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Shane Decker is a featured contributor to Instore, the magazine for the American jewelry store owner. Having provided much sought-after sales training for more than 3,000 stores worldwide, you will gain valuable insights from each article. Run your cursor over the year and month to find a specific article or start at the beginning and read them all.

In his two Rare Earth columns (April & May 2005), Shane urged jewelry salespeople to remember what makes diamonds so incredible, and therefore so valuable.  He reminded them that diamonds are desired for their emotional voltage, and should not be thought of as commodities.  In so doing, he gave store owners a priceless training tool -- which is one reason why these columns continue to be among our most requested.  This is must-read material for anyone who sells diamonds for a living.

Be sure to check back often for new articles with valuable lessons.


  2017

January 2017
24 SALES MEETING TOPICS FOR THE NEW YEAR
Perfect practice every other week with your sales team can lead to new heights for your business.
WHEN IT COMES TO SUCCESS as a retail jeweler, it all starts in the front. Your salespeople are your ambassadors to the world. And yet, many store owners still neglect to…

February 2017
WHO CARES WHAT’S IN YOUR WALLET
When you pre-judge what the client wants based on your own budget, everyone loses.
THE CREDIT CARD COMMERCIAL ASKS, “What’s in your wallet?” But if you’re selling jewelry, the answer doesn’t matter. It’s what’s in the client’s wallet that…

March 2017
BE SWEET TO YOUR CLIENTS
Covering the “sweet spot” isn’t just good business, it’s old-fashioned manners.
MOST PEOPLE DECIDE within the first 30 seconds whether or not they are staying to shop in your store. One of the easiest things to do to make a customer feel comfortable is to…

April 2017
THE KING OF GEMS
When your client truly understands just what makes a diamond special, she won’t leave without one.
IF YOU’RE IN the diamond-selling business, it pays to appreciate what makes diamonds so extraordinarily special. Here are some facts that you would do well to learn and incorporate into your presentations…

May 2017
BUILDING THE PERFECT BEAST
The ideal sales team is one that keeps each other—and the client—at the forefront.
IN 1936, Webster’s Dictionary gave us the perfect definition of teamwork: “Work done by a number of associates, all subordinating personal prominence to the efficiency of the whole.” A successful jewelry store requires unselfish…

  2016

January 2016
SOLVING THE MILLENNIAL MYSTERY
Compliments, company benefits and a relationship-building approach work with these young customers.
A LOT OF PEOPLE IN OUR INDUSTRY have written and spoken about marketing to the new generation of jewelry buyers, but few have said anything about the type of sales approach that works with millennials. Like all clients, millennials appreciate…

February 2016
FIND OUT THEIR BUDGET (WITHOUT ASKING FOR IT)
Coming up with the right questions can make the difference between a defensive client and a lifelong customer
WANT TO KNOW what’s worse than assaulting a client with bad breath or smelly body odor? Asking them what their budget is!…

March 2016
DON’T SHOW AND TELL—SHOW AND SELL
It’s not enough to educate the client. You have to reassure her as well.
When you’re selling jewelry, it’s not enough to list all the things you like about a product. You’ve got to romance the product, reassure the client, and…

April 2016
WHO, WHEN, HOW AND WHY TO TURN OVER THE SALE
70% of clients would benefit from a team-selling approach, if done right.
THE BIGGEST PROBLEM for every sales team is teamwork. People don’t want to share the load, or they don’t know how to do team-sell (or T.O.) effectively. Here are four areas to practice:…

May 2016
WHY YOUR TEAM NEEDS WEEKLY $ALE$ TRAINING
A salesperson can only deliver an awesome experience if he’s taught to do so.
I’M ALWAYS AMAZED that when I ask audiences how many stores do one-hour sales meetings every week, it’s almost always less than 10 percent of those in attendance. In our industry, we have a bad habit of setting up new people for failure because of…

June 2016
WANT TO MAKE MORE MONEY? FOLLOW UP
Texts, notes and calls can boost sales by 18%.
FOR MOST STORES, the weakest area in selling happens after the sale is closed. What do you do for your client after he or she leaves the store?…

July 2016
IF YOU THINK YOU CAN’T, YOU’RE RIGHT
Nothing is more important to your daily success than your attitude.
What’s the most important thing you bring to work every day? Your attitude. It affects you and everyone around you, from owner to manager to sales team. Your attitude is…a choice, and unfortunately, too many people every day choose to have a not-so-good attitude, creating a…

September 2016
HOW TO SELL BRIDAL TO AN OLDER GENERATION
Slow down your pace, create an experience, and romance the event in order to close the experienced client.
LATELY, the topic on everyone’s lips is how to sell to millennials. That’s certainly important, but let’s not forget the 40- to 70-year-olds, who also get married. Furthermore, there are…

October 2016
WHEN YOU WOW, WOW SMART
Showing clients impressive jewelry just above their budget leads to referrals and repeat business.
NEVER PRE-JUDGE, but be smart in your judgment when you “wow” a client.…What gets referrals today is not your product; it’s the experience. It’s about you making…

November 2016
EXPERIENCE, DELIVERED
A friendly demeanor and genuine interest can turn a “just looker” into a “just buyer.”
MOST SALESPEOPLE think that when clients say they’re “just looking,” it’s an objection. It isn’t. What it really means is…

December 2016
22 TIPS FOR HAPPY HOLIDAY SELLING
Taking care of the tiniest details during your busy season can yield big results.
DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON, you need to stay aware of what’s happening on the showroom floor. Who’s waiting on whom? What’s happening with each client? Does a salesperson need an assist? And so on. Remember, the experience delivered is more important than…

  2015

January 2015
ONE GOOD TURN
EXCEED EXPECTATIONS AND THE SALES WILL TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES.
You’ve heard of being a good Samaritan, paying it forward, doing the unexpected, being better than others, changing one’s life, and making memories? In our industry, we have the opportunity to…

February 2015
TECHNICAL FOUL
A PROFESSIONAL KNOWS HIS STUFF. BUT HE ALSO KNOWS EMOTION CLINCHES THE SALE.
Getting too technical with customers can cost you wins. Too often, salespeople assume clients want to hear everything they know about the gemstone or the jewelry they hold in their hands. Sometimes…

March 2015
MEET A HIGHER STANDARD
SET YOUR PEOPLE UP TO SUCCEED WITH THESE FIVE TYPES OF SALES MEETINGS.
When store owners hire new people but don’t train them properly to sell jewelry, I think to myself, “What’s the point?” After all, in order to understand…

April 2015
YOU’RE NOT IN A CAR LOT
IN JEWELRY, YOU DON’T WALK AWAY TO “TALK TO YOUR MANAGER”
Have you ever used the “used car salesman” close? You know the one: The customer asks for a better price, and you say, “I’ll be right back; let me talk to my manager and see what we can do.” If you have, you’re responsible for…

May 2015
FAITHFUL FOLLOW-UP EARNS CUSTOMER DEVOTION
THREE TOOLS TO HELP YOU STAY IN TOUCH WITH YOUR CLIENTS
Being a top salesperson isn’t just about what happens when the client is in the store — it’s also about what happens after she leaves. Professional follow-up keeps clients from…

June 2015
PLAY IT SAFE
PROTECT YOUR STORE’S REPUTATION BY FOLLOWING THESE RULES OF REPAIR
Having an awesome repair and service shop is an immeasurable benefit for your clients. In some cases, it can allow you to outsell competitors who can’t offer these services. However, if you don’t…

July 2015
THE PEN IS MIGHTIER
WHEN IT COMES TO ADD-ONS, COMPUTERS ARE TRUMPED BY GOOD OLD PEN AND PAPER
Computers are awesome for inventory, bookkeeping and all sorts of reports, but when it comes to making more add-on sales, they can get in the way. Think about it: When we close the sale, we automatically turn and walk to the point-of-sale computer. As soon as you do that, you’ve told the client that she is done buying. You may be…

September 2015
SIX BRIDAL-SELLING BLUNDERS
To sell to the young, you need to understand the young
Are your bridal sales less than you’d like them to be? The first thing you have to do is recognize the mistakes you’re making. Only then can you take action to remedy them. As I travel the country visiting stores each week, these are the biggest mistakes I see…

October 2015
THE 3 BIGGEST OBJECTIONS YOU’LL HEAR
Customers speak in code: understand it to close more sales
Every jeweler recognizes these three often-heard objections, but do they know how to handle them? If not, the sale is dead…what are these clients really thinking?…

November 2015
WHY AND HOW TO SET SALES GOALS
Individual and team success depends on clearly established objectives
Some salespeople show up for work each day with no expectations; others arrive with a goal in mind and a plan for reaching it. Which salesperson do you think is more productive and successful?…

  2014

January 2014
CREATING FROM SCRATCH
START PUTTING SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL IN THEIR HANDS TO GENERATE UNEXPECTED SALES.
You don’t have 200 clients coming in today to throw money at you, which means it’s time to get back into good selling habits. During the holidays, it’s easy to fall into bad habits…

February 2014
EXPAND YOUR VOCABULARY
CRAFT A SALES PITCH WORTHY OF A DIAMOND.
If you’ve been selling for a while, one of the biggest problems you may face is that your diamond presentations can become monotone, robotic, simple, old, boring, habitual, repeated, and non-enthusiastic. We have to kick the kindergarten vocabulary out…

March 2014
KEEP THAT SALE GOING
HOW AN OLD-FASHIONED SALES SLIP CAN HELP YOU ADD ON.
Remember sales slips?…Nowadays, as soon as a salesperson sells an item, she spins and walks toward the point-of-sale system. This tells the client that the presentation is over. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Clients quit buying when you quit selling. On the other hand, a physical sales slip allows you to keep the sale going and make add-on sales…

April 2014
LEAVE NO DOUBT
WHAT PEOPLE WHO SAY “I WANT TO THINK ABOUT IT” ARE REALLY THINKING.
“I want to think about it.” They’re those six little words we’ve all heard and dread hearing again; they mean death to a sale. But don’t give up: All is not lost! There are all sorts of possibilities for…

May 2014
THE REJECTION OBJECTION
NEVER ALLOW NO TO BE NO.
I hear this all the time. Salespeople and managers say the reason they didn’t close is because sometimes they don’t like the feeling of being rejected. First of all, that’s not where rejection happens…

June 2014
THE WOW FACTOR
IMPRESSING THE CLIENT STARTS WITH YOU.
Jewelers are loading their stores with killer inventory and spending thousands of dollars on advertising to bring people in. Yet, the national closing ratio is 23 to 27 percent in independently owned stores. A client may “ooh” and “aah” over your buildout and the size of your inventory, but unless the sales associate makes the effort to wow her, chances are…

July 2014
VALUE ADDED
IT ISN’T “CHEAPER DOWN THE STREET” IF YOU’RE DOING YOUR JOB RIGHT.
One of the top objections that jewelry salespeople hear from customers is “It’s cheaper down the street.” Does this mean that the product down the street is of a higher quality and is really cheaper?…

September 2014
DRESS REHEARSAL
MAKE ROLE-PLAYING FUN, EFFECTIVE AND FREE OF CRITICISM.
If you ever want to make a room full of sales associates cringe, just say the words, “It’s time to role-play.” As important as this activity is, no one wants to do it because it’s intimidating and often embarrassing. But the truth is, role-playing is…

October 2014
TAG, YOU ARE IT
BELIEVE IN — AND RESPECT — THE PRICE ON YOUR TAGS.
The price tag should exude integrity. I have accounts where the price on the tag is the price it is sold for, and no one can discount it. If they do…

November 2014
15 TIPS TO MAKE CHRISTMAS SELLING FUN AND PROFITABLE
HOLIDAY SEASON JOY COMES FROM BEING READY TO SELL.
REMEMBER: The definition of salesmanship is your professional ability to create the desire to get your client to want the product. Ask questions , build the relationship, and earn trust. You have clients who come in only at Christmas time. Be their jeweler. Close the sale…

  2013

January 2013
DIAMONDS ARE AN INVESTMENT IN LOVE
IT’S NOT ABOUT MONEY, IT’S ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP
It’s been debated for years: Are diamonds a good investment? Sure, diamonds aren’t on the commodities exchange next to pork bellies and sawdust, but according to some scales, diamonds have doubled in value every 10 years since 1940…

February 2013
THE SECRET TO WINNING OVER MR. GRUMPY? HOT COFFEE
UNEXPECTED KINDNESS IS THE BEST RESPONSE TO “JUST LOOKING!”
You’ve had the client who enters your store in a very bad mood. Maybe he had a bad day; maybe he just had a hangnail. Maybe he shopped somewhere else and was mistreated or pre-judged. This person says he’s “just looking” in a nasty tone of voice…

March 2013
SERVICE: A COMPANY’S HEARTBEAT
HOW YOU HANDLE A SIMPLE REPAIR SAYS A LOT ABOUT YOUR STORE
When a client comes in for a repair, she is giving you something that is valuable and has great meaning to her. So how do you think she feels when one of these things happen:…

April 2013
HOW TO SELL PROFILE-CORRECT
LEARN TO SAY WHAT COMES NATURALLY TO YOU
Do you feel uncomfortable when it comes time to close the sale? Have you ever sensed that you connected with a customer but then lost the connection when you tried to close?…

May 2013
IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU
A SALESPERSON IS A STORE’S NO. 1 ASSET
In any sales presentation, there are always three things sold: The salesperson, the store and the product. As important as the store and the product are, your success as a salesperson starts and ends with you…

June 2013
SILENCE IS GOLDEN
PRACTICE LISTENING MORE AND TALKING LESS.
One of the biggest complaints I hear about salespeople is that they really don’t care about the customer; they just want to sell something. That’s the worst possible attitude to have, especially if you work in the jewelry industry. Jewelry is all about feelings and emotions, and in order to be awesome…

July 2013
HELP NEEDED
BEING SHORT-STAFFED LIMITS YOUR ABILITY TO WOW CLIENTS.
Every jewelry store in the country endured the recession, and many were forced to downsize. Some downsized a lot and now sales are up, showrooms are busier, but a lot of stores have not replaced staff quickly enough…

October 2013
CLOSE NATURALLY
KNOW WHICH OF THE 7 TYPES OF CLOSING LINES WORKS FOR YOU
I am often asked, “How can I know whether my selling profile is serpentine, missile, or sneak?” While all salespeople will use more than one of the seven types of closes, the type that’s most natural will help define your selling profile…

November 2013
INTEGRITY SALESMANSHIP
IF THE CLIENT DOESN’T TRUST YOU, YOU’LL NEVER GET PAST THE GREETING
As consumers, we’ve all had bad experiences with salespeople who would stop at nothing to sell their product. A salesperson can kill a brand, a dealership or a store by hiding the truth, “shading” the truth, and outright lying…

  2012

January 2012
Play Your Cards Right
Set a target to hand out 500 business cards this year.
TECHNOLOGY HAS CHANGED how the world communicates. One of my retail friends on the East Coast asked his repair clients how they wanted to be contacted when their repair was finished: phone, e-mail or text. More than 50 percent said…

February 2012
Give an Awesome Experience
Exceed every customer’s expectations.
CLIENTS TODAY HAVE greater expectations than ever before. And while we build beautiful stores, install millions of dollars in inventory and spend a small fortune on our advertising, none of this alone will exceed expectations. What will wow clients is…

March 2012
Up Your Closings by 50%
Look out for sales killers on the floor.
Next time you’re frustrated about losing a sale, think about how much more frustrating it must be for the client who left. He came into your store hoping you would be the one who could meet his needs, and you failed to…

April 2012
More Sale Killers on the Floor
THINGS NOT TO DO.
YOUR No. 1 priority should always be the sales floor. Whether you’re an owner or a salesperson, nothing else matters — not advertising, inventory, store environment, nor anything else if you’re not effectively working with clients…

May 2012
Use Value to Sell
WHEN IT COMES TO PRICE, PERCEPTION IS EVERYTHING.
Want to kill a sale? One of the best ways to do it is to ask a client, “How much do you want to spend?” or “What’s your budget?” These questions put the client in a box…

June 2012
Write $1 Million a Year
HERE ARE 6 TOOLS TO HELP YOU DO IT.
A year ago, INDESIGN ran a story called “Million Dollar Babies” that chronicled million dollar- plus single-item sales closed by some of the best salespeople in the industry…. Here are the six tools you need in order to do it…

September 2012
It Ain’t Over ’til It’s Over
YOU’VE DONE EVERYTHING PERFECTLY ... AND THE CLIENT STILL SAYS NO.
For many salespeople, that’s the end — they let the client leave. They often tell me, “I don’t want to be pushy.” You’re right. You shouldn’t be pushy. But it’s not about that — it’s about…

October 2012
Your Timing Is Everything
KNOW THE TIME TO TALK AND THE TIME TO STOP.
There's an adage in sales that he who speaks first after the close loses. Not true. Rather, it’s all about timing and reading your customer…

November 2012
Make More Holiday Sales
GET INTO THE CHRISTMAS SELLING SPIRIT WITH THESE FOUR TIPS.
Who loves Christmas time? If you said, “I do!” you’re not alone. Everyone is in a good mood during the holidays, and no one is “just looking.” Did you know that closing ratios in the jewelry industry rise anywhere from 50 percent to 80 percent? Everyone is buying something. To make Christmas selling more profitable, fun and successful, here are a few tips:…

December 2012
A Happy Ending for Everyone
DON'T ASK, TELL, WHEN CLOSING.
Somewhere along the way, salespeople became confused about the close at the end of a sales presentation. They thought it would be a good idea to ask the client to buy. Never ask — tell. You don’t want the client to be able to say no…

  2011

January 2011
Don’t Let the Nibbler Eat Away Your Profits
Part 1 of 3 columns on better negotiating.
NEGOTIATION IS ONE of the most difficult aspects of selling. To do it well, it takes a lot of practice and role-playing. Clients use all kinds of tactics to…

February 2011
Keep ‘The Bogey’ out of Your Game
Part 2 of 3 columns on better negotiating.
On a golf course, you earn a bogey when you’re one stroke over par—in other words, you’re one stroke off the pace. One worse than average. In jewelry sales, the customer I call “The Bogey” isn’t just a little below…

March 2011
Prep for Krunch Time
You’re ready for your final close, and he starts negotiating. Part 3 of 3 columns on better negotiating.
Over the last two issues, I’ve shared two types of negotiation tactics that customers use—The Nibbler and The Bogey—and how to deal with them. The final tactic is called The Krunch, and it’s usually used by…

April 2011
Add Value...to Yourself
The keys to a better life and better results are a positive attitude and a dedication to self-improvement.
What makes a great salesperson...or a great manager, support person, jeweler, or owner? Two things: a positive outlook and…

May 2011
Pitching Rotation
Who’s on first? The more important question is who’s on the sweet spot?
EVERY PERSON WHO walks through your door should feel like it was an honor for you to get to wait on them. How many places have you gone…

June 2011
The Short List
Organize tasks to avoid procrastination and improve concentration.
ORGANIZED CRIME IS a bad thing, sure. But for retailers, being unorganized is the real crime — for your business, your employees, your customers, and for your own personal growth. Here’s why…

July 2011
Protect Your Margins
Caving in on markup undermines your integrity and profit.
LET'S FACE IT: The last three years have been tough. More jewelers have contacted me during that time to ask about net and gross profits and markups on their merchandise than ever before. I decided it was time to address this…

September 2011
Reverse Psychology Salesmanship
Cut to the chase with this surprising tactic.
MOST OF THE time, when a customer says “Just looking,” it’s an involuntary spoken reaction, a habit. So I like to play a fun game called “reverse psychology salesmanship.” It works like…

October 2011
Avoid Your Best Guess
GUIDE your customer to her own purchasing decisions.
I HATE FAILURE. I bet you do, too. When you have to guess which of two items your customer will like better, you’ve got a 50 percent chance of guessing wrong…

November 2011
Turnover Time
Know when to let someone else close a sale.
I WISH I could tell you that I’d met a sales associate or owner who could wait on and close every customer he approached. Unfortunately, it just can’t be done. There are too many…

December 2011
Listen Up
Two ears are better than one mouth as sales tools.
EVER WONDER WHY you have two ears and only one mouth? (A hint: They’re not just for wiggling.) One of the biggest, most serious sale killers in any industry is not listening to the customer. Too many salespeople…

  2010

January 2010
The Power of the Loupe
Give your customers a loupe, and they may just give you the sale.
LET'S SAY YOU gave a stellar diamond presentation to a soon-to-be-engaged couple. You have the ring they want, the diamond they want, and the price is right, but they say they want to shop around for other diamonds. In other words, they're getting ready to walk. Tell them.…

February 2010
Go Ahead, Interrupt Me
Here's a sales technique that could sell you hundreds more diamonds.
THIS MONTH, I'M going to explain a technique I've used to sell hundreds of diamonds to customers who didn't come in looking for one. It's called the Interruption Technique.…

March 2010
Commissions That Work
Here are 9 rules to ensure your commissions inspire sales, not discontent.
EVER SEEN AN adult act like a child? If not, try installing commission-based compensation without guidelines. You’ll have your staff crying “It’s not fair!” in no time. Research tells us…

April 2010
Listen with Your Eyes, Close with Finesse
Simple observation of a customer will help you smooth the close.
MOST CLIENTS WILL make you work for the sale--we both know that. But when a client is ready to buy, he will give you clues. Some of these clues are verbal, but most aren’t. What you’ve got to do is…

May 2010
When Closing, Get Clued In
Listen with your eyes and close with finesse. Here are more tips to let you do that.
THERE ARE NO sure things when it comes to body language, but knowing these clues and acting within the 30-second window they often provide, can dramatically improve your close rate. (Part 1 of this series ran last month.)…

June 2010
How To Not Blow the Easiest Sale of All
One of the simplest sales in jewelry is the ‘clerk ticket.’ Don’t mess it up!
IF MOST CUSTOMERS who walk through a jeweler’s doors are planning to buy that day (which they are), why do most retailers only close 30-40 percent of potential sales? In many cases, they are not…

September 2010
Shop Your Competition with a Checklist
If you want to grade your competition…
…GO SHOP THEM (or have someone else do it). When you leave their store, go back to your car, pull out this checklist, fill it out and see…

October 2010
How To Hire Right
Want to create a sales superstar? Start with the correct raw material.
SALES TRAINING IS absolutely critical for any salesperson, but for the best results, you’ve got to start with someone who fits…

November 2010
Same-Side Selling
Quickly build rapport by crossing the great divide.
ARE YOU A cashier, or a salesperson? If you answered “salesperson,” then get out from behind the showcase! Jewelry retailing isn’t like…

  2009

January 2009
Always Be Selling Yourself
You are a sales army of one. Never forget that.
WHEN ANY CUSTOMER comes into your store, you must sell three things: your product, your company and yourself. The hardest of these to sell is yourself, but it’s absolutely necessary to cultivate repeat business and referrals.…

February 2009
Spread Your Praise out Loud
Make yourself the all-time favorite manager of your employees.
WHOEVER CAME UP with the concept of jumbo shrimp? Or white chocolate? Sometimes, things just weren’t meant to go together. And the worst of these is constructive criticism.…

March 2009
Cultivate an Environment for Impulse Buys
Assume that every customer is a millionaire and that she can afford to buy whatever she wants.
THE ECONOMY IS going to do whatever it’s going to do. All you can control is the shopping experience you offer your customers. Salespeople everywhere are becoming jaded and demotivated by the news, and that’s resulting in lost sales.…

April 2009
Ramp Those Closing Ratios
Imagine if your salespeople could close three of every four sales.
CLOSING RATIO IS everything. How much money you make, how you pay your salespeople, the experience your customers receive and their loyalty to your store - all of these depend on your closing ratio. Want to know the crazy part?…

May 2009
Build the Perfect Team
Identify your staff's strengths and make sure everyone is reading from the same playbook.
THE GREATEST SPORTS teams are comprised of players who play their position with strength, and understand they are part of team.…

Jun 2009
Don't Ask about Price
Give the customer-and yourself-the freedom that comes with an undefined budget.
LOVE IS RECESSION-PROOF. And even in today's economy, buying decisions are not always about price.…

September 2009
Add on to Your Sales
Bring back the age-old paper receipt, and start making more add-on sales.
COMPUTERS - I LOVE 'em and I hate 'em. Unfortunately, computers can also be sale-killers. Let me explain.…

October 2009
Think Fast, Then React
Analyze your presentation while the customer is still in front of you and your closing ratio will go up.
YOU'VE REACHED THE end of your presentation. You think you've done everything right. But the customer must not agree, because you're not able to close the sale.…

November 2009
Feed Them By Hand
If everyone knows the right-hand rule, your closing ratio stands to increase 50 percent or more.
THE SITUATION: YOU'VE got a customer looking at two different items. He's undecided. "I love them both. I can only buy one of these, but I can't make up my mind," he says. What do you do?…

December 2009
Don't Sound Like a Car Dealer
Stop Negotiating. But if you have to, abide by these six rules.
YOU'RE NOT SELLING used cars, so don't sound like it. The words "we'll give you a discount" or "we'll make you a good deal" should never cross the lips of a jewelry professional.…

  2008

January 2008
Repair Rewards
Shane Decker offers ways to wow customers with super repair service.
IF IT’S MORE important to you to make a customer than a sale, you may be missing out on golden opportunities every day — your repair customers.…

February 2008
Walk Hard
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.…

March 2008
Get Schooled
Create your own store university for employees, says Shane Decker.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN ONCE said, “Genius without education is like silver in the mine.” He could just as easily have been referring to dollars in customers’ pocketbooks that never make it into the cash register of your store.…

April 2008
Halfway Selling
Your job’s not done after a customer agrees to buy, says Shane Decker.
ANY COACH WILL tell you that you can’t run your fastest for only half the race and expect to win. Only the athletes who run all the way through the finish line reach the pinnacle of success. The same holds true for jewelry sales.…

May 2008
Go for it: Take the Initiative
Acting defensively will only hurt your chances of survival. Now is the time to start playing offense in your business mind-set.
I’VE READ THE reports. I know our nation’s economy is taking a beating. I know that competition from the Internet and chain stores means independent jewelry stores have to work harder for every dollar.…

June 2008
Make Your Lab a Sales Ally
Know when and how to use grading reports in your sales presentations. They can be a great partner, with the right kind of customer.
WHEN A CONSUMER calls an online diamond seller, chances are the person he’s talking to has never worked in a jewelry store. Chances are that phone operator has never taken a GIA course or even seen the diamonds he’s talking about.…

July 2008
Overrule Those Pesky Price Objections
When you show confidence in the price and knowledge about the product the customer will be more confident he’s getting what he’s paying for.
NOT ALL PRICE objections are created equal....Pay attention to the inflection. Then decide on the best way to handle the objection.…

August 2008
Cast Four Types Now
One person can’t do it all. Strive to achieve managerial harmony in your store by ensuring you have four distinct personalities on your staff.
WHEN IT COMES to your store, there are four roles that must be played, and you need to have the right personalities assigned.…

September 2008
Stick to Your Prices with Grace
Hold firm on those prices and still close more sales by offering customers options. You’ll earn respect and trust from your clientele.
“ALL MY CUSTOMERS care about is price.” Sound familiar? In all my years of working with jewelers, I don’t think I’ve heard a more commonly used excuse for low sales or low profitability, or both.…

October 2008
Don’t Give up on Second-Chance Sales
Reconnecting with your prospect helps make the initial sale, and it could create a customer for life.
MANY BASKETBALL GAMES are won or lost on second-chance points. A player shoots and misses, but instead of giving up, he follows his own shot and puts the ball back into the hoop.…

November 2008
Find the Truth Behind the “No”
“No” is often the first answer on the way to “yes.”
WHAT WOULD HAPPEN if police detectives gave up on a case just because their first lead didn’t pan out? We’d have a lot more criminals roaming our streets. The great detectives know that the solution is out there, and it just takes asking the right questions to uncover it.…

December 2008
NO DECEMBER ARTICLE

  2007

January 2007
Find the Why
It’s great to romance the product, but, Shane Decker says, it’s more important to have an interest in their special event.
IN TODAY’S reality-TV world, jewelry is the feel-good sitcom of retail. Unlike insurance and auto sales, which depend more on cold, hard facts, jewelry sales are based on feelings and emotion.…

February 2007
Better Deal
Shane Decker helps you fight the discounter down the street with reasoning about prices your customers are sure to understand.
“I CAN GET IT for 40 percent off down the street.” Next time you hear this, I want you to do something for me — instead of being defensive, remember that you’re an independent jeweler.…

March 2007
Set the Stage
It’s up to owners and managers to get their sales teams to role-play and practice their sales skills, says Shane Decker.
MARCH MADNESS ‹ THAT’S what they call the playoffs in men’s college basketball. But as crazy as the games can be, the players and coaches involved aren’t nutty. They know that in order to achieve their goals, they have to practice against each other.…

April 2007
Buck Stops Here
Shane Decker sorts out the chain of personal accountability.
ACCOUNTABILITY: IT’S COME to be a dirty word that no one wants to hear. People don’t like to think about having to answer to anyone ‹ or having to hold anyone to his promises. But maintaining accountability could turn your store’s business around.…

May 2007
Manage to Win
Strong leadership means making sacrifices, warns Shane Decker.
KNOW ANYONE who is a better salesperson than you? If you’re a sales manager, your answer should be: “Yes, and they’re working for me.”…

June 2007
On Your Time
Shane Decker shows you how to spend your own time wisely.
HOW OFTEN DO you go to your store with a list of things to get done, but at the end of the day, even though you were busy all day long, none of the things on your list were accomplished?…

July 2007
Sell Sweet
You have 30 seconds to make the right impression, says Shane Decker.
HAS ANYTHING LIKE this ever happened to you? You walk into a store and you’re greeted by someone in the back doing busy work. He doesn’t get up.…

August 2007
Low-cost Cool
Make yours a cool store with a few good ideas, says Shane Decker.
WITH ENOUGH MONEY, anyone can build a cool-looking store. But it takes ingenuity, innovation and good old-fashioned elbow grease to provide the type of services that will keep customers coming back again and again.…

September 2007
Rare Earth
Shane Decker tells you why diamonds are way under-priced. (Part 1 of 2 — back by popular demand from April 2005)
NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE, where your store is, or how closely you guard your margins, you should be making more money on diamonds. Why?…

October 2007
True Value
Shane Decker explains why diamonds are cheap. (Part 2 of 2 — back by popular demand from May 2005)
YOUR CUSTOMERS NEED to comprehend one unassailable fact: Diamonds are a bargain at today’s prices.…

November 2007
20 Questions
Answer “yes” to every one of these after each sale, says Shane Decker.
DURING THE HOLIDAY season, we tend to “clerk” sales and skip over those little things in our presentation that mean the difference between making a single sale (or worse, walking the customer) and making a customer for life.…

December 2007
NO DECEMBER ARTICLE

  2006

January 2006
Confidence, Man
Hey, all you salespeople who act like you don’t have the right to ask for the sale! Shane Decker has something to tell you.
WOULD YOU SHOP in a store that sells a product you have absolutely no interest in?…

February 2006
Know Return
Customers are getting real smart, real fast. To increase your sales, you’ve got to do the same, says Shane Decker.
DURING MY TRAVELS around the country, I find someone in every store challenging the sales team.…

March 2006
Measure Up
Are your salespeople making you money? Shane Decker tells you the different metrics that will make the answer clear.
STUDENTS MEASURE themselves by their grades. Throughout our lives, we’re taught to evaluate ourselves continuously in an effort to improve. Why, then, don’t more jewelers track their selling performance?…

April 2006
The Big Lie
Customers will always tell you they’re just looking. Don’t fall for it, says Shane Decker.
YOU PROBABLY HEAR IT every day - “I’m just looking.” The worst part is, many salespeople actually believe it when customers say it to them.…

May 2006
Happy Time
Grumpy salespeople put a frown on Shane Decker’s face, and can kill your store’s sales.
I DON’T SHOP very often. But when I do, I go with my wife, and we want to have fun. That’s why it really burns me up when I meet grumpy salespeople.…

June 2006
Traffic Jam
Sales are stable, but you’d like to see more customers coming in? Shane Decker can help.
LATELY IT SEEMS that everywhere I go, I hear the same thing from jewelry-store owners: “Traffic is down!” That may be true, but jewelry sales continue to rise. Why?…

July 2006
Escape the Net
Consider e-tailers worthy adversaries, with a weakness, says Shane Decker.
IS THERE A JEWELRY salesperson in the country who doesn’t cringe when they hear the words, “I’ve been looking on the Internet...”?…

August 2006
Genuine Cool
The best store design in the world won’t offset lame staff. Shane Decker lists the four things your sales associates must get right.
ROME WASN’T BUILT in a day. And neither are cool stores.…

September 2006
Yule Rules
Everyone makes money during the holidays. But by making the right preparations, you’ll earn so much more.
MY ADVICE for the upcoming holiday selling season can be summed up in two words: managers prepare.…

October 2006
Technical Foul
Smart salespeople know when to shut up, says Shane Decker.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. But as Spider-man says,“With great power comes great responsibility.” And that’s never more true than when you’re on a jewelry sales floor.…

November 2006
Holiday Best
With the holidays nearly here, Shane Decker provides you with the keys to a king-sized selling season.
DURING THE HOLIDAYS, opportunities abound. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t take advantage of each and every one. How can you stay on your toes and at the top of your game?…

  2005

January 2005
Return Trip
The sale is closed. So your job’s finished, right? Wrong, says Shane Decker, it’s just beginning.
WHAT YOU DO for a customer after they leave is more important than what you do when they are standing in front of you.…

February 2005
All Alone
No man is an island on the sales floor, says Shane Decker. You need teamwork to seal the deal.
REMEMBER GILLIGAN, stranded on a deserted island after that “three-hour tour” went awry?…

March 2005
Be Unlike Mike
If you really want to be a superstar sales manager, stop trying to do everything. Shane Decker shows you how to share the load.
HAVE YOU EVER tried to be the “Michael Jordan” of your business?…

April 2005
Rare Earth
Shane Decker shows you how to prove diamonds are underpriced, in the first of a two-part series.
NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE, where your store is, or how closely you guard your margins, you should be making more money on diamonds. Why?…

May 2005
Rare Earth II
Shane Decker offers more ammunition to prove diamonds are underpriced, in the last of a series.
DIAMONDS ARE A BARGAIN at today’s prices. It’s a fact that you need to communicate to your customers.…

June 2005
Impulse Buy
The secret of becoming a sales superstar lies in turning browsers into buyers, says Shane Decker.
HAVE YOU EVER bought anything on a lark?…

July 2005
To The Moon
That guy in the t-shirt and ratty jeans might just be your next big sale, says Shane Decker. So don’t blow it!
I DON’T LIKE to dress up on the weekends.…

August 2005
This Is Cool
Expensive carpet and luxurious display cases do not make a cool store, says Shane Decker. Amazing people do.
IN MY CAREER, I’ve been fortunate enough to have visited over 3,000 jewelry stores, and I’ve seen lots of cool ones.…

September 2005
Men’s Way
It’s easy to find out what your male customers want, as long as you ask the right questions, says Shane Decker.
YOUR AVERAGE MALE customer wants to be in your store for 20 minutes.…

October 2005
Pay Right
How should you compensate your sales staff? Shane Decker tells you how in the first of a two-part series.
WHEN YOU GO to buy a pair of tennis shoes, you have to figure out what you want.…

November 2005
Power Plan
Straight commission plans are risky, but lucrative. Shane Decker explains how to make yours work.
GOING WITH a straight commission compensation plan can be like being a power hitter in baseball: either you hit a home run, or you strike out.…

December 2005
Sloppy Joe
It’s easy to fall into bad habits in the midst of the Christmas chaos. Resist, says Shane Decker.
THE ONLY THING BUSIER than a one-legged cat in a litter box is a jewelry salesperson during the holiday selling season.…

  2004

February 2004
Cowardly Lions
If your salespeople aren’t showing your best stuff to every customer, they’re letting you down, says Shane Decker.
Do you buy name brand shoes? Clothing? How about generic groceries…

March 2004
Higher Power
Don’t be shy ... bring out your best. Shane Decker offers four reasons you should show everyone a high-ticket item.
Have you ever pulled a member of your sales team aside to ask her why she didn’t try to sell a more expensive piece?…

May 2004
Back Hand
Shane Decker tells you how to make sure the ‘I’ll be back’ customer actually does.
WHEN ARNOLD SAID IT, we all knew he meant it. Unfortunately, most jewelers aren’t so lucky when they hear those three fateful words: “I’ll be back.”…

June 2004
Answer Man
This month, Shane Decker tackles questions from Instore’s retail readers. Fire away.
I HAVE AN EMPLOYEE who’s getting her gemologist degree from GIA.…

August 2004
Push Time
Shane Decker tells you how to close without being pushy, and answers other burning questions from Instore readers.
(This column is the last in a three-part series in which Mr. Decker received question from questions from Instore readers.)…

September 2004
Poor Excuse
It’s hard to sell high-end when you’re scared, says Shane Decker.
HOW DO you train salespeople to sell items over $10,000? Salespeople have to get over the “poverty-level mentality” and not assume the customer can’t afford your more expensive jewelry.…

October 2004
Missed Again
The holidays mean more lost opportunities than any other season, says Shane Decker.
YOU LOSE more sales during the holidays than any other time of the year. Yes, you read that correctly!…

November 2004
Like a Rock
When that inevitable stare-down over prices occurs, don’t blink, says Shane Decker.
“ALL MY CUSTOMERS care about is price.” Sound familiar?…