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Commentary: The Business

Jeff Unger: But Wait! There’s More!

In Billy Mays’ recent passing, the world lost one of the greatest salespeople, and while OxiClean and Orange Glo are a world away from diamond rings, we should all learn from him.




WE LOST one of the country’s greatest salesmen when Billy Mays passed away June 28. If you’ve ever stayed up late at night or saw him get his start selling OxiClean, you know Billy Mays. With that booming loud voice, he would tell you how great the product was and why you should buy it now! And don’t forget that catch phrase, “Wait… there’s more!”

What if we sold jewelry the way Billy sold Orange Glo?

Here is how I imagine a sales pitch to a couple for an engagement ring would go:

Billy Mays here for Diamond Jewelers! Why spend hours underground in a mine when you can relax and find your diamond in the comfort of Diamond Jewelers?! For the low price of $1,999.95, you can own a piece of the hardest material in the world!

But wait, there’s more! If you pick out your stone, we’ll throw in a 14K gold mounting absolutely free! We’ll also set your diamond for free! And just for buying today only, we’ll give you a cleaning cloth to keep your diamond sparkling all year long! Wow, what a deal! You get the diamond, 14K gold mounting, the cleaning cloth and free diamond setting, all for $1,999.95!!! Order today!

What can we all learn from Billy Mays?


1. Salesmanship! You first must love what you sell. Billy never sold an item he did not totally believe would be great for the end user. If you don’t believe in your product, you’ll never sell what’s in your cases.

2. Know your products! To Billy, no detail about what he was selling was too small. How many of us have brushed off that the mounting is “hand polished” to bring out the brilliance of the ring? We’ve all forgotten the small details. Billy taught us that even the smallest detail helps sell the product.

3. Use your hands! Since we’re dealing in jewelry, watching Billy’s hands and movement tells a lot about how he would have sold our products. How many of us pull out a ring for a customer and put it on a pad for viewing? Billy would take that ring and paint a picture with his hand. As his hands embrace and stroke the jewelry, they would create the romance that goes with it.

4. Use your voice! It was his voice that made him stand out. Voice inflexion is the final key that ties Billy Mays’ sales approach together. Since we’re selling jewelry, we have this stigma that we have to sell like we’re in a church! But it’s your voice and its ups and downs that can help you sell your product.

So, how do normal sales folk become the next Billy Mays? Practice, practice, practice. Billy would tape his sales pitches and also work in front of a mirror. Most of us never take the time to practice our profession, which is selling.

We lost one of the greatest salespeople of our lifetime. But we should all learn from him and be the best salesperson we can be.


Rest in peace, Billy Mays!

Jeff Unger was the president and co-owner of B & N Jewelry (d.b.a. Alisa Unger Designs) and a long-time INSTORE contributor. He passed away in February 2019 after a valiant 10-year battle with cancer.

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