National Jeweler Network

Market Developments

From Conclave: Five tips on closing the sale

By Brecken Branstrator

April 24, 2014

San Diego--In his presentation at AGS Conclave Wednesday, Shane Decker armed the crowd with knowledge about the different types of salespeople and closes, and how to handle customers’ objections when trying to close a sale.

Currently, the close ratio at jewelry stores on strip malls averages somewhere between 23 to 27 percent, according to Decker. For freestanding jewelry stores, this number is slightly better, from 27 to 33 percent.

This leaves a lot of room for improvement for the industry, to learn new and better ways to make the sale and decrease the amount of people walking out of the stores empty-handed, he said.

Decker, of Ex-Sell-Ence Inc., said that there are five areas that affect the close:
1. A smile. Smiles eliminate objections before they start and relax clients faster than any other sales tools.
2. Eye contact. It’s necessary to learn to listen with your eyes. Show trustworthiness by looking customers in the eyes.  This gives them confidence in selling ability.
3. Body language. It’s the first thing the clients read when they walk in the store. Don’t greet from behind the counter and make sure the body language is positive. Lean in when they speak, write down what they say, and use hands and body language to show enthusiasm.
4. Voice. If a client laughs, the close ratio goes up 50 percent. They want to have fun--robotic presentations are sales killers.
5. Communication and listening skills. Stop and really listen to what the customer is saying and show them the attention they deserve.

According to Decker, there are three types of sales people, and it’s necessary for salespeople to figure out which one they are in order to find the best method for them to close the deal.

The most popular is the serpentine sellers, who take a lot of time to talk to the client and ask a lot of questions to get the client’s personal information and back story. Their personal strength is building relationships; 70 percent of people are serpentine sellers.

Another 20 percent are missile sellers who only talk about jewelry and give more direct presentations. The “sneak” makes up the last 10 percent.

Not everyone will use the same closing style because they are different types of salespeople. “Don’t try to be something in a salesperson that you’re not,” Decker said.

The types of closes are as follow:
1. Direct. This method is used most by missiles, and encourages the client to just go for it and buy the jewelry.
2. Compliment. Clients love compliments when they’re genuine. This type is generally employed by serpentine sellers.
3. Whisper. The sneak-dominant type draws the client in.
4. Indirect. This type is serpentine and sneak dominant. It’s used to find out what progress has been made in the presentation and how close the sale is.
5. Reassurance close. Used by all three types of salespeople and for every type of client that comes in; it gives the client reassurance all the way through the presentation. It’s also the most important to increase a store’s closing ratio.
6. Direct question close. However, never ask one that allows them to say no. Do not use, ‘May I,’ ‘Can I,’ etc.
7. Assumption close. This sneak-dominant closing tactic uses pronouns all the way through to show ownership, and assumes all the way through that the client will buy the product.
8. Clerked close. This is extremely specific to what the client said they want from the beginning. It’s a good method to use for any client since it’s specific to an item.

Decker recommended writing 10 examples for each type and practicing them with the sales team. “If you practice, you’re closing ratio will go up,” he said.

To prepare for objections, come up with the 40 hardest objections heard in the store and put them on the front of an index card. On the back, come up with 5 to 8 responses to each to cover the different types of clients. If objections can’t be dealt with and addressed, the sale won’t close.

Team selling is also a technique that Decker strongly suggested. Since different selling styles work for different people, there may be someone else on the team that would be better suited to a customer, or someone more suited in age to the customer.

Put up everyone’s sales profiles in the back, and talk to them about which two would be best in certain situations and how to bring them in. Opposite profiles work best together, and even better when they’re opposite genders in different age groups.

As far as technique goes, the second salesperson coming into the conversation should always come in on the side of the counter that the customer is already on. If it’s a couple, they should also always end up on the female’s side, Decker said.

The close ratio goes up 50 percent when stores team-sell, making it a sales strategy that shouldn’t be ignored, he said.