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Shane Decker: Return Trip




The sale is closed. So your job’s finished, right? Wrong, says Shane Decker, it’s just beginning.

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Return Trip

What you do for a customer after they leave is more important than what you do when they are standing in front of you. Think about it. When you buy a car, or a new home, you get a phone call (and sometimes even a nice gift) from the salesperson, who just wants to make sure you’re happy with your purchase. It feels great! And yet in jewelry, we make the sale and think our job is over. Far from it.

The fact is, the long-term success of your store is based on customer loyalty. It’s not about getting a big spender to come in every now and then … it’s about getting them (and every other customer) to return again and again. How can you make sure that happens?

The fact is, the long-term success of your store is based on customer loyalty. Start by becoming a great “private investigator.” When you strike up a conversation with a new customer, be sure to ask questions that will allow you to follow up later. None of us like to be handed a sheet that asks for our names, addresses, special dates, etc … so don’t do it! If you can’t remember a customer’s information long enough to write it down later, then carry a classy pad and pen (you don’t sell cheap things, so don’t carry a cheap pen) and write it down immediately.


Let’s say a customer walks in. You shake hands and get his name. Now you ask him, “What is your wife’s name?” You write both names down.

You ask, “Are you looking for something to celebrate a special occasion?”
He answers, “Yes, my anniversary is coming up.”
You ask, “Oh, when is it?”
He answers, “A week from today.” You write down that date. He adds, “Yeah, it’s our 20th anniversary.”

Again, you write it down. And as you do so, you say, “Good for you. Women love diamonds and jewelry on their anniversary!” (This is a great close.)

Now, after you’ve made the sale, you can write all this information under the customer’s last name in your client book, and cross-reference it by date. As time goes by, you should always work three months ahead, so when you see a customer’s anniversary coming up, you can mail a card seven days in advance. If he’s forgotten his anniversary, he’ll thank you. Even if he hasn’t, he’ll see it as an extremely thoughtful gesture. And finally, you’ll be reminding him to buy jewelry. You win all around!

Another reason to file customer purchases by date is that you’ll be able to tell each customer’s buying habits. Every time they purchase, you enter what they bought under the date. Soon, you’ll have a set of “habit customers,” or loyalists, and you’ll know when they buy, what they buy, and how much they usually spend. If you find out they’re collecting a certain type of jewelry, you now have a good reason to call them when you get new shipments in.

[inset side=left]Finally, you will be able to really impress your customers by inviting them in for service.[/inset]Finally, you will be able to really impress your customers by inviting them in for service. For example, you may call one of your female customers and say, “Six months ago, you bought a gorgeous diamond ring. We want you to bring it in so we can check, clean, and polish it for you — free of charge, of course!” She will think you’re great, because you didn’t call to sell her anything, you remembered her purchase, and you had her welfare in mind. She’ll be far more likely to buy from you in the future, and as a bonus, you get her back in the store!


Always remember: Customers don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. When you go the extra mile to remember not only their names, but their special dates as well… when you send cards and make phone calls with the sole purpose of building the relationship… these actions breed enormous loyalty among customers. You’re letting them know you won’t forget about them. And when it comes time to buy again, they won’t forget about you.

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 2005 edition of INSTORE.



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