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This Holiday Season, Bring Back That Old-Fashioned Salesmanship




We sell needs, wants and desires — not necessities. We sell feelings and emotions. We sell love, life and memories. We sell ways to celebrate and remember the biggest events in our clients’ lives. 

I’ve said this many times: the shopping experience is more important than the product purchased. If you really want momentum, clients have to be wowed and treated better than they’ve ever been treated. On the other hand, a negative Yelp or Google review is only one bad experience away.

We need to be world-class friendly. Every client coming in should feel like the most important one coming in all day. Many clients feel pre-judged or that the sales associate isn’t interested in them, so that purchase is lost. When a friend comes to your home, you greet them at the front door. The same rule applies at work. Keep that sweet spot covered and open the door for the client coming in.

Don’t use your old openings like “How can I help you?” Instead, use openers like:

  • “I’m so glad you came in!” 
  • “What an honor!”
  • “We’ve waited a long time for  you to come in.” 
  • “I’m so glad to see you!” 
  • “This is a fun place.” 
  • “Good morning, how about a cup of coffee?” 

When they open your door, you become a servant. This is how you beat your competition.


Within the first five seconds of a client’s arrival, greet her with a smile and eye contact. Be humble and genuinely glad that she came in. After all, who’s responsible for your payroll?

Old-fashioned salesmanship means being polite. When someone leaves your home, you follow them to the door, maybe even to their car. Selling on the way out means walking alongside the client when she’s ready to leave. Sometimes she’ll talk to you or look at a case she missed on the way in. Take the item out, get it in her hand and start another jewelry conversation. This plants seeds for later and creates add-on sales. It may allow her to tell someone else to come in and purchase it for her later. Walking clients to the door may create more sales, but even if it doesn’t, it’s polite. Open the door for clients on the way out and thank them for coming in. Give them two cards and ask them to give one to a friend.

Let’s bring back old-fashioned salesmanship this Christmas!

Shane Decker has provided sales training for more than 3,000 stores worldwide. Contact him at ( 719) 488-4077 or at

This article originally appeared in the October 2017 edition of INSTORE.



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