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Shane Decker

Shane Decker: Impulse Buy




The secret of becoming a sales superstar lies in turning browsers into buyers, says Shane Decker.

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Impulse Buy

Have you ever bought anything on a lark? Maybe a shirt that fit your personality to a T (no pun intended), or an ice cream sundae that was the perfect treat for a perfect moment. Sometimes, the things we enjoy most in life are things we never planned on. Why, then, are so many salespeople in our industry reluctant when it comes to suggestive selling? Just because your customer didn’t plan on buying something doesn’t mean they don’t want it!

In retail, there are three types of sales: the clerk ticket, the coconut, and the created ticket. A clerk ticket happens when the customer walks into your store and tells you exactly what she wants. She had already purchased the item in her mind before she ever pulled into your parking lot. Very little salesmanship is needed to close this sale — so little, in fact, that even a “clerk” could do it. Jewelry salespeople, take heed: you are not clerks. So, while these tickets are certainly the easiest, depending upon them will never get you to the next level in your professional development, or earnings.

Similarly, the “coconut” is one of those sales that just falls into your lap. You’re standing behind the counter when the customer walks up and says, “How much is that?” followed closely by, “I’ll take it!” Again, while these tickets are great fun, they are impossible to predict.

Just because your customer didn’t plan on buying something doesn’t mean they don’t want it! The created ticket is the sale that, once mastered, will turn you into a selling superstar. Creating a sale means making something out of nothing — in other words, going the extra mile when others would settle for “clerking.” There are two opportunities for creating sales: when you have a customer waiting for a repair, or when you introduce an add-on. In either case, your lead-in line sets the stage — either for a complete flop, or a masterful production.


Never begin with “Would you …”, “May I …,” “Let me …,” or “Could I …” If you ask permission, the answer will certainly be “no.” Likewise, it is critical that you show naked enthusiasm when leading in to a created ticket. Asking “Hey, uh, want to see something before you leave?” or “Er, remind me to show you something later” will inevitably be met with disinterest. Even worse, some salespeople then respond with a lame “Sorry, my boss makes me ask.” Talk about totally killing the customer’s respect for both you and your store!

Instead, use one of the following lead-ins to build anticipation and interest without asking permission:

“Check this out!”
“Wait ‘til you see this!”
“I gotta show you my favorite.”
“Guess what’s in the vault!”

And if it’s an add-on sale, try one of the following:

“Hold on, I want to show you what goes with this!”
“That’s part of a set! And here’s the rest of it…”

As soon as you can, hand the customer the diamond or jewelry in question. Once it’s in their hands, they will have a much harder time letting it go.


Besides the extra money it puts in your pocket, an additional benefit of the created ticket is that impulse purchases are returned far less often than clerk tickets. Why? The impulse purchase is like getting a Christmas gift — it’s totally unexpected. The customer can’t wait to show it off to friends and exclaim “Look what I got!” Meanwhile, the clerk ticket is something they planned on, and the enthusiasm may wear off after a while. Finally, the created ticket eliminates the competition — because the customer isn’t shopping around first!

So many salespeople have a service-counter mentality, and the result is potential sales withering on the vine. They don’t realize that people buy on impulse.When you create the sale, you are in effect creating that impulse, by showing the customer something they simply can’t ignore. Are you giving presentations that are easily ignored? Are you happy to settle for clerk tickets? Or are you creating a memorable experience for every customer, wow-ing them even when they don’t buy? Your success depends upon your answer.


The Clerked Ticket

They ask for it, you give it to them.  
Skill level: NONE

The Coconut


They see it, they love it, and the sale falls into your lap.  
Skill level: LOW

The Created Ticket

You inspire someone to make an “impulse buy”.  

Skill level: HIGH


What to Say and When to Say It

Think warranties and return policies are for the birds? Try this line on your customers:

“I offer the 30-30 guarantee. That’s 30 seconds, or 30 feet out the door.”

WHY? While return policies and guarantees are important customer-service tools, not every retailer wants to or can afford to have them. Using this line offers a funny, if no-nonsense, way of presenting your hard-line policy to the customer.

Source: Corey England, Midwest Gems; Moline, IL

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 June 2005 edition of INSTORE.



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