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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 sdecker@ex-sell-ence.com.

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Shane Decker

No Time to Train Your Team? Au Contraire. Here’s How You Do It

Take full advantage of every minute to make your sales team better.

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THEY SAY THAT in all work environments, employees waste about one-third of their time each day. Any time wasted is too much, and that is the one thing you can never get back.

You’re investing in your employees’ time already; why not make the most of it?

One of the reasons so many stores are struggling is that their staffs are not properly trained. The only way your employees will be successful in your store is for you and your managers to communicate not just in sales meetings, but also through one-on-one training. This allows you to teach them in their particular areas of weaknesses.

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You say you never have time?

In the mornings when you are setting up, have a 15-30 minute meeting on salesmanship, product or gemological knowledge, or closing techniques. Most of your team is present at this time of day. And yet, in too many stores, I hear team members discussing where they had pizza or what movie they saw last night. What a wasted opportunity!

Throughout the workday, discuss sales that are made and what the sales associate did to close or add on. Talk about what they did to wow each client. And when a customer leaves without buying, talk about what you as a sales team could have done to close the sale or improve the client’s experience.

Too often, we miss awesome coaching opportunities because we wait too long to train on what happened, or we don’t address it at all.

Learning opportunities need to be discussed at the first available moment (after the client leaves, of course).

And be sure to talk about what went right, not just what went wrong. When you discuss success, it empowers your team and motivates them to do what is right again. Most people on your team are natural pleasers, and they love it when you are happy with their work performance. If they know they pleased you, they’ll try harder to please you again.

The learning curve in our industry is three years. You will only get out of your associates what you put into them. It takes time, study, dedication, determination, setting proper goals for each person, and training on each person’s level and skill set.

Jewelers tell me all the time that they need bodies. The problem with that statement is, we’re leaving client bodies all over the floor.

Start the new year with a New Year’s resolution: to train every day and every week. Use time wisely. Have a better-trained team at the end of 2020 than you started the year with.

Take advantage of every moment of success to talk about what happened. It will make your team feel more loyal to you and they’ll try harder. People are more motivated by recognition than money. Let them know how important they are to you. Empower your people, give them skills to succeed, and always let them know you couldn’t do it without them.

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Shane Decker

The Most Important Part of Your Sales Presentation Happens After the Sale

Go the extra mile for your client if you want to see them again.

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HOW DO YOU FEEL about a movie that ends poorly? No matter how good it was before then, a weak finish leaves you feeling dissatisfied.

Jewelry presentations are the same way. Clients tend to remember the first 30 seconds and the last 30 seconds more than the middle of your presentation. And yet, all too often after the purchase is made (or repair taken in), the salesperson turns and walks to the back, allowing the client to leave the store on their own.

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The way out is as important as the way in. We have to treat the client as a guest who is coming into our home for one of the most important events of their lives. Not only that, but the client should feel even more important walking out than they did when they came into the store.

When everything is done, always walk the client to the door. Open the door for them, give them two of your business cards, and ask them to give one to a friend.

Even when you have other clients waiting for you, always walk each one out. Others will see this service and expect the same. Many times as you’re walking the client out, they will stop and look into a case they didn’t look into on the way in. This allows you to start another presentation, put something on a wish list, plant a seed for a later purchase or even put something on layaway.

Selling on the way out is easy. The client is now in a spending mood, and obviously they love you or they wouldn’t have given you their money already. It also allows you to give suggestions about service and other events you have coming up.

Sometimes, the client may have other important things they want to talk about on the way to the door. They’ll start by saying, “By the way…” This allows you to build rapport, get information that allows you to do more effective clienteling, and become even more of a friend.

So make the client feel that your store is the most awesome place to shop. Not just because of the merchandise, but because there is not any other place to shop in their area that compares to the professionalism, politeness and experience that your team delivers.

People get ho-hum service everywhere — but don’t let it happen in your store. It’s up to us to break the cycle. Make the exit even more awesome than the entrance. And remember: Always thank them for coming in!

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Shane Decker

4 Sales Meetings You Must Hold Before the Holidays

Cover these topics to maximize your selling opportunities this season.

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FROM DEC. 1 TO the 24th, closing ratios double and impulse sales skyrocket. The problem? It’s too easy. Salespeople tend to slip into lackadaisical sales practices because the sales happen either way.

Unfortunately, this endangers repeat business and could even cost you holiday sales.

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To prevent this from occurring, hold sales meetings over the next four weeks and address each of these topics in turn.

1. Store Floor Awareness: Emphasize that your team must know what’s happening at all times with all clients. There’s an old wives’ tale that whoever is closest to the door is the greeter; not true. If you’re near the close, you’re not going to turn away to greet a new customer. That means someone else needs to be ready. Has the client been greeted? Does a salesperson need an assist? Is the client about to walk away? Teach your team how to recognize and react to these situations.

2. Wowing All Customers: Salespeople say they are too busy to do this, and that everyone has what they want already. Wrong. This is the time of year that impulse buys greatly increase. All you have to say is, “Guess what’s in the vault?” or “Guess what just came in?” Let the rest take care of itself. Show your team how to “wow” every customer and emphasize just how critical it is.

3. Closing: Clients want you to close. At Christmas time, no one is just looking; everyone is just buying. Learn to professionally create a sense of urgency, but always be honest. You can say:

  • “We only have one of these left.”
  • “These have been really popular this year.”
  • “We can’t get any more of these until after Christmas”
  • “She’s going to love it; you should do this.”
  • “We sell this item faster than we can get it in.”
  • “You’re going to be a hero; she won’t believe you did this.”

If it’s on Dec. 24, you can even say, “We close in 10 minutes. There’s not another place you can go and just look; this is it!”

4. Add-ons: Too many salespeople spin and walk to the point-of-sale after the first item is sold. When you do this, you tell the client they’re done. Instead, purchase some beautiful, small sharp scissors. From now on, once you’ve sold an item, take out your scissors, cut the tag off and lay it on the counter pad. That says you’ve sold the item, but you can continue selling.
The average Christmas buyer buys 15-20 gifts, and the average salesperson sells just one. Instead, after the first item is sold, say one of these add-on lines:

  • “This is part of a set.”
  • “We have what matches.”
  • “I gotta show you what goes with this because she’s gonna love it.”
  • “How many others are on your list?”

These are called lead-in lines because they lead into the next presentation. The average add-on takes 30 seconds because you don’t have to sell; they’re already sold.

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