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Shane Decker

Shane Decker: Confidence, Man

Hey, all you salespeople who act like you don’t have the right to ask for the sale! Shane Decker has something to tell you.




WOULD YOU SHOP in a store that sells a product you have absolutely no interest in? Of course not. You only go into a store if you want to be there. It’s true for you, and it’s true for your customers.

Why, then, aren’t we making more sales? If customers are only in your store because they want to be – and I can assure you, that is the case – why are they leaving without buying?

Because we’re not closing, that’s why. Because somewhere over the course of the sales process, we’ve proven we’re not good enough for customers to give us their money. They’re walking out with money in their pockets that they intended to spend with you.

FACT: 60% of Americans can’t make up their own minds. They need permission to buy what they truly want. The solution, then, is simple — figure out what they want, show it to them, and let them know that yes, they can buy it today. Close the sale.

If you let a customer walk, you may think that it’s just one lost sale. But the consequences are far more serious. When we don’t close, and the customer leaves the store, there are only four possible things that he or she is thinking:

  1. Was there something wrong with that store?
  2. Was that item marked up too high?
  3. Was something wrong with that item?
  4. Was the salesperson telling me the truth?

If they leave your store thinking one of those four things, they’re never coming back. It stands to reason, then, that the best way to preserve customer loyalty is to close the sale.


Mall stores average a 10% closing ratio. For independent retailers, it’s 23-27%; for freestanding stores, it jumps to 45%. But it’s estimated that 75% of all customers buy the first day they shop for the item. That’s at least two out of every five customers that started in your store, going somewhere else to buy.

When you walk someone, you’re letting your competitor have that money. Worse, you’re letting them survive off the customer that came to you first! After all, 93% of customers who say “I’ll be back” never return. Somebody else sold and closed your customer. Next time, that customer won’t think of you – they’ll go to the store where they bought the first item, to build that relationship. And all the people they refer? You guessed it … they’re going to your competitor, too.

They want bragging rights that they bought that piece of jewelry at your store. Let’s think about what exactly that means. The estimated jewelry buying cycle starts around 45 years of age for most people and lasts for 20 years. (No, it’s not the engagement ring purchase that begins the cycle… young couples are spending their money on a house, kids, vehicles, etc.). When the kids leave home, people can finally afford to start buying jewelry in earnest.

Generally, customers in this buying cycle will purchase two items a year — one small, and one big. What does this mean in actual sales? Well, if you let someone slip away when they’ve just begun their buying cycle, you just thrown away an estimated $500,000!

But wait, it gets worse. Over those two decades, each of these customers will get 10 people shopping with you — and each of those will get 10, and so on. That’s a lot of referrals you’re losing if that first customer walks on Day One.

That must never happen, and there’s no reason it should. Your customer wants you to close the sale. They want bragging rights that they bought that piece of jewelry at your store. When their friend asks, “Where did you get that?”, they want to answer, “Oh, I got it at my jeweler, so-and-so!”


Make sure that so-and-so is you. Close the sale!


New Ideas for Your Store

  • Want to expand engagement and bridal jewelry sales? Getting out of your store and going where marrying couples are is a good start.
  • Try selling at a bridal fair.
  • Dozens of these will be occuring in the coming months. It’s a great place to show off your bridal jewelry to the people it’s designed for. You’ll also meet other businesses in the bridal field – giving you opportunities for cooperative promotions.

This story is from the January 2006 edition of INSTORE.

Shane Decker has provided sales training to more than 3,000 jewelry stores. Shane cut his teeth in jewelry sales in Garden City, KS, and sold over 100 1-carat diamonds four years in a row. Contact him at



When There’s No Succession Plan, Call Wilkerson

Bob Wesley, owner of Robert C. Wesley Jewelers in Scottsdale, Ariz., was a third-generation jeweler. When it was time to enjoy life on the other side of the counter, he weighed his options. His lease was nearing renewal time and with no succession plan, he decided it was time to call Wilkerson. There was plenty of inventory to sell and at first, says Wesley, he thought he might try to manage a sale himself. But he’s glad he didn’t. “There’s no way I could have done this as well as Wilkerson,” he says. Wilkerson took responsibility for the entire event, with every detail — from advertising to accounting — done, dusted and managed by the Wilkerson team. “It’s the complete package,” he says of the Wilkerson method of helping jewelers to easily go on to the next phase of their lives. “There’s no way any retailer can duplicate what they’ve done.”

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