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Shane Decker: Push Time

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Shane Decker tells you how to close without being pushy, and answers other burning questions from Instore readers.

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Push Time

(This column is the last in a three-part series in which Mr. Decker received questions from questions from Instore readers.)

How can I get my sales associates to go for the close sooner without being pushy?

Answering this question is a column in itself, but let me give you the short version. Many salespeople make closing difficult. If they struggle, the customer will struggle. You must teach your salespeople how to close, and work on it each week during your sales meetings. In previous articles, I’ve written about the seven types of closes, and every salesperson has their favorites. No matter what type of salesperson you are, there are three crucial points to closing without being pushy. 1.) You must understand timing. 2.) Don’t close like someone else … use your own style. 3.) If you close throughout the sale, the final close should be easy. So be appropriate in your timing, be comfortable in your own skin, and be consistent in your closes along the way.

I’m curious what you think about selling diamonds to the under-35 crowd who tend to reject any type of sales pitch. How do you adjust your sales techniques to appeal to this group?

You’re talking about the “Information Generation.” These folks research your product on the Internet, and may know almost as much about it as you do by the time they come into your store. So, be more technical-minded in your approach, and ask questions (the younger they are, the more technical-minded they will be). They didn’t buy the product on the Internet, so what is most important to them? What websites have they pulled up in their research? What are they looking for in a diamond? Now you are speaking their language, and they will be far more likely to buy.

I’d like to hear your thoughts and opinions on selling “designer” goods.We all know that sterling silver and 18K gold designer jewelry is greatly overpriced if you simply look at the materials and labor involved. How do you present this item to a client in such a way as to create the “value” in their mind?

[inset side=right]If a customer wants it, then it’s worth it.[/inset]If a customer wants it, then it’s worth it. You can pick any branded name you like — Yurman, Rolex, Hearts on Fire —the true “value” to the customer is usually in the brand itself, not the materials involved. In selling such pieces, don’t romance the price, romance the brand. Old-money customers will tend to like the simple, elegant, high-quality styles with a timeless look. New-money customers tend to buy high-fashion jewelry, like J.B. Star or Nova. But no matter what, you have to go in with the right mindset. People buy designer jeans, designer furniture … a $21,000 Harley-Davidson motorcycle is nothing more than a collection of chrome, tires, and leather with an engine! Your jewelry is worth whatever someone is willing to spend, so don’t sell your designer pieces short.

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Large stores can afford to bring in a Shane Decker to train their staff. What’s the best way for a limited budget mom and pop operation to do so?

Unfortunately, it’s usually the small stores that need sales training the most. Large operations already have some momentum to sustain their business. You have to look at sales training like college: it’s an investment that will pay off far beyond its cost, and help your operation to graduate to the next level. Jewelers often put too much value on the wrong things (how much money do you spend every year on advertising that doesn’t work?). Education is priceless. Think about it another way: a single triple-zero VS1-clarity, F-color, one-carat diamond sale would pay for my visit to your store. However, if the price tag is still too much, the Shane Decker Sales Academy will be releasing a tape series in the very near.

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New Ideas for Your Store

Video conferencing over the web is increasing in quality, and decreasing in price, all the time (for example, Apple’s iSight and iChatAV will cost you less than $150). Finally, it’s realistic for you to offer the following service:

Online video style advice!

Think of it: Your customer’s getting ready for her big night out and simply can’t decide whether to wear the choker or the opera-length pearls with her low-cut black dress. She pops in front of her computer, you sit down in front of yours, and show her exactly the right combination to wow the crowd.

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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 2004 edition of INSTORE.

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Shane Decker

Did You Know that When You Close a Sale, You’re Helping Your Customer?

They want to leave with their chosen product in a bag.

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TODAY’S CLIENTS DON’T have time to shop tomorrow. They buy the day they shop; you do the same thing. Millennials shop online before they decide to come to your store. Older generations might go from store to store to find what they want, but they too buy the day they shop. Most of us start with the store where we want to leave our money.

Clients want you to close the sale. In part, they are paying you to make a professional decision for them and trusting you to do it. Sixty to 70 percent of your clients cannot make up their own minds. That’s why you should never say, “Can I wrap it up for you?” They will walk because you’re asking them to make a decision.

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Moreover, approximately 90 percent of all clients who say I’ll be back never come back; 7 percent do. And, around 80 percent of all clients who say “I’ll be back” buy elsewhere within the first one to two hours after leaving your location.

The No. 1 reason clients leave empty-handed is not inventory or price. It’s that they were not closed. Too many salespeople do show-and-tell presentations rather than show-and-sell presentations. Independently owned stores’ closing ratios are between 27-33 percent, yet 80 percent of shoppers buy the day they shop. If you shop today, do you have time to shop tomorrow? Didn’t think so.

Never believe the client is coming back. This is the time for a team-sell or a T.O. When they say “I’ll be back,” that means they are leaving to shop somewhere else.

When you let the client leave empty-handed, you’re giving money to one of your competitors.

The best way to preserve client loyalty is to close the sale. A client is successful when they leave with a bag, give you money and they’re glad they came in — not when they have to leave and start the process somewhere else.

One of your most successful opportunities should be your referral clients, but remember, they have high expectations. Someone bragged about how awesome you or your team was. If the expectations are met, closing ratio with referrals are usually over 80 percent. Interestingly, this is a higher percentage than even clients who come in two-three times per year. Another type of presentation that should have a high closing ratio (80 percent) is the appointment.

The more money the item costs, the easier it is to close it. A $500 item is harder to close than a $5,000 item and so on. Why? Because the client can. Never decide for the client how much they can spend. Let them decide that. Do not do price presentations.

Owners, track clients coming in with a door counter and see how many sales slips are written up. This will tell you your closing ratio, which is the most important number in your entire company. You’ll also learn what your team is doing. Ultimately, your store’s closing ratio should be 50 percent or more.

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Shane Decker

What Not To Do During the First 30 Seconds of Any Sale

Huddling at the back is a big no-no.

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HAVE YOU EVER walked into what appeared to be a nice store, only to spin and leave faster than you came in? Or, have you ever walked into a nice place of business and watched two salespeople look at each other, then you, then each other again, like they’re seeing which one of them is going to wait on you?

You’re not alone — we’ve all had this experience, and jewelry stores are no exception. At too many stores, you’re not greeted at all, and sometimes, you can’t even find anyone to take care of your needs. This is one reason the Internet is doing so well.

People today are time-starved, and they will decide within the first 30 seconds of entering your store whether or not they’re going to give you their money.

Let’s begin with the first five seconds: every customer must be greeted — ideally, from the “sweet spot” in your store (15 feet inside your door to the customer’s right as they walk in). When you’re a client and you’re acknowledged, you feel important. It’s a relief subconsciously to realize that the sales associates know you’re there.

Never allow your sales floor to be vacant when clients come in. Many say they are just looking, but that’s an opportunity for you to use your first close by saying, “I always do that before I buy; let’s get started!” or “I’m glad you came in to take care of that today.”

“I’m just looking” means “I’m just spending.” It means “I’m on a mission, and when I find what I’m looking for, I’m gonna buy it.” It does not mean, “Leave me alone.” Like I said before, we are a time-starved nation, and nobody is just looking.

Do not come from the back of the store to the front; you should be there already. When you come from the back, your mind is focused on the busy work you were doing or the donut you were eating.

Never greet a customer from a group huddle. It’s good to laugh in your store, but if you’re all laughing about something when the client walks in, they may think you’re laughing at them.

Do not use canned openings like “Hi, how are you?” or “What can I help you with?” Clients don’t need “help”; they want professional assistance to make a purchase or information about a service needed. Likewise, don’t say, “Good morning, welcome to Smith Jewelers.” That gets old, fast. What if they come in three or four times a year and hear you say the same thing? Keep your greetings creative and make sure they’re welcoming. Your greeting should be professional and make your client feel glad they came into your place of business.

Be present for the start of the sale, and keep it professional. Starting strong allows you to make it to the end (and hopefully close the sale). By doing so, you’ll keep your client from wanting to go to the Internet — after all, we do want to talk to real people, especially when it comes to jewelry.

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Shane Decker

How to Close a Male Buyer When You Know the Female Wants the Product

He needs to hear her say “yes.”

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HOW DO YOU CLOSE a bridal or anniversary ring sale when you know that the woman is making the decision on the product, but the man is the one making the purchase? You have to make two presentations at the same time — one that delivers peace of mind and freedom from risk (for him), and one that delivers on style and sentiment (for her).

Let’s say you’ve gone through your presentation and sold cut, clarity, color and carat weight, and explained the lab report, and the man is satisfied with the diamond. The presentation is just getting started. The woman wants to look at different shapes, try it on, take pictures with it and wear it.

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After you’ve built the relationship, ask selling-specific questions to both the man and the woman to find out exactly what they want. Eventually, you’ll know from conversation that the price is right, the diamond is correct and she loves the mounting. Now you’re in the 30-second window when it’s time to close the sale and the woman’s made up her mind. Sometimes you have to ask the wearer of the ring the proper questions so that the purchaser of the ring can hear answers to give him self-confidence to buy. You use the woman to help close the man.

Make sure she is wearing the ring when you ask these questions, and that she‘s looking at the ring during the conversation. He is going to hear a series of questions from you to which she will answer, “Yes.”

Do you love this ring? Yes.

Would you want to wear this ring all day, every day forever? Yes.

Would you like to leave with this ring today? Yes.

Does it feel right? (If not we can size it.) Yes.

Is this the diamond of your dreams? Yes.

He has heard five yeses. Now you can look at him and say, “She’s found the ring and diamond of her dreams.” This keeps him from saying, “We need to leave and discuss this.” She’s made up her mind; this is the one she wants. Based on the answers she’s given, she wants to leave with it. My close here would be, “While we’re wrapping this up, how would you like to take care of this?” You should use a close that’s correct for your selling profile.

Quit closing the wrong person. Sometimes you have to close the wearer first to close the buyer.

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