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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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Jimmy DeGroot

Be Ready for ‘What Do You Have for $100?’ and Other Holiday Questions

As Christmas approaches, the queries you’ll hear from customers are actually pretty predictable, says jewelry store training expert Jimmy DeGroot. Here's how to make sure your team is prepared for the more common ones.

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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.

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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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

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

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

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!

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Shane Decker

This Easy Sales Technique Can Create Huge Diamond Sales in Your Store

This easy sales technique can create huge diamond sales in your store.

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HERE’S A SIMPLE SALES technique that can pay big dividends with your clients. I’ve dubbed it “the dropper-offer.” Funny name, but it can result in serious sales and happy customers.

To pull off “the dropper-offer,” you need accurate store floor awareness, exceptional teamwork and perfect timing. Here’s how it works.

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When the sale or repair is over, and the client and salesperson are ready to turn to walk toward the door, another salesperson (or, ideally, an owner or manager) becomes “the dropper-offer.” That person walks by and hands the salesperson a loose diamond, which is held inside a spring-loaded, four-prong holder and wrapped inside a paper. The client shouldn’t be able to see what’s inside because the paper is folded over the diamond. The “dropper-offer” should say something like, “I know he (or she) would love to see what’s inside of this.” And then they walk away.

Clients are dying to see what’s inside the package. The salesperson unwraps the paper, which includes the cut, color, clarity and carat weight information as well as the price — everything they need to make the presentation. The diamond itself should be a diamond over a carat (make sure it’s larger than the average diamond you sell in your store). When the “dropper-offer” says, “I know they would love to see what is in this,” that is a lead-in line. It leads the salesperson and the client into the next presentation.

Clients love to see beautiful items and hold them in their hands. This technique creates sales from scratch and gives you a great opportunity for referrals and online feedback. None of your competition is doing this; they’re all worried about who’s showing what and whether one person or the other is going to get credit for this sale. But in your store, you make it all about the client (right??).

Here is why you wow clients:

1. Clients feel good when they’re trusted with a high-value, beautiful item.

2. It’s a silent compliment. They realize that you believe they can afford it.

3. It’s free advertising. It costs nothing but your time.

4. The client now knows you have large diamonds. Even if you don’t make a sale now, it will lead to future sales.

5. They might buy it. People buy on impulse all the time.

It takes a team that knows each other’s selling habits to be able to pull this off and do it well. It does involve an interruption, but never interrupt when your sales associate is in the middle of a presentation or ready to close. The secret to this is timing.

Once people on your sales team get to be a part of the “dropper-offer” technique, everyone is going to want to participate. It’s fun and clients love the attention. They end up staying longer. It shows them you care. And it creates sales from scratch. Happy selling!

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