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Shane Decker

Here’s When the Real Jewelry-Buying Cycle Begins




Don’t let that 40-something leave, warns Shane Decker.

One of the biggest myths in jewelry retailing is that we win customers for life when they purchase their engagement rings. Sure, they may buy a wedding set and some pearl earrings.

But the problem is, they’re young, just starting out in life, and they have no discretionary income!

The real jewelry buying cycle begins when a customer is 45 years old or so. The house is paid for, the kids have moved out, the wife is bored and back at work, and the couple has extra money for the first time. These customers will become habit customers, coming into a jewelry store twice a year — once for a small pop, and once for a big pop.

This buying cycle will last about 20 years! With that in mind, consider this: If you walk that couple, you are walking about $500,000 in business.

Let me explain: A gentleman walks in, he’s about 50 years old, and he’s got $10,000 in his pocket. It’s his 25th or 30th wedding anniversary and he wants to buy something really nice for his wife. For whatever reason, we don’t greet him like we should, our presentation is not that great, and he walks. That’s $10,000 we’ve lost for now, but worse, we’ve lost him forever.

Why? We’re creatures of habit. We like to go to the same doctor, the same grocery store, heck, we even drive the same routes on our way to familiar places. When this customer’s in the market for more jewelry, he’s going to go back to the place where he was closed.


Anyway, back to our story. So the man gives his wife a $10,000 diamond bracelet from your competitor, and she loves it. She sees a friend at the golf course who asks her, “Where did you get that bracelet?”

“Oh, my husband bought it for me from H & H Jewelers. Isn’t it spectacular?”

The next year, he buys his wife a pair of 2-carat diamond studs, and the friend thinks, “Wow, he really likes that store!” So she tells her husband, and he says, “You know, I’ve been thinking about trying them out.”

So the first couple tells 10 people, and then those people each tell 10 people, and now you’ve got 100 people walking around spreading the good news about your competitor. Over the next 20 years, you’ve just lost $500,000 (give or take)!

All because you were “a little off” in your original presentation.

Remember, the customer at the beginning of their buying cycle may not look like anything special. In fact, if they’re anything like me, they’ll walk in wearing sandals, old socks, and a sweatshirt. It’s their day off, and they want to be comfortable.


Despite their appearance, they’re spending a good amount of money, and they want more attention. They’re savvy customers. They want to know you really appreciate that they came in.

What closes the habit customer more than anything else is building the relationship. You have to get to know their spouse and family. How many kids do they have, what’s their job, what are their interests? What are their past jewelry purchases? What are their likes and dislikes?

Remembering this information will make them feel that they know you personally, and you know them. The more you know, the more they’ll brag about you to their friends. And accordingly, the more business they will refer your way.

After the customer makes his purchase from you, always tell them, “Your business is really important to us; we’re glad you came in.” If they shrug you off, reiterate it. They’ll be impressed when they realize that you really mean it.

The cost of the walk is high. So treat every customer like they’re worth a million bucks … because they just might be.

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 February 2008 edition of INSTORE.

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