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Shane Decker

How Role-Playing Can Help You Have Your Happiest Holidays Ever

For a successful holiday season, practice, practice, practice.

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How does a doctor become proficient in medicine, or an attorney in the law? Through practice.Why should jewelry sales be any different?

With the expectations that clients have these days walking into your store, you simply can’t afford for your salespeople to stumble through their presentations or misspeak when handling objections. You’re only as good as you train, and that training should be weekly, not yearly or monthly.

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It’s been my experience that most salespeople take three years or more to become comfortable with gemology, product knowledge and the art of salesmanship (more if you sell watches as well). The quickest way to bring a new employee up to speed is to get her as much practice as possible. Likewise, employees who have been around a while can become rusty in certain situations without practice to keep them sharp.

You should be holding at least a one-hour sales training meeting every week (informational store meetings don’t count; this is a meeting dedicated to sales training). Your sales meeting should be broken up into three parts: 20 minutes on products or gemology, 20 minutes on how to sell the product you just learned about, and 20 minutes of role-playing. Role-playing is probably the most important part of the meeting because it keeps us from practicing on the client.

Most sales associates hate role-playing, and I can see why. In most stores, it’s done incorrectly. Don’t do it with two salespeople standing at the counter and everyone else watching and waiting for them to make a mistake. This is intimidating; people will be on their guard. Instead, break into twos with all teams working in different corners of the store so no one is listening to the others practicing. The owner or sales manager can walk around and work with each group, acting as a coach to help with any area of need. The coach should never be critical but always helpful, leading with correct execution.

What can be role-played? Everything. Closing skills, handling objections, selling company benefits, romancing the beauty of the item, value-added statements and the reason the client came in, bridal presentations for all age groups, how to sell the created or clerk ticket, closing all the way through, what to do when the client says no, add-on salesmanship, wowing, practicing absolutes, how and when to do a team-sale or T.O., etc.

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Let’s say you’re role-playing how to handle a particular type of objection. The client throws out an objection and the salesperson thinks of how many ways to answer it. Practice them all, then switch roles.

During this critical month of December, role-play adding on, creating a sense of urgency, upselling, price-point salesmanship and T.O.s. Make this the best Christmas you’ve ever had: practice!

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 [email protected].

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