More Tricks of the Trade Home Ask the Expert Brainstorm Stats Site of the Week Consumer Press Scan Your Business On-Line Calendar Staff Site Map

September 1999

For Your Staff: Selling TIPS

More Tricks of the Trade

Do you play golf? If you do, you know it's not a complicated game: use the stick to knock the ball into the hole. Oh, it's a frustrating game – and you always have room for improvement – but it's not complicated. The trick to being a successful golfer revolves around pulling together a bunch of simple factors and remembering to implement them when appropriate: stance, grip, keeping your head down and choosing the right club. The great golfers succeed by consistently putting together the right combination of factors.

Successful sales associates, too, consistently bring together a handful of important ingredients each time they work with a client. Previously, we've discussed not prejudging people and being a "retail chameleon." Here, we'll look at three simple tricks of the trade – none of them rocket science, but each a helpful step toward closing more sales.

Start at the Top
A customer enters the store and, after the formalities, says he's shopping for a tennis bracelet. You escort him to the appropriate showcase. Assuming he hasn't told you his budget (and you'd never be so unprofessional to ask what the budget is), which bracelet do you present first? If you said anything other than "the most expensive one," go to the blackboard and write 100 times: "I will always start at the top!"

Presenting your "marquee" or "hero" piece first fulfills several goals:

  • You flatter the customer by communicating your belief he can afford the expensive piece.
  • You show him you carry finer quality and heavier weight pieces.
  • You may prompt him to say, "It really is beautiful, but I had only planned to spend $1,000." In that way, you've determined his budget without asking.
  • You've assured yourself he will be spending the most he can afford.
  • You've avoided prejudging him.

Let's say, for example, a customer is prepared to spend $2,500. You have a $2,500 bracelet but begin by showing him a $1,000 or $1,500 piece. He may walk out very happy at $1,500, then spend the extra $1,000 on those new golf clubs he's been eyeing. You would never know what you missed.

By the way, contrary to the belief of some, you do not insult the $1,000 customer by showing him a $2,500 piece. Just because you wouldn't (or couldn't) spend a high amount for an item, don't assume he won't – or can't.

Selling Up
Maybe you're advertising a promotional piece – a low-priced half-carat solitaire or pair of diamond studs. Promotional items are great for generating traffic, but most jewelers can't survive on traffic-builders alone.

When your client comes in specifically to see that item, present it immediately – yours is not a "bait and switch" operation, after all. Simultaneously, though, present a more expensive piece – heavier in weight or finer in quality. "I have the advertised item right here, Mr. Client," you say. "While you're here, let me show you this piece as well. The promotional piece is an excellent value but you can step up to this exceptional quality (or heavier weight) one for a mere $10 a month more."

Some customers will stay with the loss-leader, but you'll never sell up if you don't make the offer. Will you be perceived as high-pressure? Absolutely not. You're simply informing the customer about an alternative he may wish to choose when he realizes the small additional cost and the joy it will bring to the recipient. By the way, if the promotional item is $299, don't jump to the $2,000 piece next; $500-$600 would be a more achievable upgrade.

Save $, Not %
If you're prepared to discount items to close the sale, refer to the savings in dollars, not percent. With the artificial 50%, 60% and 75% discounts offered by many stores today, your well-intended effort to close the sale by offering 5% or 10% off (or the sales tax) won't usually excite the customer. On a $1,000 item, it's more effective to say "I can save you $50 today" than "I can take off 5%." In most cases, they will actually flash on the cash in their mind's eye.

Think about these helpful hints, practice them, role-play them with your colleagues and then implement them. You'll no doubt see the results: significantly increased sales with minimally increased effort. Why not take a couple of strokes off your game?


by Christine Anzell and Jack Levenson

Christine Anzell and Jack Levenson have spent a combined half-century in fine jewelry retail. For information about their copyright jewelry-specific Client Record Keeping Book or Sales Training Manual, call them at (800) 887-8902.

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


HomeAsk the ExpertBrainstormStatsSite of the WeekConsumer Press Scan

Your Business On-LineCalendarMagazine & Site ArchivesStaffSite Map

Professional Jeweler EventsGuide to Electronic Services

Classified On-LineJA Certification Study Session