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Shane Decker

Shane Decker: Close Naturally

Know which of the 7 types of closing lines works for you.

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I AM OFTEN ASKED, “How can I know whether my selling profile is serpentine, missile, or sneak?” While all salespeople will use more than one of the seven types of closes, the type that’s most natural will help define your selling profile.

To recap, the missile is the most direct selling profile; his presentation is just about the jewelry. He doesn’t get off track or off subject. The serpentine, on the other hand, will talk about the jewelry, then her vacation, then jewelry, then fishing, then jewelry, then shoes and shopping, and so on. The serpentine is great at building relationships. Finally, the sneak is like a chameleon. She’s very good at matching client personalities. The sneak’s clients are glad they bought but are left trying to figure out how it happened!

Serpentines make up about 70 percent of the sales force, missiles are 20 percent, and sneaks are 10 percent.

You will sell most effectively when you sell profile-correct, and much of that has to do with the closes you use. There are seven types of closes: Direct, compliment, whisper, indirect, reassurance, question, and assumption.

1) THE DIRECT CLOSE

EXAMPLES: “Just do it,” “Go for it,” “Now’s the time,” “Buy it,” “Sold,” “Give me your credit card,” “You know you want to do it.” Description: A missile can use a direct close all the way through the presentation, and it doesn’t seem pushy because it’s natural for them. Serpentines and sneaks might use this close at the end, but they need a lot of self-confidence so that it doesn’t come across as out of character. If they use it at the wrong time, it can come across as pushy.

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2) THE COMPLIMENT CLOSE

EXAMPLES: “You’re going to love wearing that,” “That’s beautiful on you,” “You’re going to get compliments on this every day.” Descripti o n : This is a serpentine-dominant close. Clients love compliments when they’re genuine. Most male missiles do not use this close, although some female missiles do. Because I am a missile, if I worked in your store and you heard me say, “The blue in the sapphires will match the blue in her eyes, and she’s going to love wearing it,” you’d think I was ill. It doesn’t match my personality. But if it works for you, the more sincere compliments you give, the more comfortable the client will be in making the purchase.

3) THE WHISPER CLOSE

EXAMPLES: “I can tell you’re ready to buy,” “How did you want to take care of this?” “We can do check, cash or card,” “How did you plan on giving this to her?” “She’s gonna love this.” Des cripti o n : Sneaks use the whisper close to make it more private. Their style is to draw the client in. Some missiles use it too, and I personally love it. Most serpentines don’t whisper because they’re so conversational. When you whisper, the client leans in.

4) THE INDIRECT CLOSE

EXAMPLES: “You know, it’s time to do what your heart’s telling you,” “Trust your instincts,” “Is this what you had in mind?” “By what you are telling me, I believe this is the one. What do you think?”

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DESCRIPTION: This is serpentine or sneak dominant. These used to be called “trial closes.” You use the indirect close to see where your client is and if she’s ready for the close at the end of the sale.

5) THE REASSURANCE CLOSE

EXAMPLES: “She’s gonna love wearing this,” “She’s not gonna believe you did it,” “She’ll never take this off,” “This will tell her you’d marry her all over again,” “Your only regret will be you didn’t do it sooner,” “Every woman dreams of wearing one of these,” “Every time she looks at this, she’ll think of you.”

DESCRIPTION: This is a close every profile and both genders can and should use for all clients. This should be used all the way through your presentation (except at the end) and is probably the most important close of all. There is no push or threat. Clients get their self-confidence from your ability to give them reassurance that it’s OK to spend the money. The ask-listen-paraphrase close is also a type of reassurance close. Everyone needs to become natural at using this close.

6) THE QUESTION CLOSE

EXAMPLES: “While we’re wrapping this up, how did you want to take care of this?” “Do you want a four or six-prong head?” “When are you giving this to her?” “What size does she wear? I’ll have it for you today,” “Are you surprising her with this as soon as you leave?”

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DESCRIPTION: The question close can be used by all profiles but is missile-dominant. This close is often used incorrectly and can become a sale killer if asked in “yes or no” fashion. Never say, “Can I wrap this up for you?” The client can say no. The words “can I, may I, would you, let me” should all be stricken from your vocabulary. Salesmanship is not about asking permission; it’s about telling and timing. If you ask and your timing is off, the client will not only think you’re pushy, they’ll think you’re not listening to them.

7) THE ASSUMPTION CLOSE

EXAMPLES:“She’s gonna love wearing that beautiful diamond,” “You are going to be very happy wearing that ring every day.”

DESCRIPTION: This close is sneak-dominant. This close assumes that the client is buying. You do this through the use of pronouns that show ownership, such as “you” or “yours” and “his” or “hers” — or you can just use the client’s name. Because sneaks are very good at designing the presentation to fit the client’s personality, they make the customer feel they can afford the piece and buy it. Work out your profile and memorize some of the corresponding closes. The more you know, the higher your closing ratio will be, and the more your associates will turn to you to help them close sales.

Because I’m a missile, if you heard me say, “The blue in the sapphire will match her eyes,” you’d think I was ill.

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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Shane Decker

The Difference Between Closes and Statements, 7 Lead-In Lines and More Sales Advice

Here’s how to make closing sales easier, says Shane Decker.

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HAVE YOU EVER made something that should have been easy difficult? Maybe you overthought it, or you were afraid to try. Or you were worried what someone else would think.

Salespeople tell me all the time, “I tried that and it didn’t work.” But my observation is that people often try something once, fail at it, and then give up. They’ve proven to themselves that something new does not work.

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You have to want to make the effort and put in the time and practice to build new habits, especially when it comes to what I call “needle movers.”

Needle movers are actions that put money in the cash register immediately. The three big needle movers are closing, adding on and wowing clients. These should be easy, but we make them hard because of fear, lack of experience, or lack of selling skills.

It’s time to get over that fear of change. Have your team write 10 new closes, and make sure they’re not statements. For example:

Statement: “That is a beautiful diamond.”

Close: “She’s going to love wearing that beautiful diamond, and you’re gonna be glad you gave it to her.”

Then have them write 10 lead-in lines for add-on sales. Do not say, “Can I,” “May I” or “Would you like?” Clients can say no to all of these. Examples of lead-in lines to create add-on sales are:

“We have what matches.”

“This is part of a set.”

“She won’t wear this without the matching.”

“Tell me something else she’s always wanted but you haven’t purchased yet.”

Then, have your sales team write 10 lead-in lines to create a sale from scratch. This is what you say to a client when they’re waiting for a battery or repair. Examples include:

“Guess what’s in the vault?”

“Gotta show you my favorite.”

“Guess what just came in.”

These must be said with passion and enthusiasm. They allow you to wow the client and change their experience while they wait. Remember: You have to do something to make something happen. Clients buy on impulse all the time.

Practice with your team and make these phrases come naturally. Start all of these presentations with a lead-in line, and the rest will happen by itself. Clients do not get mad when you show them something gorgeous.

But you have to hold yourself accountable, and there has to be consistency. For some reason, it’s easier to fall back on old bad habits than keep good ones. Winging it doesn’t work. Practice with each other over and over until the simple truly is simple.

Creating is better than waiting. Get comfortable with your sales skills. Be the sales associate your client wants you to be.

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Shane Decker

You’re Killing Your Own Jewelry Sales By Talking About the Price

Romance the item and the reason they came in, and you’ll close more sales.

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DURING THE HOLIDAYS, we get into bad sales habits because the sales are so easy and customers are buying price-point items. We sell faster, we sell price and sometimes we don’t even really sell the item. Now that we’re into the new year, it’s time to get back into good selling habits.

The diamond season is about to start. Typically, it runs from April 16 through the end of September (although we sell diamonds all year, which we should). What can keep you from selling as many diamonds as you could? The price.

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Too many salespeople are afraid of the price, no matter which item they’re selling, which causes problems with closing the sale, among other things. When you try to justify the price or the client feels you are apologizing for the price, they start to believe that you think they can’t afford the item. They will feel pre-judged and leave.

Clients are coming in for you to spend their money for them; they’re paying you as a professional to do this. You do not need to decide how much they can spend. Let the client decide that (unless you’re wowing them with a $10,000 diamond while they’re waiting for a battery).

Instead of price, concentrate on selling with romance and knowledge. These two things build confidence in your product. Quality, technical information, craftsmanship, design, difficulty, brand, rarity, size, color, clarity, cut, and other factors all contribute to the value of the product.

That said, you have to understand when technical selling is appropriate, and how much to do. Some clients are not interested in this at all, so do not volunteer technical information if it’s not needed. You don’t need to impress the client, but if they have concerns or questions about technical aspects of the product, it’s up to you to answer any and all questions with authority.

Remember: The more money the item costs, the easier it is to close because the customer can afford it. The less the item costs, usually the harder it is to close. Money is just a tool the client uses to obtain what he or she wants. Always start high and go down — you limit yourself when you start low and try to work up.

Begin the sale with questions that encourage the client to tell you their story and why they’re in your store. And make it about the importance of the item. When you make it about them and the item and you learn to romance the reason they’re here, the price will become insignificant and the client will upsell themselves.

Don’t talk about yourself, and certainly don’t make the sale about price. They’ll forget how much they spend, but they’ll always remember the event and the item.

Millennials are changing the size of the starter set diamond — diamonds from 1.5-carats to 2 carats are selling like crazy all over the country. All of you should be selling big diamonds. Make 2020 the year of big diamond sales and high closing ratios in your store.

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Shane Decker

No Time to Train Your Team? Au Contraire. Here’s How You Do It

Take full advantage of every minute to make your sales team better.

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THEY SAY THAT in all work environments, employees waste about one-third of their time each day. Any time wasted is too much, and that is the one thing you can never get back.

You’re investing in your employees’ time already; why not make the most of it?

One of the reasons so many stores are struggling is that their staffs are not properly trained. The only way your employees will be successful in your store is for you and your managers to communicate not just in sales meetings, but also through one-on-one training. This allows you to teach them in their particular areas of weaknesses.

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You say you never have time?

In the mornings when you are setting up, have a 15-30 minute meeting on salesmanship, product or gemological knowledge, or closing techniques. Most of your team is present at this time of day. And yet, in too many stores, I hear team members discussing where they had pizza or what movie they saw last night. What a wasted opportunity!

Throughout the workday, discuss sales that are made and what the sales associate did to close or add on. Talk about what they did to wow each client. And when a customer leaves without buying, talk about what you as a sales team could have done to close the sale or improve the client’s experience.

Too often, we miss awesome coaching opportunities because we wait too long to train on what happened, or we don’t address it at all.

Learning opportunities need to be discussed at the first available moment (after the client leaves, of course).

And be sure to talk about what went right, not just what went wrong. When you discuss success, it empowers your team and motivates them to do what is right again. Most people on your team are natural pleasers, and they love it when you are happy with their work performance. If they know they pleased you, they’ll try harder to please you again.

The learning curve in our industry is three years. You will only get out of your associates what you put into them. It takes time, study, dedication, determination, setting proper goals for each person, and training on each person’s level and skill set.

Jewelers tell me all the time that they need bodies. The problem with that statement is, we’re leaving client bodies all over the floor.

Start the new year with a New Year’s resolution: to train every day and every week. Use time wisely. Have a better-trained team at the end of 2020 than you started the year with.

Take advantage of every moment of success to talk about what happened. It will make your team feel more loyal to you and they’ll try harder. People are more motivated by recognition than money. Let them know how important they are to you. Empower your people, give them skills to succeed, and always let them know you couldn’t do it without them.

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