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Shane Decker

Shane Decker: Holiday Best

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With the holidays nearly here, Shane Decker provides you with the keys to a king-sized selling season.

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During the holidays opportunities abound. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t take advantage of each and every one. How can you stay on your toes and at the top of your game? Here are a few tips:

As an owner, you should gather your team before the store opens each day and give them a target to shoot for.

1 Avoid store-floor vacancy. With so many sales coming in, salespeople sometimes get caught up in paperwork at the back of the store, leaving no one up front to greet customers. If a customer comes in and is not greeted, they feel awkward. At best, you’ve set up a road block in the sale process. At worst, they may leave.

Even if you do have salespeople on the floor, they may all be tied up with customers. You don’t want to take your attention away from one customer to greet the next. Someone should always be on the floor to greet the next one coming in.

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2 Avoid huddling. When sales are zipping along and you’re having fun, salespeople tend to huddle together on the floor. They laugh and have a good old time. Problem is, when a customer walks into this scene, they’ll feel intimidated (or worse, might even think you’re laughing at them!) Always be scattered throughout the floor. It’s great to have fun, but don’t stand together. In this way, you make yourself approachable, and the fun is infectious, rather than being a barrier.

3 Don’t ask salespeople to wrap gifts. Why would you ask your salesperson to do a minimum-wage job when another customer may be waiting out front to spend their money? Hire a support person for the Christmas season. They can take the item from the salesperson, ask the customer what size box and what wrapping they want, and take it to the back to wrap. This allows the salesperson to add on to the sale, or move on to the next customer if the store is busy.

4 Feed your employees. Your store is not a zoo, so it’s okay to feed the animals! (Just kidding, salespeople … you know I love you!) During the holidays, no one has time to leave the store. So, have lunch brought in. It’ll be fresh, it’ll taste great, and your team will love you for it. Be sure to include energy drinks and energy bars to keep everyone pumped up. This is an inexpensive yet much-appreciated way to help your staff beat the grind and stay upbeat.

5 Set daily goals. As an owner, you should gather your team before the store opens each day and give them a target to shoot for. Tell them your sales figures for that day last year, and let them know you want to beat it. Even if you’re not typically a goal-setting store, this practice motivates everyone and maintains intensity.

One excellent way to make sure these goals matter to your employees is to offer an incentive. For whatever amount your store makes over your daily goal, split 10% of that amount among the employees. So, if your goal is $50,000 for the day and they sell $55,000 as a team, you’d split $500 among the staff (or, 10% of the $5,000 that they made over and above last year’s sales).

Over the course of the season, everybody will wind up making several hundred more dollars in daily spiffs, and you’ll beat last year handily. Moreover, it’s a group goal, so they’re motivated to work as a team — a critical element to any successful final quarter.

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The holiday season should be fun and run smoothly. When you spell out expectations clearly and “have your employees’ backs” at every turn, it will be a very merry Christmas indeed — for everyone, including your customers!

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 November 2006 edition of INSTORE[.

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Shane Decker

You’re Killing Your Own 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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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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