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Shane Decker

Shane Decker: Cultivate an Environment for Impulse Buys

Assume that every customer is a millionaire and that she can afford to buy whatever she wants.




THE ECONOMY IS GOING to do whatever it’s going to do. All you can control is the shopping experience you offer your customers. Salespeople everywhere are becoming jaded and demotivated by the news, and that’s resulting in lost sales.

People are still buying jewelry. Why not give them every chance to buy from you?

Too many potential customers are leaving your doors without being offered a reason to buy. When a farmer goes through a dry season, he doesn’t give up on his crop. He fertilizes and waters the soil, knowing that he’s giving his plants the best chance to grow.

Your salespeople need to be doing the same thing in your store to cultivate impulse buys.

Too many potential customers are leaving your doors without being offered a reason to buy. Your salespeople might say, “Oh, he just wanted a watch battery” or “She was just in for a repair.” Both of those are opportunities for sales!

We all buy on impulse — whether it’s a car, a boat, electronics, or jewelry. It makes us feel good, like giving ourselves a Christmas present. When we buy on impulse, we want to tell other people what we bought. It’s exciting! And, when we buy something on impulse, we love it forever — and we’ll feel the same way about the place we bought it.


Moreover, selling an impulse item takes only a moment, not a two-hour presentation. We should be looking to create impulse buys every chance we get … but we’re not.

Culprit No.1: Pre-Judging

It’s the top sales killer in our business. Especially in lean economic times, we think, “I’m not going to make the effort to wow this customer because she’s not going to buy.” By taking that approach, you’ve just ensured that they won’t. We need to take professional advantage of every selling opportunity. Assume that every customer’s a millionaire and that she can afford to buy whatever she wants.

Culprit No. 2: Busy Work

Owners don’t like to see salespeople doing nothing, so they assign them busy work. The problem is, when a customer walks in, the salesperson isn’t 100 percent ready to wait on her, and he may be hesitant to leave his busy work undone. Customers are more important than any busy work, which should always be done early (before opening) or late in the evening.

Culprit No. 3: Lack of Enthusiasm

No matter what kind of day you’re having, act like you’re glad to be at work. Be passionate; it’s contagious, and the customer is highly likely to feel your enthusiasm and become excited about the jewelry herself.

Culprit No. 4: Not Asking Questions

It doesn’t matter why the customer is in your store, you can engage her in conversation through questions, and possibly land an impulse buy. Ask her if she’s seen something she liked today. Or, show her something from a new collection that you think she might like. Don’t be afraid of rejection! When you show her something she doesn’t want, she’ll tell you what she does want — and then you’re off and running.

A fun and relaxed shopping experience is like fertile ground for impulse buys. The better the experience, the longer the customer will stay, the more comfortable she’ll be talking with you, and the more she’s likely to spend. Never, ever allow a customer to walk in, look around, and leave — that means your shopping experience was a big fat zero.


So let’s ignore what the media is telling us, and make our own news. People still want to buy on impulse — they want that good feeling. Are you doing what it takes to make sure they buy from you?

This story is from the March 2009 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 [email protected].



Celebrate Your Retirement with Wilkerson

For nearly three decades, Suzanne and Tom Arnold ran a successful business at Facets Fine Jewelry in Arlington, Va. But the time came when the Arnolds wanted to do some of the things you put off while you’ve got a business to run. “We decided it was time to retire,” says Suzanne, who claims the couple knew how to open a store, how to run a store but “didn’t know how to close a store.” So, they hired Wilkerson to do it for them. When she called, Suzanne says Wilkerson offered every option for the sale she could have hoped for. Better still, “the sale exceeded our financial goals like crazy,” she says. And customers came, not only to take advantage of the going-out-of-business buys and mark-downs, but to wish a bon voyage to the beloved proprietors of a neighborhood institution. “People were celebrating our retirement, and that was so special,” says says.

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