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Shane Decker

14 Terrible Habits Guaranteed to Kill Your Shot at a Sale

Shane Decker identifies the ultimate sales killers.




HOW MUCH MORE MONEY would you make if every customer who said they’d “be back” actually came back? You’d be rolling in the dough, right? Well guess what … 93 percent of those who say they’ll be back never return. The answer? Don’t make ‘em walk in the first place.

“But Shane,” you say, “I didn’t ask these customers to leave!” That may be true, but many times we tell a customer in other ways that we don’t want their business. I call these ways “sale killers,” because they effectively exterminate any chance you had at closing the sale. Here are a few of the most common:

Lack of eye contact. If you won’t look the customer in the eyes when you say the price, they won’t believe it’s worth it. If you won’t look them in the eyes when you close, they won’t believe you have their best interests at heart.

Store floor vacancy. The customer walks in the door, and there’s no salesperson on the floor. To them, that means they’re not important enough to receive service. There will be other times for filling out orders, or catching up with co-workers … now it’s time to sell.

Huddling. The customer is looking for a piece of jewelry, and there’s your staff grouped together, talking or whispering. The customer may feel left out, ignored, or even that they are being talked about. In the game of selling, the no-huddle offense is always best.

Walkaways. When you leave your customer for any reason, your chance of closing the sale drops by 50 percent. Be prepared — it’s not just a motto, it’s a way of life for any strong salesperson.


Pre-judging. The most common sale killer in the industry. The salesperson thinks the customer isn’t dressed right, or they’re just looking, or they’ve been in before, and so they don’t sell the customer properly.

Not turning over customers properly. If you try to do too much by yourself, you will seem disorganized and frazzled. Your fellow staff members are there to help you, and you them. If you sense the sale is going poorly, you must turn over the sale before it is lost. Many times, this happens simply because the customer is older or is the opposite sex. Turn it over to an associate who better matches that customer, and they can do the same for you later on.

Lack of teamwork. If you try to do too much by yourself, you will seem disorganized and frazzled. Your fellow staff members are there to help you, and you them. When everyone contributes, everyone wins.

Body language. Holding the wall up, looking bored, yawning, leaning against the counter … all of these tell the customer you’re disinterested, and you lose the sale.

Show and tell. The customer isn’t here for a speech, they’re here to buy jewelry, and they won’t unless you engage them. Ask questions, use closes, and reassure them that they’re making the right decision … don’t bore them to tears by talking at them rather than conversing with them.

Shadowing. For some salespeople, having another staff member standing too close can affect their confidence and thus their presentation. Work this out beforehand so that everyone knows which salespeople need more “personal space” during a sale.


Not having what they want. This is not an inventory issue, it’s a lack of creativity. You have hundreds or even thousands of pieces in your store. Ask questions, find out what the customer really wants, and show it to them.

Other customers leaving unhappy. It happens in every store from time to time, so beyond trying to limit these occurrences, the key is to have your smoothest salesperson (usually a serpentine) come in and disarm the customer, putting them at ease and allowing the sale to continue.

Temperature. If your store is too chilly, the customer will want to leave sooner. If it is too hot, they won’t be able to concentrate on the sale. Make sure the temperature is “just right,” Goldilocks.

Music. Nine out of 10 people don’t listen to classical music … what makes you think they’ll like it in your store? Country and rock are too noticeable, and thus split the customer’s focus. Choose something broad-based and upbeat, like easy listening or Top 40, to keep the customer’s energy up and the spotlight on the jewelry.

Don’t let “sale killers” hurt your business any longer. Learn to spot them on sight, train through them in your weekly sales meeting, and the world will be yours for the taking.




When the Kids Have Their Own Careers, Wilkerson Can Help You to Retire

Alex and Gladys Rysman are the third generation to run Romm Jewelers in Brockton, Mass. And after many decades of service to the industry and their community, it was time to close the store and take advantage of some downtime. With three grown children who each had their own careers outside of the industry, they decided to call Wilkerson. Then, the Rysmans did what every jeweler should do: They called other retailers and asked about their own Wilkerson experience. “They all told us what a great experience it was and that’s what made us go with Wilkerson.” says Gladys Rysman. The results? Alex Rysman says he was impressed. “We exceeded whatever I expected to do by a large margin.”

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