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Shane Decker

Shane Decker: Men’s Way

It’s easy to find out what your male customers want, as long as you ask the right questions, says Shane Decker.

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YOUR AVERAGE MALE customer wants to be in your store for 20 minutes. Or less. Most men don’t like to shop, and it’s even more true when it comes to jewelry. And yet, salespeople often show male customers too much merchandise, too quickly, and men become confused. Indecision and discomfort in any customer can be your worst enemies, so why invite these reactions?

When you gather information before ever showing a piece of jewelry, you can make the sale far more specific. This will increase customer confidence — you know what they want. After the initial “meet and greet” period is over, follow the Who-What-When-Where Rule to uncover your client’s desire:

  • “Nice to meet you, Robert. Are you looking for somebody special?”
  • “Yes, it’s for my wife.”
  • “What’s her name?”
  • “Emily.”
  • “And does Emily know you’re doing this?”
  • “No.”
  • “Ah, women love surprises!”

This is your first close. Now, you know your customer is married and you know her name — you’ve got the “who” answered — and you’ve made a close, reinforcing his decision to buy.

  • “Is this for a special occasion, Robert?”
  • “Yes, it’s for Christmas.”
  • “The perfect Christmas gift is jewelry under the tree.”

Now you know the “when” and the “where,” and you’ve made another close. You could reaffirm the appropriateness of jewelry as a gift for any occasion he names — anniversary, birthday, whatever.

  • “When do you need it?”
  • “Today.”

At this point, don’t exclaim “Yee-haw!” or he’ll think you’ve never sold any-At this point, don’t exclaim “Yee-haw!” or he’ll think you’ve never sold anything. If he’s in for an anniversary or birthday gift, you should note the date in your client book for next year (don’t forget to include his and his wife’s names as well).

  • “Has Emily told you what she wants?”
  • “Well, her sister has a princess-shape diamond, and she really likes it.”
  • “Oh, the princess is women’s favorite among fancies. She’ll love it! Do you know what size?”
  • “At least one carat.”
  • “I have the exact diamond she wants.”

Risky as this statement sounds, you’re actually decreasing the risk by showing confidence. Men buy when they have peace of mind and freedom from risk (as opposed to women, who buy because of fashion, style, and sentiment). Show him one diamond, no more. If it’s not quite right, put it aside and show him another. Whether he picks the original diamond or not, he’s subconsciously taken another step toward the purchase by identifying with a single diamond, and thinking of it as “hers.”

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You now have the essential information to make a more specific sale. But your information gathering is not over yet … now you have a chance to deepen your knowledge of what he wants, and in so doing, his confidence. Other questions will include:

  • “What quality of diamond are you looking for?”
  • “How hard is she on her jewelry?”
  • “Will she wear it every day or only on special occasions?”
  • “Does she want it in yellow or white gold? Or platinum?”
  • “Is it for her left or her right hand?”
  • And so on. For every question you ask, the answer can be turned into a close. For example:
  • “What’s her favorite color?”
  • “Red.”
  • “Women love rubies; it’s a great color on the skin.”
  • “What size ring does she wear?”
  • “Six.”
  • “That’s one of our most popular sizes, so we have lots to choose from here in the store.”

You can also paraphrase his answer when you’re in agreement with him, and give it back to him as a close — just like you did with his request for a princess-shaped diamond.

During the holiday rush, most salespeople assume too much and sell too fast. Total sales may be strong, but you’re often losing a greater percentage of sales during December than any other month of the year. Taking the time to ask questions shows you are interested, that you’re in agreement, and allows you multiple opportunities to close the sale. Gathering the proper information ensures that you are showing the customer exactly what he wants. When you do that consistently, your closing ratio goes up, especially during the busy holiday selling season.

This story is from the September 2005 edition of INSTORE.

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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