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Shane Decker

24 Sales Meeting Topics for the New Year

Perfect practice every other week with your sales team can lead to new heights for your business.

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This article originally appeared in the January 2017 edition of INSTORE.

WHEN IT COMES to success as a retail jeweler, it all starts in the front. Your salespeople are your ambassadors to the world. And yet, many store owners still neglect to train their employees.

In 2017, commit to holding at least one sales meeting every other week, allowing enough time for learning and role-playing. Here is a list of 24 sales meeting topics for the new year.

1. The greeting — every client should be smiled at, greeted and spoken to within five seconds

2. Product knowledge — the knowledge of all products you carry, including branded jewelry and timepieces

3. GIA knowledge — the knowledge of diamonds, colored gemstones and precious metals

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4. Romancing the sale — using value-added statements and romancing the beauty of the item and the reason the client came in

5. Asking relationship- and selling-specific questions — the more you get the client to talk and the more you listen, the higher the closing ratio

6. Handling objections — maintaining price integrity and being decisive; objections must be handled with speed and accuracy

7. Team selling and T.O.’s — having the right salesperson in front of the client

8. Selling company benefits — the reasons to buy from your company, like service and quality

9. Using the 8 types of closes and closing all the way through the presentation

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10. How to sell with technical information when needed — make sure that the client doesn’t know more about the product than the salesperson

11. Store floor awareness — who’s waiting on whom, is the sweet spot covered, is anyone stranded?

12. Flawless execution of the basics — security rules, filling out job envelopes, and so on.

13. Proper follow-up in clienteling (An essential skill for any salesperson.)

14. Being organized during a presentation — don’t walk away and leave the client unattended

15. Add-ons — step-up, matching, and service counter additions

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16. The 30-second window – how to time your close

17. Sales profiles — knowing each salesperson’s profile and understanding how to get the right person in front of a client

18. Understanding how to sell to millennials — young men buy peace of mind and freedom from risk (lab reports, guarantees, trade-in policies); young ladies buy style, fashion and sentiment

19. Knowing how to wow clients and the five reasons to do so

20. The three types of sales presentations — the coconut, the clerk and the created sale

21. The difference between a technical and a mechanical presentation

22. When and how to discuss price and knowing the price rules of your store

23. Price negotiation – the correct way to do so while maintaining profitability

24. How to follow up on all repairs (Big service opportunities here.)

If you’re a salesperson and you don’t get something on the first try, don’t give up: Continue to work on self-improvement. Many times, we give up too early and fall back on old bad habits. If you’re going to perfect your skill, it takes practice. So I don’t want you to just try it — I want you to do it over and over until you get it.

Sometimes, people try to fail because they do not want to change. But if you don’t like change, you’re going to hate extinction!

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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