Beat the Internet with Salesmanship

The flawless execution of excellent service, emotional appeal, and product knowledge on the sales floor will lead consumers from the Internet and into the jewelry retail store, jewelry sales trainer and consultant Shane Decker said Tuesday during a keynote presentation at the JCK Invitational.

“When you’re good at the little stuff, the big stuff will happen,” Decker told show attendees at the Hilton New York.

Decker says that people buy on the Internet because the online medium provides low prices and convenience. What jewelry retailers provide is service, product knowledge, integrity, and maybe most importantly: the product, so consumers can see it and compare with other similar products.

“A lab report will not make a diamond dance,” Decker said. “Light does.”

Many customers come into a store after they look at diamonds on the Internet. This is great opportunity for retailers to handle any of the consumers’ price objections they may have.

“When a customer comes to your store after looking on an Internet sight, they are coming to you to give you the chance to make sale,” Decker says. “They are looking for a place or a person they can buy something from. They are looking for someone they can trust.”

Decker says that instead of knocking the Internet, and maybe insulting the customer at the same time, salespersons should complement the customer on their research and knowledge. Then the salesperson needs to establish trust through service, product knowledge, the quality of the product and service, and emotional appeal.

“You have to establish value by romancing the product,” he said. “The Internet does not do that.”

Decker also talked about what he described as the poor closing rates among retail jewelers. He said that 75 percent of all people buy the day they shop, yet he said that average closing rates are 10 percent at mall jewelers, 23 to 27 percent at downtown independent jewelers, and 33 to 45 percent at freestanding jewelry retailers.

“That tells you right there that there are jewelers not doing their job,” he said. “Our closing rate—I don’t mean to be blunt—suck.”

One of the most important ways to establish integrity and improve closing rates is to ensure that you hire great salespersons and then constantly train them, and allow them to do better.

“Your integrity is only as good as the person as the people you have,” Decker said. “You are only going to make as much as your people allow you to.”

He continued, “Price is not the issue. The Internet is not the issue. The customer experience is the issue. We have a salesmanship problem, a product knowledge problem, a closing problem.”

He added, “Our business does not deal with facts or reality. It deals with feelings and emotions. Eighty percent of jewelry is given to somebody because we love them.”