Perseverance Pays

November 1998

For Your Staff:Selling Essentials

Perseverance Pays

Isolate objections, answer concerns, ask again for the sale, reap the rewards

by Christine Anzell & Jack Levenson

 MY LIFE AS A FINE JEWELRY ASSOCIATE, a series that began in the April issue and concludes with this installment, focuses on a novice salesperson and her first days on the job. However, even the most seasoned and professional seller can gain insights by reviewing basic sales techniques covered in the series.
Faithful readers of this series have noticed how much time we've spent on overcoming objections and asking for the sale. This part of the sales experience is clearly the most important in determining whether you're going to make the sale.

From grooming to attire, from greeting to listening, from presentation to product knowledge, nothing in the transaction is more important than the home stretch – converting the sale process from customer consideration to a decision with which he or she will be happy for many years.

The novice salesperson at the center of this series has observed every step of the process as veteran sales associate Julie has taken Mrs. Jennings to the point where she has almost decided to buy a ring for her husband. But as often happens, a temporary glitch has arisen, and now Mrs. J. needs some help to make her decision. Let's watch as our novice sees how Julie handles the situation.

Julie: "If you know his finger size, Mrs. Jennings, we can size the ring before you present it. If not, he can bring it in after you've given it to him; we'll measure his finger and size the ring within 24 hours. Which would you prefer to do?" [alternate choice close]

Mrs. Jennings: "I don't know Julie; I want to think about it for a while."

Julie: "I understand, Mrs. Jennings; this is a big decision [empathy].Tell me, what questions can I answer for you that will help you make that decision?" [isolating the objection]

Mrs. J: "I'm just not sure. It is an absolutely beautiful ring [buying signal]. I'm sure he'd cherish it [buying signal]. But it's a lot of money [true objection]. I probably should look around." [secondary objection]

Julie: "A smart buyer does compare, Mrs. Jennings. One thing I've learned in my years with this company: it's a lot more important to look at value than to look at price. I'm sure there are similar styles out there at lower prices.

"The ring you're considering has a diamond of superb clarity and color; just look at the brilliance. The onyx is hand-cut into that unique shape, and look again at the perfection of the goldwork around the edges. Bear in mind, too, this is an 18k setting, not the 14k so often found in other stores.

"You're right that it's not an inexpensive ring. But it doesn't look like one and it won't wear like one either. People will compliment him on it for years to come. And every time they do, he'll look at it and be reminded of the thought and love that went into its purchase. So do you want to have it sized for him now or would you prefer to present it to him and have him come in afterward to have his finger measured?" [second closing attempt]

Victory So Near, Yet So Far
Wow! Julie was great. Not only was she unshaken by Mrs. Jennings' latest objection, she handled it smoothly, professionally and without a hint of pressure. She answered the objection intelligently and immediately asked for the sale again. I'm sure Mrs. J. is about to whip out her checkbook ...

"You know, Julie, what you say is probably true. I do have a lot of confidence in you and your company [buying signal]. But Mr. Jennings has never worn any jewelry other than his watch and that plain old wedding band he got when we got married. This purchase could really backfire on me."

Another objection to deal with! But Julie remains focused. No rolling of the eyes, looking at her watch or any other sign of throwing in the towel. She's going to make this sale because she knows Mrs. Jennings really wants to buy the ring for her husband and is just dealing with a minor case of the self-doubt that often accompanies such decisions.

I see Julie in the role of "assistant buyer" in this situation; she's simply "assisting the buyer" in making her decision. By giving valid reasons to purchase the ring, Julie's making Mrs. Jennings feel more comfortable with decision.

"I understand your concern, Mrs. Jennings. I know you want everything to be just perfect for this very special occasion [empathy]. Bear a couple of things in mind. First, he's going to be so touched you took the time out of your busy schedule to come to our store and choose such a special remembrance. Second, just because he hasn't worn an exceptional piece like this in the past doesn't mean he hasn't dreamed about it but simply wouldn't buy it for himself. Even if he wears it only on special occasions, he'll treasure it the rest of his life.

"Finally, let's assume the worst-case scenario: he decides it's really not for him. You can bring him in with you and we'll exchange the ring for something he likes better. With our large assortment, he'd no doubt find something he likes. Now would you like me to put this on your charge or would you prefer to pay cash today?" [third closing attempt]

Ring It Up
Julie has reassured Mrs. Jennings she hasn't "painted herself into a corner" with this purchase; she's given Mrs. J. more than enough reasons to buy. I think our customer feels pretty good; I can see a look of serenity come to her face. Julie was pretty clever not to go back to the "sizing close" for a third time &#150 that might have seemed too obvious. By changing her method of asking for the sale, she averted sounding pushy.

"I don't want Mr. Jennings to see the deduction in our checkbook; let's put it on my account."

Way to go, Julie! And way to go Mrs. Jennings!

This was an excellent example of customer service at its best. By not backing down the minute Mrs. Jennings raised her first objection, Julie helped her through her temporary bout of self-doubt. When all was said and done, we had a very happy customer, one excitedly anticipating her husband's reaction when he receives his gift.

And, of course, we have a happy sales associate and store manager. It's no wonder Julie is the top seller in the company. Her patience, perseverance, persistence and pleasantness combine to convert prospects to clients virtually every time.

I've learned a great deal today. Selling fine jewelry is unlike selling anything else. If I can use my ability to properly greet and build rapport with customers, present and romance the merchandise, recognize or generate buying signals, ask for the sale, isolate and overcome any objections and then ask for the sale again, I know I'll be successful.

When I have all that together, Julie will have some stiff competition for top sales associate.

Christine Anzell and Jack Levenson conduct sales training in the fine jewelry industry. For information about their copyright jewelry-specificTraining ManualorClient Record Keeping Book,contact them at (800) 887-8902, fax (954) 452-6880, e-mail jtlevenson@


Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.


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