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Shane Decker

Four Sales Tips to Make It Your Best Christmas Yet

To deliver an unforgettable holiday experience, you have to be on top of your sales game.

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There are four areas you’ll need to focus on this holiday season to be successful: store floor awareness, add-on sales, “wowing” clients, and shopping environment.

1) Store floor awareness: Based on closing ratios I’ve tracked over the years, your team’s closing ratio can go up 70-80 percent during the holidays. No client is “just looking”; they’re looking to buy. Clerk sales and impulse buys skyrocket. If you haven’t increased your sales staff or prepared for the rush, you will lose sales.

We all know that some clients will walk out if they’re not waited on immediately. Some come in only during the holidays, and if they don’t feel we meet their expectations, they will become clients of our competitors.

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Store floor awareness deals with everything that is happening on your floor. Is the “sweet spot” covered and is everyone greeted within five seconds? If everyone is helping someone, clients need to be greeted by someone who isn’t about to close the sale.

Don’t let busy work get in the way of helping a customer — nor apathy or fear. When clients say they’re “just looking,” too many salespeople reply, “OK, look around and if you find something you want, let us know.” That’s a sale killer. If you’re not present, they’ll walk and give another salesperson in another store your money.

During the holidays, your sales teammates’ needs become very important. Don’t leave anyone stranded. They may need help closing or team-selling (an assist can raise the closing ratio by 50 percent). Never be too busy to help.

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2) Add-on sales: During this time of year, the average Christmas buyer buys 15-20 gifts. The average jewelry salesperson sells them only one. Then the client goes to several other stores and buys the remaining 14-19 gifts. When a client has chosen the item they’re looking for, instead of walking to the cash register, use a lead-in line and say, “How many others are on your list?” He may say, “I have a 12 year-old daughter.” Then you reply, “You know, her first set of diamond studs should come from her dad. We have great studs for your young lady right over here.”

“Wow” your clients: Get a high-ticket item in each client’s hand before they leave. You can change it based on the client, your inventory, “wowing” smart and visual observation. Most clients have never had the opportunity to have an awesome item in their hand before they walk out.

Sometimes they buy it. Remember: it’s Christmastime, the time for giving. Not to mention, this will separate you from your competition.

4) Shopping environment: Make sure the store looks, smells and feels like Christmas. Offer coffee, cinnamon rolls, cookies, mulled cider, whatever a client may want. The longer they stay, the higher the closing ratio. Remember that the experience is even more important than the product they will purchase.

Lastly, show every client respect, patience and a great attitude. Tell them you were so glad to see them and wish them a merry Christmas with a smile. Small and large sales are all important. Gather information so that you can follow up, and remember not to mail thank-you cards until Jan. 15; you don’t want to blow the surprise!

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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Jan Rose of Rose Jewelers, located in Long Island's famous Hamptons beach district, explains how she chose Wilkerson for her closing sale. Jan's suggestions: reach out to jewelers who have been in similar situations to find out what worked for them, and look for a company with experience in going-out-of-business sales. Once you've done that, the final step is to move ahead and trust the process.

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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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Shane Decker

When a Man Worries That His Wife Doesn’t Like Jewelry, Sell Him One of These Four Staples

When a male client worries that his wife doesn’t like jewelry, sell him one of these four products.

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THIS ARTICLE IS FOR the salesperson who has ever heard this statement: “She doesn’t like jewelry,” or “My wife doesn’t like anything I buy her.” (Do not reply, “Well, what the crap are you doing in here?” even though you’re probably thinking it!)

The truth is that this client has never had anyone wait on him who had his wife’s best interests in mind. He may have previously purchased a low quality piece of jewelry elsewhere without knowing it. In reality, she probably told him “I don’t really like jewelry” to protect him from making a mistake again.

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Your reply should be, “I’m so glad you came in and are giving jewelry another chance. Every woman likes jewelry when it’s the right jewelry.”

After the engagement ring sale, there are particular items that every woman needs and wants that I call “the staples.” Too many salespeople don’t seem to understand this, but that’s where you start with this client. (If you don’t believe me, just ask your current clients about how their jewelry collections evolved!)

These are “the staples” and here’s the order in which you should sell them:

1. Diamond studs – women do not return diamond studs. And by the way, the new standard is two carats total weight.
2. Diamond pendant
3. Diamond bracelet
4. The diamond right-hand fashion ring

When a gentleman says she doesn’t like jewelry, listen and then ask, “Have you bought her the first piece of jewelry that a woman wants after her engagement ring?” He’ll say, “What is that?” Smile and say, “All women want a pair of diamond studs.” (Don’t assume he wants a small pair, either; he may have bought her a small pair of low-quality earrings and she didn’t like them!)

It’s quite possible that he’s never had anyone educate him on jewelry before. Explain to him that most women would rather own a few high quality pieces than lots of low quality pieces. If she’s already got studs, present the diamond pendant; if she’s got a pendant, show him the bracelet, etc.

He needs reassurance that you will help him with his decision. Become his trusted professional jewelry shopper. He wants to buy jewelry, or he wouldn’t be in your store. Nothing says “I love you” like jewelry. So be proactive with this client and really listen to his needs and wants. Once she owns the entire set of diamond jewelry, he’ll be a more confident jewelry buyer, and I doubt very much that he’ll still be saying, “She doesn’t really like jewelry”!

Change this client’s experience this year. Remember, his experience is more important than the product he purchases. The more professional you are and the better your attitude, the more he will become a person who wants to shop with you every time he comes in. Always be world-class friendly; you’ll win lifelong clients and awesome online reviews.

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