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Shane Decker

Shane Decker: The Sales Killers

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Shane Decker points the finger at your store’s most dangerous foes.

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The Sales Killers

How much more money would you make if every customer who said they’d “be back” actually came back? You’d be rolling in the dough, right? Well guess what … 93 percent of those who say they’ll be back never return. The answer? Don’t make ‘em walk in the first place.

“But Shane,” you say, “I didn’t ask these customers to leave!” That may be true, but many times we tell a customer in other ways that we don’t want their business. I call these ways “sale killers,” because they effectively exterminate any chance you had at closing the sale. Here are a few of the most common:

Lack of eye contact. If you won’t look the customer in the eyes when you say the price, they won’t believe it’s worth it. If you won’t look them in the eyes when you close, they won’t believe you have their best interests at heart.

Store floor vacancy. The customer walks in the door, and there’s no salesperson on the floor. To them, that means they’re not important enough to receive service. There will be other times for filling out orders, or catching up with co-workers … now it’s time to sell.

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Huddling. The customer is looking for a piece of jewelry, and there’s your staff grouped together, talking or whispering. The customer may feel left out, ignored, or even that they are being talked about. In the game of selling, the no-huddle offense is always best.

Walkaways. When you leave your customer for any reason, your chance of closing the sale drops by 50 percent. Be prepared — it’s not just a motto, it’s a way of life for any strong salesperson.

Pre-judging. The most common sale killer in the industry. The salesperson thinks the customer isn’t dressed right, or they’re just looking, or they’ve been in before, and so they don’t sell the customer properly.

If you try to do too much by yourself, you will seem disorganized and frazzled. Your fellow staff members are there to help you, and you them. 

Not turning over customers properly. If you sense the sale is going poorly, you must turn over the sale before it is lost. Many times, this happens simply because the customer is older or is the opposite sex. Turn it over to an associate who better matches that customer, and they can do the same for you later on.

Lack of teamwork. If you try to do too much by yourself, you will seem disorganized and frazzled. Your fellow staff members are there to help you, and you them. When everyone contributes, everyone wins.

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Body language. Holding the wall up, looking bored, yawning, leaning against the counter … all of these tell the customer you’re disinterested, and you lose the sale.

Show and tell. The customer isn’t here for a speech, they’re here to buy jewelry, and they won’t unless you engage them. Ask questions, use closes, and reassure them that they’re making the right decision … don’t bore them to tears by talking at them rather than conversing with them.

Shadowing. For some salespeople, having another staff member standing too close can affect their confidence and thus their presentation. Work this out beforehand so that everyone knows which salespeople need more “personal space” during a sale.

Not having what they want. This is not an inventory issue, it’s a lack of creativity. You have hundreds or even thousands of pieces in your store. Ask questions, find out what the customer really wants, and show it to them.

Other customers leaving unhappy. It happens in every store from time to time, so beyond trying to limit these occurrences, the key is to have your smoothest salesperson (usually a serpentine) come in and disarm the customer, putting them at ease and allowing the sale to continue.

Temperature. If your store is too chilly, the customer will want to leave sooner. If it is too hot, they won’t be able to concentrate on the sale. Make sure the temperature is “just right,” Goldilocks.

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Music. Nine out of 10 people don’t listen to classical music … what makes you think they’ll like it in your store? Country and rock are too noticeable, and thus split the customer’s focus. Choose something broad-based and upbeat, like easy listening or Top 40, to keep the customer’s energy up and the spotlight on the jewelry.

Don’t let “sale killers” hurt your business any longer. Learn to spot them on sight, train through them in your weekly sales meeting, and the world will be yours for the taking.

 

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 September 2003 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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