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Shane Decker

Shane Decker: Cowardly Lions




If your salespeople aren’t showing your best stuff to every customer, they’re letting you down, says Shane Decker.

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Cowardly Lions

Do you buy name brand shoes? Clothing? How about generic groceries — do you buy the cheap stuff in every category, or are there certain products that just have to be your brand?

Although we may want to believe that our purchases are intellectually motivated, the truth is that all of us are emotionally attached to a favorite brand of product in one or more categories. Why? Because, for whatever reason, those brands make us feel good about ourselves. They make us feel comfortable and confident, and so, at least to some degree, they give us a “wow” experience. I splurge, therefore I am!

But how do you create sales? You can only do so when you “wow” the customer. Now, let me ask you a seemingly unrelated question: How often do your salespeople show your most spectacular pieces to customers who are only there to turn in a repair? How often do they show a $10,000 diamond to a customer who only wants to buy a $200 pair of earrings? If your answer wasn’t “every single time,” then you’re letting money slip through your fingers like sand through a sieve.

But how do you create sales? You can only do so when you “wow” the customer. You have to make them feel comfortable, confident, and special … just like their favorite branded products do. All it takes is to show the customer an unbelievable piece of jewelry, thereby inferring that they do deserve it and they can afford it. Does it make any logical sense for them to spend the extra money? No. Did they intend to spend more money when they walked in? Of course not. So why do they do it? Because you made them feel good about themselves. You believed in their ability to buy the product more than they themselves did. And because you believed, they began to believe as well.

Occasionally, you’ll make the sale that day. After all, 60 percent of customers who purchase say “yes” after they’ve already said “no” four times! Most often, however, the customer will thank you for your help, and leave. But they won’t forget. You have now planted a seed, and that seed will take root — and often bear fruit when you least expect it. It may be a birthday, an anniversary, an engagement proposal … whenever it is, you can rest assured that the sale would not have been made if you hadn’t had the courage to show the piece in the first place.


Four out of five salespeople give up after the first “no.” Four out of five salespeople give up after the first “no.” These cowardly lions are allowing 60 percent of their total sales potential to walk right out your door. Is that good enough for your firm? If each salesperson created one additional sale each month, how much more money would you drop to your bottom line?

Challenge your staff to show every single customer an amazing piece of jewelry (after all, why else do you carry those pieces, if not to show them?). Make sure no prospect leaves unless the word “wow” escapes their lips. Plant the seeds that will grow over time, and learn the fine art of creating sales out of thin air — the kind of sales that turn an average operation into a legendary one!

Shane Decker has provided sales training for more than 3,000 stores worldwide. Contact him at (317) 535-8676 or at

This story is from the February 2004 edition of INSTORE.

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For 25 years, Stafford Jewelers of Cincinnati, Ohio, was THE place to go for special gifts, engagement diamonds, high-end Swiss watch brands — in other words, the crème de la crème of fine jewelry. But this summer, the Stafford family was ready to retire. So, they chose Wilkerson to help them close up shop. “One of the biggest concerns was having the sale in the middle of COVID,” says Director of Stores Michelle Randle. Wilkerson gave the Stafford team plenty of ideas as well as safety guidelines, which they closely followed. “All of the employees felt safe, the customers coming in the door felt safe and we did a lot of business,” says Randle. How much business? “The inventory flew,” she says. Translation: They sold millions and millions of dollars-worth of merchandise. Randle calls it, “an incredible experience.” Would she recommend Wilkerson to other retailers who are thinking of thinning their inventories or retiring? “Everyone got more than what they expected out of the sale. You have to hire Wilkerson. They’re amazing.”

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