ring, and she loved the one in our window. I got it out and handed it to her. She said again, “I’ve always wanted a ruby ring.” I should have closed the sale, but I blew it.

The ring fit perfectly, but I was worried about my integrity. I didn’t want to be known as a salesperson that sold her jewelry on a day that was very cold. Maybe she was hungry and needed a new coat. So I said one of the dumbest things I’ve ever said to a client: “Don’t you really need a coat?”

She said, “Young man, if I wanted to buy a coat, I would buy a coat! I want a ruby ring.” She smiled and left, and I felt like an idiot. If I remember right, our ring was around $695. Rather than going on her merry way, she went back the other direction to the jeweler on the next block. Later that evening as I was tearing down our windows to put our jewelry in the vault, she gave me a Princess Diana wave, showing me the ruby ring she had just purchased. I found out later she had laid down 12 $100 bills. Wow.

Later that week, I went outside and apologized. She said, “Young man, we all have lessons to learn in our life. I know you meant well. But I did want a ruby and diamond ring.” She was so nice. But if I’d been listening, she would have walked out of our store with a ruby ring. She was already closed.

When you sell out of your own pocket, you are accidentally pre-judging the client. Every time you approach someone, always go with a smile and think, “She’s a millionaire. I’m closing this sale. I’m adding on. And she’s going to be wowed before she leaves.”

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