Training is the key factor that sets apart major retailers like Sterling and Zales from independent retailers. Large retail jewelry companies prefer to hire people that have retail experience but not retail jewelry experience. They’d rather do their own training and not have to deal with the bad habits of new hires. Training is the single most important aspect of a successful sales presentation.
Consider what goes into successful training programs. It’s not just role playing, though that’s important. Education is a major part of the equation. All of your employees should be able to accurately describe the differences in gold content. They should be able to explain why 14k gold is better than 10k but not as precious as 18k. They should understand what causes gold smudging (the chemical process that turns the skin black after extended contact with gold). They should know what makes white gold white and pink gold pink.
You can create your own training handbook by tapping into different educational resources. Searching the Internet will turn up an enormous amount of facts, but make sure the sources are reliable and accurate. World Gold Council also has a great deal of useful information.
An educated and knowledge-able sales staff can only help sell more gold jewelry. You wouldn’t try to sell a diamond without knowledge of the product, so why try to do it with gold? Would you buy a new car from a salesperson who didn’t know the difference between a V8 and V6 engine? Of course you wouldn’t. Don’t make the excuse that there isn’t enough time in the day to offer training sessions. Instead, make some time by offering training in the morning, before you open the store. Bring in breakfast or just coffee and donuts. Pay a small incentive fee for attendance and participation. Firing up the troops is a great start to the day.
Once your sales associates have the requisite knowledge, begin conducting some role-play sessions. Serious role playing is important to making a successful training exercise. Play the role of the customer and ask difficult questions. Play your toughest customer, and be demanding. (But make it fun, too.)
One way to have a successful training session is to play games with a reward attached to them. The winner with the most persuasive presentation could win an afternoon off, a free manicure, or dinner at a local restaurant. It doesn’t have to be a monetary reward.
Knowledge and training will give your associates confidence in their ability to handle any sales situation. Add enthusiasm to the mix, and you’ve made closing gold sales that much easier.