Connect with us

Shane Decker

Sales Trainer Shane Decker Reminisces on Career as an INSTORE Columnist

But he wants everyone to be clear: he’s not retiring!

Published

on

Sales Trainer Shane Decker Reminisces on Career as an INSTORE Columnist

SHANE DECKER IS an industry legend, a powerful speaker, and the preeminent jewelry sales trainer of all time. Equally important to us at INSTORE, he’s written a monthly sales column for our magazine faithfully almost since the publication’s inception. I’ve worked with Shane on these columns from the beginning — even before I did my first freelance story for INSTORE — so with Shane announcing he would no longer be writing his monthly column, I felt I deserved some answers. Here they are.

You’ve been writing columns for INSTORE for almost 20 years. How does it feel to retire from regular duty?

I’m going to miss it. And I will still write an occasional column when INSTORE has something special they want me to write about. But we’re going to focus on putting together an online training program that jewelry store owners and their teams can use to improve their selling capabilities. I have a lot of material that I’ve never even written about, and I think it’ll be much more effective than just reading a magazine column every month. But I am going to miss it. I’ve made thousands of friends from the columns because people write and text and ask questions.

What has it meant to you to be an INSTORE columnist?

I was honored that they asked me to do it. I spoke at every SMART Show that INSTORE put on in Chicago at Navy Pier, which had audiences of hundreds. I also did their best attended webinar in 2020 when the pandemic hit, with more than 1,000 viewers attending. The magazine is an industry leader, and it’s for people who want to learn about improving their businesses. There are a lot of other great writers in there who are friends of mine — Kate [Peterson], David [Geller], people I’ve known 30-plus years. The information is endless, and everybody should read it cover to cover because you’re going to get a nugget out of it every time you read it. Some of my columns took hours and hours to research, and sometimes the researcher learns more than the reader, so I’ve enjoyed it very much.

Advertisement

What’s the mistake that people make in sales that drives you the craziest?

Lack of training. Stores hardly do any; very few have sales meetings or review their people at the end of each month. Salespeople don’t know how to close. Owners spend money on beautiful stores and inventory and marketing, and that’s great. But if you can’t train your people how to sell and deliver an experience, it’s all worthless. When I was a full-time salesperson, I wrote 10 closes every night for a year, 365 days. I’ve been in stores where people have been selling for 40 years and never written 10 closes once. It’s appalling to me. Most people are happy with status quo, and that’s my biggest irritation.

How did you get started in jewelry sales training?

I got into the jewelry industry by accident. I was working in a furniture store and a jeweler came in. He said he was just looking, and I said I was just selling. (I never said that again, but that is a true story!) I sold him a ton of dining room furniture, like $45,000 worth, and he asked me if I wanted a job. I said no. But he later won me over. The most 1-carat diamonds I sold in one day while working in jewelry retail was 16. Later on, I was at the New York show after I had opened my company. I was talking to a diamond vendor, and a trade magazine editor walked up to him. The diamond vendor asked him, “Do you know this young man?” He said, “No. Why should I know him?” The diamond vendor said, “He sold more diamonds out of a little store in Kansas than all my other accounts put together.” They wrote an article, and all of a sudden, jewelers were calling me from all over the country asking me, “How do you sell all those diamonds?” Because that year, I had sold 137 1-carats, 40 2-carats and 33 of 3 carats or larger. All of a sudden, all these jewelers wanted me to come show their staff how I did it. So here’s me, a 28 year-old guy flying all over the U.S. showing 50-, 60- and 70-year-old store owners something totally new.

Sales Trainer Shane Decker Reminisces on Career as an INSTORE Columnist

What are some of your most memorable moments as a jewelry sales trainer?

I’ve had owners say, “I wish I’d had you come here 20 years ago.” I’ve had salespeople who, as soon as they heard my first presentation, showed a battery client a diamond and sold it and they couldn’t believe it because they didn’t realize it was that easy. I’ve kept all the thank-you notes and cards I’ve received, and I have two big boxes full of how I’ve changed their lives and their income. What they wrote motivated me to keep doing it. I trained one guy who sold 22 diamonds over a carat in a day and broke my personal record. All records are meant to be broken, and he probably has more to say about how I’ve changed his life than anybody, and he’s become a dear friend.

Have you ever done anything you later wished you hadn’t?

You say stuff every day you wish you wouldn’t have. That’s part of being human. But as you age, you get more patience and wisdom and you’re not as reactive in your communication. One time, I was speaking at a national convention, and I wanted to let this young man know that I thought he had something on the end of his nose, and I said something and it was actually a wart. I hurt his feelings. I tried to speak to him afterward, but he was gone. I found out who he was and apologized to him later and sent him some of my training DVDs. But yes, I’ve said things and regretted them. I’ve trained in 4,500 stores, and if I trained 10 people per store, that’s about 45,000 people, so yeah, I’ve stuck my foot in my mouth before.

What’s ahead for Shane Decker?

I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing. More training than ever through INSTORE’s upcoming online series. Speaking at national conventions. I want to thank God and the Lord Jesus Christ for giving me this opportunity and having a career I love. I want to thank my wife for supporting me. I’m thankful that I have my health, which allows me to do this. I still have a ton of energy and passion. I don’t know anyone who’s had a greater career than I’ve had. I’m very, very thankful.

Advertisement

You’ve spoken at countless shows during your career. Do you enjoy that? What’s your favorite part?

The first JCK show was in 1991, and I’ve spoken at every one but two since then. I’ve done IJO, RJO, state conventions, overseas in Australia, England and Ireland. My favorite part is educating people in the audience. There have been people who have recorded them and taken notes, and they take it back and use it in their stores to train their staff. My second favorite is that I know thousands of people in this industry, and when I’m done, they’ll come up and speak to me or send me a text or we’ll go out and eat dinner. I love teaching and giving people information that they can use the rest of their life. This last October is 48 years in retail, and I’ve been in jewelry almost all my life. I’ve made a lot of friends who if I needed something would drop what they’re doing and come to my aid. I love the teaching and I love the friends I’ve gained from this.

You travel for sales training weekly. What is that life like?

In March, it will be 39 years of flying out 48 weeks a year each Monday. I fly Monday, work in the store Tuesday and Wednesday giving presentations. In the evenings, I meet with the owners to talk about their goals, their people, their margins and markup. I get home every Thursday morning. I have a very strict schedule that I’ve stuck with and it works extremely well. Obviously, I miss my family when I’m gone. I work in the office Thursday and Friday, so I have weekends off with my family. Like any job, you get used to a routine, and that’s just become mine. People ask me all the time, when are you gonna quit? And I say I don’t know, I’m not planning on doing that anytime soon. My routine is awesome because I love what I do.

Trace Shelton is the editor-in-chief of INSTORE magazine. He can be reached at [email protected].

Advertisement

SPONSORED VIDEO

Wilkerson Testimonials

Is It Your Time to Enjoy Life? Wilkerson Can Get You There.

Mary and Tim Whalen, owners of Crown Jewelers in Pittsfield, Mass., wanted to enjoy life beyond their business. When they decided to retire and close shop, they asked Wilkerson to handle the sale. As long-time Wilkerson customers, Mary says she knew the company could manage all the details of the liquidation. It was also great to have “fresh eyes” on their business, says Mary, which “worked tremendously for us.” Today, the Whalens are beginning a new adventure but are quick to commend Wilkerson for helping them get there. “You have one chance to get it right,” she says about their retirement sale. “Do it right.”

Promoted Headlines

Most Popular