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Shane Decker: Missed Again

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The holidays mean more lost opportuties than any other season, says Shane Decker.

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Missed Again

You lose more sales during the holidays than any other time of the year. Yes, you read that correctly! Despite the undeniable truth that the Christmas selling season is responsible for a gargantuan portion of most jewelers’ annual revenues, it also costs you big-time in unearned sales. Why? Very simply, many jewelers are not prepared to provide the same level of service that they do during the other 11 months of the year. In other words, they clerk.

When a customer walks in, tells you what they want, and you immediately write it up, you have just “clerked” a sale. Because the money is so easy, we often overlook the fact that a “clerked” customer leaves your store undersold, and/or with nothing, and/or with no add-on sales. How much money does this practice cost your bottom line?

If you stay on top of your game, you can turn the multitude of holiday opportunities into a bonanza of created sales. After all, no other time of year sees men visit jewelry stores in droves. And research has shown that while women will typically average about $500 to $900 per purchase, men will average up to $2,500! Furthermore, men are a far easier sell: you suggest, and they buy.

When selling jewelry to a male customer, never fail to find out the “Who-What-When-Where” of their particular situation. Their answers to these questions will give you all the tools you need to close a spectacular sale. Take the following example:

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Salesperson: Is the gift for someone in particular?

Man: Yes, my wife.

Salesperson: Great move; women love jewelry! Does she know?

Man: No, I haven’t told her.

Salesperson: Well, women also love surprises, so that’s perfect! Did she drop any hints about what she wanted?

Man: I think she said she wanted a pair of diamond earrings.

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Salesperson: Diamond earrings will make the perfect holiday gift. Have you thought about how to give them to her?

Man: Well, no, I haven’t.

Salesperson: Oh, I have a great idea for you! I’ll tell you what it is when we’re done.

With this conversation, you’ve not only built a relationship with your customer and reassured him that he’s doing the right thing, but he now has to buy your product to get the great idea you’ve promised. This customer will regard you as an ally, and make it that much easier to include an add-on sale as well.

Yes, the holidays are a big part of your store’s annual sales… but they could be even bigger. After all, customers are ready to spend money during Christmas-time, yet we only write up one item! Why not add on a sale or two… or ten? The lead-in line you should use with every customer is this: “How many other people are on your list?” Because without a doubt, his daughter needs a bracelet, and his son needs a watch, and his wife needs a necklace to match the earrings he just bought! Customers quit buying when you quit selling, and you should never quit during the holidays.

But don’t rush: closing the deal depends upon a proper presentation. Other customers will wait because they’ll see the awesome service you’re providing, and because they know that people just have to wait during the holidays. Let them know that someone will be with them shortly, and that the wait will be well worth it! Make sure your store has apple cider, coffee, and cookies available, as well as a warm, festive atmosphere that reminds them of home. This makes it far more likely that customers will stop for a while and linger to spend money with you.

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Yes, the holidays are a big part of your store’s annual sales… but they could be even bigger. Why waste the most lucrative opportunity of the year? Kick your salesmanship into high gear, and listen to the cash registers ring like those famous sleigh bells!

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 October 2004 edition of INSTORE.

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