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November 1999

For Your Staff: Selling Skills

Add Value with Add-Ons

Don't stop at the first sale when your client is in a buying mood

One of the most common missed opportunities in our industry is the add-on sale. Why do so many of us miss that opportunity? Whatever the reason – fear of rejection, being perceived as pushy or simply a case of premature celebration – we need to change our thinking. The reality is the customer who has already selected one item is the perfect candidate for another one.

Think about it; she's already in the store. By making the first purchase, she's exhibited a "buying" frame of mind. She's demonstrated a high level of confidence in you, and she's in a good mood because those who make the buying decision are usually happy campers immediately thereafter.
Three elements ensure we take advantage of this opportunity: the unspoken word, the spoken word and the last word.

The Unspoken Word

Display merchandise so customers can easily see some items go hand-in-hand. In showcases displaying gold, for example, show matching chains and bracelets together. When appropriate, include an adornment when presenting a chain. When a customer chooses a solitaire pendant, show how traditional stud earrings can set it off perfectly.

By seeing such pieces displayed together in a showcase or gift box, customers will often sell themselves on the add-on. When you group coordinating earrings, pendant, bracelet and ring, customers automatically start to think about a "suite" rather than a single piece.

Add-on sales often result from the client's impulse to buy; therefore, heart jewelry should appear in virtually every showcase of women's jewelry before St. Valentine's Day. Pearl studs should be in several showcases in June.

Jewelry isn't the only add-on option. Jewelry boxes are naturals; if you stock them, use them as part of displays. Always show jewelry cleaner and polishing cloths in several areas of the store also.

The Spoken Word

Just as you ask customers for the sale rather than wait for them to say "I'll take it," you must suggest the add-on rather than wait for them to ask to see another item. A common thread exists among all associates successfully selling add-ons. They assume the add-on – it's OK to do that here – by removing the item from the showcase and saying something like "Now that you've decided on this exquisite solitaire, here's a classic diamond wedding band that will complement it perfectly" or "Try on this pendant; it will look fabulous with the earrings you're buying."

What if you don't have an item that coordinates with the initial purchase? How about these opportunities:

  • "I love the shade of purple in your sweater; look at how well this gorgeous amethyst pendant matches."
  • "You've done an excellent job choosing your husband's birthday gift; in fact, you deserve a reward. What do you think of these earrings that just arrived?"
  • "I love your sapphire bracelet; slip on this exquisite new ring. It would look great with that bracelet."

Perhaps the greatest opportunity for add-on sales is in the bridal category. Here are some suggestions an add-on expert might make:

  • A wedding band to complement the engagement ring.
  • A wedding band for the groom.
  • A more modest ring for her to wear when traveling, playing sports, etc.
  • A wedding gift from him to her.
  • A wedding gift from her to him.
  • Gifts for the bridal party.

The Last Word

Not every client will buy an add-on. It's important to remember, however, you still have options for those who say no. Offer layaway, which guarantees they'll have the matching item at today's price when they're ready to buy it.

Record upcoming gift-giving occasions in your Client Record Keeping Book and inform the customer you'll call with a reminder about the jewelry closer to the time of the occasion.

Finally, a tip from some of the top add-on sales achievers in the business – are you sitting down? Don't stop at the second item! Suggest a third, even a fourth. Customers will let you know when they've hit their limit.

Take a lesson from the experts: add on to the sale and add on to your success.

by Christine Anzell & Jack Levenson

Christine Anzell and Jack Levenson are sales trainers in the fine jewelry retail industry. To order their copyright Client Record Keeping Book or Sales Training Manual, call them at (800) 887-8902.

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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