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Shane Decker

Shane Decker: Be Unlike Mike

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If you really want to be a superstar sales manager, stop trying to do everything. Shane Decker shows you how to share the load.

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Be Unlike Mike

Have you ever tried to be the “Michael Jordan” of your business? You probably found that, unlike basketball, no retail operation can be successful if it depends upon one person who tries to do everything. The more you try to juggle, the more balls you drop (even Jordan found this out when he tried to act as both player and President of Basketball Operations for the Washington Wizards).

A great sales manager, like a great store owner, must learn to delegate. If you are the owner of your business, your appointed role is that of entrepreneur — thinking about how to grow your company, ensuring its financial health, guiding its marketing, buying its merchandise. In short, working on your business, not in it. On the other hand, if you are the sales manager, your job involves scheduling employees, handling conflict, maintaining accountability, ensuring the sales floor looks sharp, and when necessary, stepping in to save a sale if your team member is losing it. If you do a great job of working in the business, you free up your store owner to work on big-picture goals. Either of these jobs will keep you busier than a one-eyed cat watching two mouseholes, so why should you take on more by doing someone else’s job?

A great sales manager, like a great store owner, must learn to delegate. Most sales managers are “do-ers” — they don’t like to sit back and watch someone else do a job that they could do better. Problem is, this means that what the sales manager was supposed to be doing isn’t getting done at all. Learn how to assign tasks to the proper personalities on your staff, and be patient while they grow.

To help aid team members in their development, you should be conducting four different types of sales meetings every month:

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1. How to sell. This is Sales Training 101, which teaches the anatomy of the sale, from the opening line to the close (which is a process, not an ending). So many sales managers try to teach their people how to sell the way they themselves do, which can only result in underachievement. Instead, show your team members how to sell profile-correct, using their own selling style. You’ll also need to teach your staff how to handle objections (the biggest weakness in the industry), as well as how to sell company benefits such as warranties and service.

2. GIA knowledge. No matter what product you sell, you have to know far more about it than your customer. Diamonds, gemstones, and rare metals are no exception.

3. Product knowledge. Beyond simply knowing about the materials used to make the jewelry, a strong salesperson needs to be well-versed on every vendor and every product featured in your showcases. Furthermore, they need to know what is in the catalog, and how long it will take to order.

4. Store procedure. Every month, you should go over the policies and procedures that ensure an awesome experience for your customers. I call this “flawless execution of the basics,” which includes the crucial first 30 seconds for each customer, how to ensure that no salesperson is “stranded” on the floor alone, as well as the little things such as filling out sales receipts and repair envelopes. You will also want to regularly ask your team members which high-ticket item they will show to every customer that day, and identify the “team seller” for the week to help assist with sales.

Don’t administer “sales beatings.” No one is motivated when you point out people’s mistakes, and it will cost you sales. And don’t waste time talking about what is being advertised. Your time is far better spent on role-playing (such as practicing the T.O.), and the most effective role-playing is done with paying customers.

You don’t have to be Michael Jordan — even Jordan himself could only juggle so many balls. Being a superstar sales manager means cultivating greatness in your people, properly delegating tasks, and then hanging around just close enough to step in when absolutely needed. When you let your people play the game while you coach from the sidelines, you’ll get far more accomplished, breed far more loyalty, and achieve far greater results than you ever dreamed possible!

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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 March 2005 edition of INSTORE.

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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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Shane Decker

This Is the Fastest Way to Kill a Jewelry Sale … Even If You Mean Well

It’s one of the surest ways to ruin a client’s experience.

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TRUE SALESMANSHIP MEANS bringing skills and professionalism, knowledge, truthfulness and politeness to a presentation — as well as always making the client feel like she’s the most important person to come in all day, even if she is the 101st. We also have to bring a friendly attitude and be ready to support our teammates. But doing these things in the wrong way can backfire. Occasionally, when you try to be too friendly, it’s a sales killer. Let me explain.

Sometimes when a client has just come in and someone else has greeted them and started a presentation, another sales associate sees the client. They think, “I know them,” or “I’ve waited on them before,” or they’re a friend or a neighbor. But the client didn’t ask for that sales associate when they came in. This can create a big problem.

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The salesperson who is with the client is in the middle of the presentation and the other salesperson comes up and says, “Hello!” or “How are you doing?” This totally interrupts the presentation and now they may have to start over. They may even be in the 30-second window about to close the sale. The closing opportunity may now be lost.

There is a time for small talk and being neighborly, but this is not the time. Interruptions are deadly.

If the client had asked for the other salesperson, it would have been their responsibility, but never interrupt a sales presentation. When the client is ready to walk to the door, that’s the time that it’s OK to make your approach and speak to them. No one should ever walk in on a sale besides the sales floor manager, the manager or the owner, and even then they should only do it to assist in the presentation (not “take over”; assist).

Some salespeople do this because they think they own the client and they think they deserve the sale, so they unprofessionally walk in uninvited. This is very uncomfortable for the client and it’s uncomfortable for the salesperson who is with the client because they feel pushed out.

Clients do not like pushy salespeople. The salesperson also knows they could never team-sell with someone who is so unprofessional.

Our job as a sales team is to help others be successful. When one of your teammates is giving a presentation, your job is to grab tools, get drinks and cookies, and be a servant. Be a team player and don’t worry about who is with the client; be aware if something is needed. If the client wants to talk to you, they will let someone know. I don’t care whose name is on the ticket, but I do care that there is a ticket.

Our goal is a client who leaves happy and gave us money for something beautiful. Don’t be an interrupter!

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