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Shane Decker

Shane Decker: Better Deal

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Shane Decker helps you fight the discounter down the street with reasoning about prices your customers are sure to understand.

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Better Deal

“I can get it for 40 percent off down the street.” Next time you hear this, I want you to do something for me — instead of being defensive, remember that you’re an independent jeweler.

Why do people shop at independent jewelry stores? Because you make personal connections, you’re real with your customers, and you and your customers place a premium on quality and integrity.

Discounters, on the other hand, are in the business of building illusions. They do price presentations only — no romance. It’s all about how much off the item is and what a great deal the customer will get. Problem is, other jewelers may have the same item at regular price and still be selling it for less than the so-called discounted rate. After all, how long would you stay in business if you sold your merchandise at cost?

You know that and I know that — but your customers often do not. If you told them how low diamond margins are, they wouldn’t believe you. So what is the answer to beating discounters? Several things:

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CREATE PROFESSIONAL DOUBT

I’m not talking about slamming the competition — never a good idea — but you can create doubt that the “great deal” down the street is not really everything they’re making it out to be. You do this by asking about aspects of the purchase that the discounter probably didn’t talk about, like the lab report. Was it GIA or AGS? If not, is that really the color and clarity they say it is? Some labs are very liberal in their grading. You can also ask about the cut if yours is triple-zero, ideal or very well made. Many people selling diamonds don’t understand cut, and so they don’t discuss it.

Tell your customer that independent jewelers personally select their diamonds, which have to meet strict tolerances — and when you buy diamonds, the rejection factor is very high. For the chain discounters, they don’t have a voice in buying diamonds — they just get what is sent to them. And while some discounters may say “we go direct to the source and buy cheaper,” you can remind customers that the price that De Beers offers to the sightholders is non-negotiable.

SELL QUALITY

Quality means the quality of the diamond itself, or the workmanship of the jewelry. The discounter’s price presentations don’t cover quality — because their case would crumble. (At 50 percent off, what is being sacrificed? Cut, color, clarity and carat weight!) So this is where you build your presentation, discussing your product details openly and honestly. Tell the customer, “Our company made the decision to price our jewelry fairly, according to its quality, right out of the gate. There are no bargains in diamonds — quality has its price.” When you hold your price in the face of a discount down the street, the customer will begin to doubt the quality of the other jeweler’s product — and rightly so.

SELL VALUE

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Value means the worth of your product. You build value by romancing the occasion (the reason the customer came in), romancing your product, and talking about store benefits (trade-in guarantees, ring sizing while you wait, graduate gemologists on staff, etc.). And discounters and chains can never make this statement — “owners on premises.” Then, make sure the diamond is in their hand when you tell them the price. Look them in the eye and believe that it’s worth it. You may be surprised how often you’ll close the sale through this technique alone.

The bottom line is this: Being an independent jeweler is about having integrity, and your integrity is in your price. Customers are smarter now. They’ve been on the Internet, and they’ve seen information and pricing on diamonds. They want to believe your price hasn’t been marked way up. Not only that, when you negotiate price, customers will expect you to go down a little more every time they come in — all because you didn’t believe you could close the sale at the price marked.

The success of your store depends upon your ability (and that of your staff) to eradicate the “poverty-level mentality” and believe that your diamonds are worth every penny. And guess what? That belief is something no discounter can ever match.

Person be you?

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 February 2007 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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