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Shane Decker

Shane Decker: Find The Why




It’s great to romance the product, but, Shane Decker says, it’s more important to have an interest in their special event.

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Find The Why

In today’s reality-TV world, jewelry is the feel-good sitcom of retail. Unlike insurance and auto sales, which depend more on cold, hard facts, jewelry sales are based on feelings and emotion.

That’s why romance should be 80 percent of every sales presentation. But although many salespeople are fabulous when it comes to romancing the product, most forget to romance the most important thing of all — the occasion. Or, as I call it, the “why” — the reason your customer came in to buy jewelry in the first place.

Romancing the “why” makes the customer’s reason even more important than they originally thought. As a result, the price becomes less significant and closing is easier. And, talking to a customer about his or her special occasion builds a relationship between that customer, you and your store. The better you know your customers, the more they’ll come back in the future. Relationship-building not only beats your competitors, it’s an Internet-killer as well.

So how do you romance the “why”? It takes extremely good listening skills and asking lots of questions. Here’s an example:


SALESPERSON: “Is this for someone special?”

CUSTOMER: “Yes, my wife.”

SALESPERSON: “Does she know you’re here?”


SALESPERSON: “Oh, women love surprises from jewelry stores! What’s her name?”

CUSTOMER: “Emily.”


SALESPERSON: “That’s a pretty name. Is this for a special occasion?”

CUSTOMER: “Yes, actually — it’s our 20th anniversary.”

A-ha! You have it — the reason he came in. You see, he’s not here for jewelry … not really. He’s here for his wife and all that the anniversary means to both of them. That’s what he cares about, and that’s what you need to romance. You can best accomplish this by following three steps:

1. Ask questions — enough to get the “why.”

2. Paraphrase — this shows agreement.

3. Give a reassurance close.


Here are some examples for how to romance the “why” for different products:

— ”You guys have been married for 20 years? What an incredible milestone. Every woman dreams of receiving diamonds and gold on her 20th anniversary.”

— “It’s his 40th birthday? That’s such an important date. With all he’s achieved, he’ll feel great when you give him this Rolex.”

— “So you’re getting engaged? That’s exciting, isn’t it! How’d you guys meet?” or “Have you set a date?” or “How’d you announce the engagement?” … followed by this teaser, “If you don’t know how you’re going to pop the question, I have a really great idea — I’ll tell you about it when we’re all done here.”

I also want to make it crystal-clear that this cannot be just a technique — you have to be sincere. I also want to make it crystal-clear that this cannot be just a technique — you have to be sincere. You can’t seem like an interrogator. Don’t barrage them with questions up front; ask throughout your presentation, in the natural flow of the conversation.

Become a true part of their special event by showing a genuine interest. This shows customers that you care, and they want that. They’re tired of not knowing anyone when they go out shopping — especially when it comes to something as important as jewelry. If they think you really care, they’ll open up. But if they think you just want to sell, they’ll shut you out.

That’s the reason that the “why” is so critical — it’s the way to the customer’s heart. Unfortunately, it’s the part of the sale that’s left out more often than any other part. And that’s not just a disservice to your store, it’s a disservice to the customer.

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 January 2007 edition of INSTORE.




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