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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 How to Know How Much Technical Information to Give Your Clients

Asking questions and building value should guide your decisions.

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WITH BRIDAL SEASON upon us, diamond sales are at their highest peak that they’ll be all year (mid-April through September). With that said, we need to be at our best when selling diamonds, and that means knowing when, how much and what technical information we should give each client.

Technical information can be a major sale builder or a major sale killer, and it takes an educated salesperson to discern how to use it. Millennials are the most educated, research-based shoppers ever in our industry. Some clients want to have a Ph. D in diamond knowledge when they leave the store. But others just want some information, while some don’t want any. They all want to buy a diamond, but they all want different amounts and kinds of information to make the purchase.

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So when it comes time to talk about technical information, always ask this question: “Would you like to know more about it?” Find out how much they want to know and no more. If you assume they don’t want to know about the 4 Cs but they actually did, they will think you’re stupid and leave the store. If you’re a gemologist (and that’s great that you are), don’t think that because you have all that knowledge that the client wants to know all that you know. If you get technical and the client doesn’t want this information, they glaze over and the sale is dead.

If the client does want to get technical, always present the 4 Cs in the proper order of value: cut, color, clarity and carat weight. If they want to see the lab report, always get on the same side of the showcase as the client and have a scope ready to assist you with the presentation (not a loupe).

When showing the 4 Cs chart, always use it to build value. Too many sales professionals start at the top of the chart and go down (from Flawless to SI1 or SI2). This devalues the diamond because it shows how far down the scale it falls. So always start at the bottom with an I3 and go up to an I1 and stop — then talk about how small the internal characteristics are starting to be. If it’s an SI1, stop and let them know that the internal characteristics are now invisible to the naked eye.

Do the same thing with color: start at Z and go up to F or G or whatever it may be. Talk about how the diamond becomes more colorless as you go up the chart.
Ask questions as you present and explain the technical information as you go — don’t ask questions when you’re done. Cover everything as thoroughly as needed but no more. Keep this as simple or as complicated as the client’s needs are.

When you ask questions all the way through (Ask-Listen-Paraphrase close), this gives your client self-confidence about the purchase, and with this type of presentation based on the technical aspects of the product, it gives them reasons to purchase based on quality information.

Sometimes the lab report and your ability to sell it is the closing tool you need.

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Shane Decker

20 Things That Can Cause a Jeweler to Fail

Shane Decker says too many owners give up too quickly.

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A WORD THAT IS NOT in my vocabulary and should not be in yours is “failure.” Failure can almost always be avoided and is almost always human-designed.

Failure generally happens because of lack of planning. Owners and managers say, “I’ll try it!” and they try it one time, then they say it didn’t work. That’s because most don’t want to put in the effort to truly change. They stay with their old bad habits instead of formulating new habits.

If you don’t like change, you’re going to hate extinction.

So don’t try it — do it. And keep doing it right until you get it done correctly and successfully. Here is a list of things that will set you up for failure if you don’t change your ways.

1. Not closing. Outside of bridal clients, 80 percent of people buy the day they shop. People don’t have time to shop tomorrow if they’re shopping today. 60-70 percent of shoppers who say they’ll be back buy within two hours of leaving your location.
2. Not handling objections or knowing how to team sell, add on, wow, sell company benefits or use value-added statements. Many salespeople don’t know the anatomy of a clerk sale or a created one. They also don’t understand how to convert repair clients into sales.
3. GIA is the Harvard of our industry, but most salespeople don’t take Diamonds 1 and 2. A lot of young customers know more than the salespeople do.
4. Lack of store floor awareness.
5. Negotiating to close the sale and thereby losing profits. Salespeople use negotiating price as a cop-out because they either don’t know any better or are too lazy to do better.
6. Keeping your inventory too long. After two years, it’s dead money.
7. Bad marketing.
8. Not setting sales and business goals.
9. Not marking merchandise up enough, especially diamonds.
10. Not having enough events to increase traffic.
11. Not tracking your sales closing ratio to measure how your team is doing.
12. Not having enough high-end inventory and large diamonds. More and more clients are buying higher-dollar items, but you have to have it before they can.
13. Selling from a poverty-level mentality (selling out of your own pocket).
14. Bad location.
15. Crappy websites designed by Fred Flintstone.
16. Not remodeling old stores.
17. Being closed on Mondays. It’s becoming a big shopping day again.
18. Proper signage not visible. Clients walk into stores all the time and say, “I didn’t know there was a jewelry store here!”
19. Lack of services like appraisals, repairs, CAD/CAM. Work done poorly or not on time.
20. Overpromising and underdelivering.

It’s easy to fail, but it takes dedication, time and wisdom to succeed. If you improve in these areas and work toward success, promote professionalism and have the best-trained staff front and back, you will have a long life in this industry.

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Shane Decker

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