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Shane Decker

Shane Decker: Halfway Selling

Your job’s not done after a customer agrees to buy, says Shane Decker.




ANY COACH WILL TELL you that you can’t run your fastest for only half the race and expect to win. Only the athletes who run all the way through the finish line reach the pinnacle of success. The same holds true for jewelry sales. There is too much “halfway selling” going on in our industry, and in tough economic times like these, the consequences are more painful than ever.

To finish a sale in a way that will keep customers coming back for more, you must complete three presentations per customer: the clerk ticket, the add-on, and the “wow” presentation.

The clerk ticket simply means selling the item that the customer came in to see in the first place. Some salespeople get excited and forget to keep selling, or they just quit after ringing up the item. You’ve still got two presentations to go!

A “wow” is something that’s drop-dead gorgeous, that’s affordable to the person you’re selling, but a little bit above what they came in to see. The second presentation is the add-on sale — if you sold him a strand of pearls, you show him what matches, whether it’s pearl earrings, a ring or a bracelet.

The average add-on presentation takes 30 seconds to three minutes. Without asking permission, you tell the customer, “We have what matches,” or “This is part of a set” or “I’ve gotta show you what goes with these.”

Why are add-ons so important? For starters, the advertising cost to bring in the customer comes out of the first item sold — so when you sell an add-on, that sale is free. The cost of business goes down, profit goes up and your inventory turns faster. With an add-on, you don’t have to sell yourself again… you’ve already done it with the first item. Nor do you have to sell the product again — you’re just matching up. And, you’ve already sold the company. All of this makes the add-on the easiest sale there is.


The sad part is, only about five out of every 100 sales slips in our industry include an add-on item.

Once you’ve made the add-on presentation, you’re ready for the third and final part: the “wow” presentation. In this stage, you show the customer one more thing before they leave and “wow” them with a high-ticket item. The “wow” is what gives you momentum for next time. The customer leaves saying, “Did you see that?” And maybe a year from now, they come in and buy the “wow” item.

How do you choose your “wow” item? Well, if you found out during your presentation that a $1,500 strand of pearls was too much, you don’t want to wow your customer with something that’s $15,000. You say, “You know, I’ve gotta show you something that you might think of for Christmas or your next anniversary. Every woman dreams of having a diamond bracelet.” And you show him a bracelet that’s $2,995 — “Just something to think about.”

But if a woman comes in and she’s wearing 2-carat total weight studs and a 2-carat diamond ring, obviously a 1- or 2- carat item is not a much of a wow to her any more. So you show her an item that’s even more impressive. A “wow” is something that’s drop-dead gorgeous, that’s affordable to the person you’re selling, but a little bit above what they came in to see. (Important note: I am not giving you permission to pre-judge your customers, but rather to give them the best possible buying experience by presenting an appropriate “wow” item.)

When choosing your “wow” item to show, don’t take your inventory for granted. Yes, you see your jewelry every day, but your customer doesn’t. So have passion about whatever you choose, pick up something gorgeous, and your customer’s going to go “Wow!” And the only reason they’re coming back in next year is because you showed it to them today.

Ultimately, it’s more of a show-and-tell than a show-and-sell. Sure, they might buy it, but in general, you’re just planting a seed for later. It’s a presentation you do with grace and professionalism, with no push or threat. It’s done as an opportunity for them to see something beautiful. The presentation takes three to five minutes at most, unless they want to buy it, in which case you may take 30 minutes or an hour.


When you’ve done your job correctly, every customer you see goes through three presentations. Remember: if you only handle the clerk ticket, you’re selling yourself short. More important, you’re short-changing your customer!

This story is from the April 2008 edition of INSTORE.



This Third-Generation Jeweler Was Ready for Retirement. He Called Wilkerson

Retirement is never easy, especially when it means the end to a business that was founded in 1884. But for Laura and Sam Sipe, it was time to put their own needs first. They decided to close J.C. Sipe Jewelers, one of Indianapolis’ most trusted names in fine jewelry, and call Wilkerson. “Laura and I decided the conditions were right,” says Sam. Wilkerson handled every detail in their going-out-of-business sale, from marketing to manning the sales floor. “The main goal was to sell our existing inventory that’s all paid for and turn that into cash for our retirement,” says Sam. “It’s been very, very productive.” Would they recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers who want to enjoy their golden years? Absolutely! “Call Wilkerson,” says Laura. “They can help you achieve your goals so you’ll be able to move into retirement comfortably.”

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