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Shane Decker

Shane Decker: Answer Man

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This month, Shane Decker tackles questions from Instore’s retail readers. Fire away.

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Answer Man

I have an employee who’s getting her gemologist degree from GIA. She took it upon herself not only to take the course, but to pay for it as well. She has just passed the first exam in diamonds. Is there a way to show her she is doing a great job and get her to utilize her studies?

Absolutely. You always want to encourage your employees to build their professional skills. First of all, as the owner of the store, you should reimburse her for the cost of the course. Secondly, you can show your pride by making her responsible for doing an inventory count and a case count on diamonds. Ask her to make a recommendation on what you need to buy to round out your current mix. Third, you can have her work with the person responsible for appraisals. Once she has finished Diamonds II and Diamond Grading, she’ll be well-prepared to offer even more help in terms of inventory recommendations and buying.

Many of your ideas are fantastic, but I feel that you use a “one approach fits all stores” formula for selling diamonds. Don’t you feel that there needs to be a variance in your approaches?

Please don’t take this the wrong way, but you’ve obviously never had me in your store. There are three different selling styles that salespeople use: serpentine, missile, and sneak (see Instore column of March 2003). There are different diamond-selling approaches for those stores that allow discounting, and those that do not. If price negotiation is allowed, I teach salespeople how to make price presentations. If negotiation is not allowed, I teach the staff to romance the product more and downplay price. I have worked with more than 3,000 stores, and we adapt our program for each store, as no two independent jewelry stores are alike.

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Any advice for a salesperson who’s great at selling but never makes it in on time?

Fire them, if they refuse to change. No matter how good they are at selling, no salesperson should ever get special treatment.In fact, it is even more imperative that your strong sellers set a good example for other team members. The first time you have to call them out on this issue, I recommend sending them home for one day without pay. The second time gets them three days leave without pay. The third time this happens, they should be terminated. You cannot allow this type of person to drag down your entire operation.

Can you define the fine line between being an “in your face” salesperson, and being a knowledgeable, subtle, nice salesperson? It seems many trainers promote “always asking for the sale”, when I find there are other ways to make the sale.

One thing’s for certain: this is not a “missile” asking this question! When I am speaking at a convention, I make my points far differently than I do in a one-on-one situation, which is why it may seem that many speakers cater more to the “missile” profile than the “serpentine.” No matter what type of profile you are, I never like pushy … and neither do your customers. You have to use your own style. There are lots of ways to close if you understand the anatomy of the sale. One great close is the reassurance close (i.e., “She’s gonna love that!”). If you close all the way through the sale in a professionally correct manner, you will get the sale, no matter what your profile.

Shane Decker has provided sales training for more than 3,000 stores worldwide. Contact him at (317) 535-8676 or at ex-sell-ence.com.

This story is from the June 2004 edition of INSTORE.

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