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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 the Most Important Area To Invest In As a 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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Shane Decker

How to Avoid 3 Security and Sales Risks

Secure sales techniques not only keep your jewelry safer, they make your clients happier, writes Shane Decker.

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THROUGHOUT THE YEAR, I’m in jewelry stores all over the country, and one thing I’ve noticed is that many stores are packing up their jewelry and timepieces before they close. They start packing up at 5:30 when they close at 6. What if a client comes in at 5:50 because that’s the only time he can make it, and everything is put away? You’ve just told him you don’t want to wait on him. He’ll go somewhere else and become a client there.

I’ve heard salespeople tell such a client, “Tell us what you want and we’ll go get it out.” But by that point, it’s already too late. The client feels like he is being a bother or that your plans are more important than he is. (Not only is the practice of packing up early a sale killer, but your insurance carrier may have a problem with it as well. You’ve got your jewelry all boxed up and sitting on top of the counters for the bad guys to come in and take it out very easily.)

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Some stores try to avoid killing the sale by packing up areas where they don’t think the client is looking. But this is silently telling the client, “Hurry up and get out so that we can finish packing up the area you’re looking at.”

Clients hate feeling rushed. They chose your store to purchase jewelry. If you’re in that big of a hurry to get home every night, go get another job! Quit killing the client’s experience.

Another problem I see often is what I call “over-showing.” It’s when salespeople have too many items out on the counter pad. This only confuses the client. It also makes it easier for someone to grab your inventory and run out the door. If you ask enough selling-specific questions, you can dial in quickly on what the client wants and concentrate on one or at most two items. Never have more than three items at once on the pad. But always put the item that interests the client in their hand. It shows trust and gives them ownership.

One final security risk that I see is salespeople walking away from their clients. If you leave the merchandise out in front of them, you make them feel nervous. But if you take it with you, you’re showing them that you don’t trust them. This is a sale killer. Always have someone to assist you to avoid either of these bad options.

Be sales-minded, but also be security minded. Practice store floor awareness. Be aware of other sales associates’ needs. This will make your store more secure, and equally importantly, make your clients much happier with their experience.

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Shane Decker

The Time Shane Decker Pre-Judged a Client – and Paid the Price

Every time you approach a client, think “She’s a millionaire. I’m closing this sale.”

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Selling out of your own pocketbook means selling what you can afford. But never assume that’s all the client can afford. If you do, you’re not just doing yourself and your store a disservice — you’re doing your client a disservice.

Let me tell you a story about me. About 40 years ago when I was new in the industry, there was a lady that I thought was poor. I was new to the community and I thought people were mean to her — they all called her “The Cat Lady.” She pushed an empty cart by the store every morning, then in the evening, she would come by with a cart full of bottles, cans and anything she thought was valuable.

Right before Valentine’s Day, we had just changed our store windows to feature ruby and diamond jewelry. That evening, she stopped and looked in the window. Then she covered everything up in her cart, parked it outside and came in.

She was wearing a ratty old coat. I waited on her with a smile. She let me know she had always wanted a ruby and diamond ring, and she loved the one in our window. I got it out and handed it to her. She said again, “I’ve always wanted a ruby ring.” I should have closed the sale, but I blew it.

The ring fit perfectly, but I was worried about my integrity. I didn’t want to be known as a salesperson that sold her jewelry on a day that was very cold. Maybe she was hungry and needed a new coat. So I said one of the dumbest things I’ve ever said to a client: “Don’t you really need a coat?”

She said, “Young man, if I wanted to buy a coat, I would buy a coat! I want a ruby ring.” She smiled and left, and I felt like an idiot. If I remember right, our ring was around $695. Rather than going on her merry way, she went back the other direction to the jeweler on the next block. Later that evening as I was tearing down our windows to put our jewelry in the vault, she gave me a Princess Diana wave, showing me the ruby ring she had just purchased. I found out later she had laid down 12 $100 bills. Wow.

Later that week, I went outside and apologized. She said, “Young man, we all have lessons to learn in our life. I know you meant well. But I did want a ruby and diamond ring.” She was so nice. But if I’d been listening, she would have walked out of our store with a ruby ring. She was already closed.

When you sell out of your own pocket, you are accidentally pre-judging the client. Every time you approach someone, always go with a smile and think, “She’s a millionaire. I’m closing this sale. I’m adding on. And she’s going to be wowed before she leaves.”

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