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Shane Decker

Shane Decker: Happy Time




Grumpy salespeople put a frown on Shane Decker’s face, and can kill your store’s sales.

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Happy Time

I don’t shop very often. But when I do, I go with my wife, and we want to have fun. That’s why it really burns me up when I meet grumpy salespeople. I’m sick and tired of being waited on by people who are sick and tired.

Does this happen in your store? I hope not. Because no matter what mood they’re in, a salesperson who wants to be successful can do one simple thing to ensure their customers never leave “sick and tired”: smile. That’s right, smile!

It may seem elementary, but your smile is one of the most important sales tools you have. Here are four reasons why:

1.Your smile generates a smile in turn. When a customer walks in and you smile, it’s a reflex action for them to smile back. You’re controlling their body language for a split-second. And when they smile, it makes them want to approach you immediately and get in on the fun.


2.Your smile eliminates objections in your presentation before they start. A smile disarms the customer momentarily, catching them off guard. They’re not used to this! They walk in ready to engage in combat, but your smile disassembles their defenses. Now, they think, “Maybe this is a nice place to be!”

3.Your smile relaxes the customer faster than any other sales technique.

4.Your smile breaks the ice. By smiling, you’ve just paid them a huge compliment, and they’re now willing to be waited on by you. And if they’re willing to be waited on by you, then they’re willing to be closed by you and give you money.

So, obviously, a smile is a powerful thing. When should you use it?

When you ask a question and listen for the answer, show the customer a soft, sincere smile. The customer will know you’re listening, and that you care about their answer. When you handle objections, do the same thing. A smile shows you’re confident, even in the face of their concerns.

But, be careful. Don’t scare customers with a frozen, unnerving grin. Just keep it relaxed and friendly. For example, when you close by saying, “Man, she would love wearing this!” a heartfelt smile says you’re not faking — that you really mean it. Likewise, when you tell your customer the price of the item, don’t look serious. A smile makes the price seem more affordable, whereas a serious look could impart worry or concern.


Of course, you take your job seriously. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look happy to be selling. In fact, if you can get your customer to laugh, it’s estimated that your closing ratio will rise by 50%!

You’ve now left a lasting impression, and when they talk about you, they’ll say “Those people have a great attitude. It’s a happy, fun place to be!” And if the customer is having fun, they’ll stay longer, which increases your chance of adding on. Having a good time also means there’s a better chance they’ll remember you and your store. You’ve now left a lasting impression, and when they talk about you, they’ll say “Those people have a great attitude. It’s a happy, fun place to be!”

But the smile isn’t only for your customer — it’s for you, too. It’s well-known that our expressions can mirror our moods, so too can we dictate our moods by controlling our expressions.

Customers are not dumb … they can all tell when the people at a restaurant or a retail store want us to be there, and when they don’t. And believe me, any customer who gets the “What do you want?” look from one of your employees, even for a second, is leaving soon and won’t be back.

So, as the song says, smile a little smile for me. Customers will respond, and want to be a part of the excitement. Let the fun shine through!

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 May 2006 edition of INSTORE.

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