For Your Staff:Selling Essentials
Isolate objections, answer concerns, ask again for the sale, reap
by Christine Anzell & Jack Levenson
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
| 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
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
Mrs. Jennings: "I don't know Julie; I want to think about it for
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
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
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
"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
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 – 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
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@ juno.com.
Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.