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Shane Decker

Shane Decker: Subject: Object

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Shane Decker points out that when customers raise objections, they’re really giving you clues on how to close the sale.

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Subject: Object

Most salespeople view objections as hurdles in their path to crossing the finish line of the sale. They could not be more misguided. Objections are opportunities to demonstrate the value of the product, the quality of your store, and your own knowledge. When you know how to properly handle them, objections can actually lead to higher closing ratios than ever.

So why do customers object? More often than not, they just want to be sure they’re making the right decision. One way to be proactive at handling objections is to ask the customer questions before they arise, and then answer any concerns they may have. This strategy shows you care, and wins you huge points towards closing the sale.

There are three types of objections you will need to handle in almost any sale. They are:

Any integrity objection can and should be dealt with by referring to your company’s tangible commitment to excellence.

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1. Price objections. Examples include “It’s cheaper down the street,” and “That’s more than I want to spend.” If you are getting lots of price objections, it means you’re not romancing the product enough, and therefore its perceived value is not as high as it could be. Whenever you receive a price objection, do not walk away to bring back a lower price. Instead, re-romance the product and re-establish its worth. This will restore the customer’s confidence that they are getting a great value for their investment. Your ability to enthusiastically romance the product will decide whether they buy or walk.

2. Indecisive Objections. Examples include “I just started looking,” and “I can’t buy this without my husband.” If you get lots of indecisive objections, it means you are not reassuring the customer enough. Unlike price objections, you don’t know exactly what’s keeping an indecisive customer from buying. Therefore, the only way to make them believe this is the right product and now is the right time to buy is to reassure them that they are getting an amazing deal on an amazing piece of jewelry. In this case, you will need to not only romance the product, but remind the customer of the incredible reaction this product will elicit from all who see it.

3. Integrity objections. Examples include “The guy down the street said…,” and “How do you know it’s a ‘G’ color SI1 clarity?” If you are hearing many integrity objections, it means you need to sell company benefits more often. These are the value-added services or guarantees your firm offers to make the buyer feel secure in their purchase.

Any integrity objection can and should be dealt with by referring to your company’s tangible commitment to excellence. For example, on-site goldsmiths, a written guarantee of quality or money back, and GIA or AGS certificates on your diamonds all qualify as supporting benefits they can see and touch, and therefore believe.

In any sales presentation, you will probably encounter multiple objections, sometimes of all three types. No matter what type of objection you encounter, never allow an objection to go unchallenged. I have stated in previous articles that in order to be successful, you must close throughout your presentation, and handling objections is no exception. When you not only answer the customer’s questions but are able to deliver a closing line as well, you have moved them that much closer to the culmination of the purchase.

Objections are clues, and if you follow them you will find yourself romancing the product more effectively and reassuring customers more often. Building that kind of value and trust is the key to making more money in sales than you ever dreamed possible. And who can object to that?

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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 July 2003 edition of INSTORE.

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Shane Decker

Here’s How to Know How Much Technical Information to Give Your Clients

Asking questions and building value should guide your decisions.

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WITH BRIDAL SEASON upon us, diamond sales are at their highest peak that they’ll be all year (mid-April through September). With that said, we need to be at our best when selling diamonds, and that means knowing when, how much and what technical information we should give each client.

Technical information can be a major sale builder or a major sale killer, and it takes an educated salesperson to discern how to use it. Millennials are the most educated, research-based shoppers ever in our industry. Some clients want to have a Ph. D in diamond knowledge when they leave the store. But others just want some information, while some don’t want any. They all want to buy a diamond, but they all want different amounts and kinds of information to make the purchase.

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So when it comes time to talk about technical information, always ask this question: “Would you like to know more about it?” Find out how much they want to know and no more. If you assume they don’t want to know about the 4 Cs but they actually did, they will think you’re stupid and leave the store. If you’re a gemologist (and that’s great that you are), don’t think that because you have all that knowledge that the client wants to know all that you know. If you get technical and the client doesn’t want this information, they glaze over and the sale is dead.

If the client does want to get technical, always present the 4 Cs in the proper order of value: cut, color, clarity and carat weight. If they want to see the lab report, always get on the same side of the showcase as the client and have a scope ready to assist you with the presentation (not a loupe).

When showing the 4 Cs chart, always use it to build value. Too many sales professionals start at the top of the chart and go down (from Flawless to SI1 or SI2). This devalues the diamond because it shows how far down the scale it falls. So always start at the bottom with an I3 and go up to an I1 and stop — then talk about how small the internal characteristics are starting to be. If it’s an SI1, stop and let them know that the internal characteristics are now invisible to the naked eye.

Do the same thing with color: start at Z and go up to F or G or whatever it may be. Talk about how the diamond becomes more colorless as you go up the chart.
Ask questions as you present and explain the technical information as you go — don’t ask questions when you’re done. Cover everything as thoroughly as needed but no more. Keep this as simple or as complicated as the client’s needs are.

When you ask questions all the way through (Ask-Listen-Paraphrase close), this gives your client self-confidence about the purchase, and with this type of presentation based on the technical aspects of the product, it gives them reasons to purchase based on quality information.

Sometimes the lab report and your ability to sell it is the closing tool you need.

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Shane Decker

20 Things That Can Cause a Jeweler to Fail

Shane Decker says too many owners give up too quickly.

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A WORD THAT IS NOT in my vocabulary and should not be in yours is “failure.” Failure can almost always be avoided and is almost always human-designed.

Failure generally happens because of lack of planning. Owners and managers say, “I’ll try it!” and they try it one time, then they say it didn’t work. That’s because most don’t want to put in the effort to truly change. They stay with their old bad habits instead of formulating new habits.

If you don’t like change, you’re going to hate extinction.

So don’t try it — do it. And keep doing it right until you get it done correctly and successfully. Here is a list of things that will set you up for failure if you don’t change your ways.

1. Not closing. Outside of bridal clients, 80 percent of people buy the day they shop. People don’t have time to shop tomorrow if they’re shopping today. 60-70 percent of shoppers who say they’ll be back buy within two hours of leaving your location.
2. Not handling objections or knowing how to team sell, add on, wow, sell company benefits or use value-added statements. Many salespeople don’t know the anatomy of a clerk sale or a created one. They also don’t understand how to convert repair clients into sales.
3. GIA is the Harvard of our industry, but most salespeople don’t take Diamonds 1 and 2. A lot of young customers know more than the salespeople do.
4. Lack of store floor awareness.
5. Negotiating to close the sale and thereby losing profits. Salespeople use negotiating price as a cop-out because they either don’t know any better or are too lazy to do better.
6. Keeping your inventory too long. After two years, it’s dead money.
7. Bad marketing.
8. Not setting sales and business goals.
9. Not marking merchandise up enough, especially diamonds.
10. Not having enough events to increase traffic.
11. Not tracking your sales closing ratio to measure how your team is doing.
12. Not having enough high-end inventory and large diamonds. More and more clients are buying higher-dollar items, but you have to have it before they can.
13. Selling from a poverty-level mentality (selling out of your own pocket).
14. Bad location.
15. Crappy websites designed by Fred Flintstone.
16. Not remodeling old stores.
17. Being closed on Mondays. It’s becoming a big shopping day again.
18. Proper signage not visible. Clients walk into stores all the time and say, “I didn’t know there was a jewelry store here!”
19. Lack of services like appraisals, repairs, CAD/CAM. Work done poorly or not on time.
20. Overpromising and underdelivering.

It’s easy to fail, but it takes dedication, time and wisdom to succeed. If you improve in these areas and work toward success, promote professionalism and have the best-trained staff front and back, you will have a long life in this industry.

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Shane Decker

Here’s the Most Important Area To Invest In As a Jewelry Store Owner

You’re only as good as your people.

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RETAIL STORE OWNERS ARE having a difficult time holding onto their people. Right now, about half of all sales teams change every three years, and every seven years there is a total team change (with the exception of one or two “loyalists” in each store).

What’s the solution? Training. When salespeople have more knowledge, they close more sales and make more money. And as long as they’re making money, they’re far less likely to leave you.

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Training involves several areas, but one of the most fundamental is product knowledge. Your customers are more educated than ever before — and millennials are taking this to a whole new level. They do more research and know more about the product they’re purchasing than most salespeople do.

That’s why all salespeople, especially in bridal and diamonds, should take GIA Diamonds 1 and 2 and Diamond Grading. To some of you, this seems elementary, but I see so many salespeople who haven’t done this.

Salespeople who don’t have product knowledge talk too much to make up for their lack of knowledge. When you talk too much, you can talk right past the closing opportunity. Talking too much also takes the client’s attention away from the item being sold, and it takes attention away from the reason he or she came into your store in the first place.

Product knowledge gives you self-confidence and empowers you. When you have self-confidence, the client will have confidence in you. They won’t have as many objections. Your closing ratio will go up because clients can tell that you know what you’re talking about. They will trust you to help them make a decision.

Owners and managers: hold a one-hour sales meeting each week. Spend 20 minutes on product knowledge, 20 minutes on salesmanship, and 20 minutes on role-playing. When your sales team is well-trained, you’ll have more time to work on your business and you’ll be interrupted less often to help people close sales.

You’re only as good as the people you train. Your team controls how much money you make. And it’s amazing how many salespeople in jewelry stores do not know what they’re doing.

When salespeople are empowered with knowledge, they’re happier and more successful. Teamwork is better because they trust each other’s sales skills.

If you want a higher inventory turn, a higher closing ratio, and more net profit, start training your team. The more knowledgeable they are, the more valuable they feel and the longer they will stay. You invest money in buildings and marketing — start investing in your most valuable asset: your people.

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