JCK Show: Snakes and Missiles: The Importance of Good Sales Training

Your success with customers is directly related to the quality of your staff, sales trainer Shane Decker declared in a high-energy education session on sales training.

“You need the best-trained staff,” he said. “Your integrity is at stake every time your salespeople stand in front of a customer. You can’t be as good as your competitor, but better than them. Do you want your customers to get the same treatment they get everywhere?”

He called inadequate sales training the “No. 1 sales killer in the industry.”

“A lack of training is deadly,” said Decker. “Your No. 1 priority is your customer. Your customers should be treated like the best, like kings, like family. But everywhere I go, that doesn’t happen to me. I would rather buy clothes off L.L. Bean on the Internet than go downtown to buy them.”

He advised jewelers to hold sales meetings at least once a week. One of those meetings should establish the basic procedures of the store. “Don’t assume anybody knows anything,” he said.

He noted that haphazard procedures cause problems. When counter people lose repair slips or don’t know the store’s diamond inventory, it alienates consumers. “They don’t remember you found the repair slip, they know you lost it,” he said. “When professionalism breaks down, so does trust.”

The second meeting should address product knowledge, which is necessary to appeal to today’s customers, who do extensive research on the Internet.

A final meeting should be on learning how to “romance” the product. “Romancing is your ability to create the desire,” he said. “If you have no passion for what you do, you won’t be able to close the sale.”

He listed the three types of sales personalities: “serpentines,” who talk about both the sale and anything else that comes to mind; “missiles,” who focus on the product and nothing else; and “snakes,” who sell to customers without their knowing it.

He said all three types need to constantly use “closes.” “The close is what you say to get the customer to say, `I’ll take it,’ ” he said. “The secret to closing is that you do it from the time you open your mouth.” He listed seven types of closes:

* The “direct” close: “Do it,” “Buy it,” or “Go for it.”

* The “compliment” close: “The blue in the topaz will match the blue in her eyes.” “Customers love recognition,” Decker said. “They want to know they made the right decision.”

* The “whisper” close: “This is really going to look great,” or “I can tell by the way you’re looking at it, you want it.” These are said in a hushed voice; Decker noted that a whisper “draws the customers in.”

* The “indirect” close: “Trust your instincts” and “Do what you heart says.”

* The “reassurance” close: “She’s gonna love this,” “Wise choice,” and “What a great idea.” You should use these throughout the presentation, Decker said. “The more reassurance you give the customer, the easier it is to make the sale,” he noted.

* The “question” close: “Do you want to use white or yellow gold?” or “Do you want me to wrap this up?”

* The “assumption” close: You just pick up the ticket book and start writing. Decker noted that this is done mostly by “snakes.” “Your timing on this has to be perfect,” he said.