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Smooth Sellers

Smooth Seller: Dean Learned



Trained as an electrician, this “Smooth Seller” found he was actually more wired for jewelry sales.


[h3]Dean Learned[/h3]

[h5]Romm & Co; Brockton, MA[/h5]


[dropcap cap=A] 104-year-old family business, Romm’s is located in a strip mall 45 minutes south of Boston. The store specializes in diamonds and Rolex watches, plus other top jewelry brands.


Trained as an electrician, Dean Learned took what was to be a short detour when he joined Romm & Co. That detour has now lasted more than 30 years.[/dropcap]


I’ll never forget my first day on the job when some guy came up to me, asked me if I was the new guy, and gave me a vacuum. He said, “You’re the new guy and new guys do the vacuuming”, I’ll never forget that. Back then I didn’t know a ruby from a sapphire. That was 30 years ago. 

My opening lines are tailored to the individual. I usually sit at the front of store where we have large, open windows. From that position I can see customers as they drive up towards the door. It usually takes a few minutes for people to make it to the door so I have time to think of how to approach each customer. If a guy drives up in a nice BMW then I compliment him on his car. Then we’ll talk a bit about the car once he’s in the store. Next thing you know there comes that pause and he asks for what he wants. I try to incorporate something about each person in to an opening line as they approach and then enter the store. If they have a baseball cap on that has “Hawaii” written on it, I’ll ask if they’ve ever been on vacation there. Or, if a woman is wearing a nice piece of jewelry I’ll pay her a compliment. When I tailor an opening line to a customer it’s more real.

I know a sale is going south when a customer has been looking at a piece of jewelry for a while and asks “What are your hours?” I know they are ready to leave. 


My favorite thing about my job is the face of somebody when they receive a gift [of jewelry] they thought they’d never have. It’s amazing. You realize that that the piece of jewelry suddenly becomes the most important thing in the world to them. 

You shouldn’t use a customer’s name so much that saying their name comes off as disingenuous. The danger of not saying a customer’s name enough is forgetting the person’s name. During a 30-minute sales presentation I’ll use a customer’s name maybe two to three times. When working with a diamond engagement customer I always ask the guy for his fiancé’s name. When he leaves without making a purchase I like to close with, “Don’t worry, Kevin, we’ll get that special diamond ring for Nancy.” That makes it more personal.

[blockquote class=orange]The first customer I had was a woman asking for a mezuzah. I had no idea what this was. At that time we had a giftware section so I had to learn more about what we carried. [/blockquote]

As a store we did not call many customers. Now that’s changed somewhat. If we give a diamond presentation we typically ask for a phone number. If I can get an anniversary date, I’ll make it a point to send them a card. Usually after a diamond sale I’ll call the customer to make sure everything is alright and if there’s anything I can do to help them further. There are some customers I regularly call on anniversary dates.

One thing I always do for my customers, even if it’s busy, is take time to clean and check their jewelry. It makes people feel good and it’s a way of acknowledging a customer in a way that shows a genuine interest in them. And, if their jewelry looks good they’ll get compliments and that means referral business.

If I weren’t selling jewelry, I’d probably be selling boats. I’ve been into boating for about 35 years. It’s a real love of mine. At one time I actually looked into selling boats for a living. I interviewed with a large boat company and they gave me the job. By the time I arrived home after a four- to five-hour drive from the interview, I changed my mind and decided to continue selling jewelry.


On my first day on the job, my boss told me to “Get out on the floor and sell something.” The first customer I had was a woman asking for a mezuzah. I had no idea what this was. At that time we had a giftware section so I had to learn more about what we carried. 

I have a special piece of jewelry that I wear — a men’s diamond ring. About 28 years ago I sold my mother a one-carat diamond ring. When she died a few years ago I had the diamond reset in a Jabel men’s ring. I get a lot of compliments on it and the ring has a very special meaning for me. I wear it every day. 

One of my most memorable sales was with a woman from Florida I met 10 years ago. Her daughter is a customer of mine and she introduced me to her mother. The mother is a very direct person, very straight to the point. One day when the mother was in the store I was putting some things together for her, the most expensive of which was a pair of earrings worth $10,000. She looked at them and said “I’ll take them.” The earrings were a bit expensive so I said, “But you didn’t ask how much they were!” She then said, “No, I didn’t ask.” She’s become a regular customer and I make sure I never mention prices. I did have a funny moment with her. During a big Christmas sale she came into the store and was looking at a very expensive ring. When I saw her looking at it I said, “Don’t ask me to let you try it on because this is one time you will want to know the price of the item.” The ring was priced at $150,000.

[span class=note]This story is from the October 2004 edition of INSTORE[/span]



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