For Your Staff:Selling Timepieces
Building Supplier Partnerships
Make time to know the faces that sell the dials. Like their watches,
they keep you up-to-date. They also can help you to sell more timepieces
by Paul White Reis-Nichols Jewelers, Indianapolis, IN
Whether you repair or sell watches or select brands for your store, here
are some tips on how to make supplier partnerships work for you.
Get To Know the People You're in Business with
It's a simple idea, but it takes some effort. Your sales representative
is the most important link you have to the watch companies or suppliers
they represent. You rely on this person to keep you apprised of new products,
trends, marketing opportunities and more. It's imperative you have a professional
and friendly relationship with your rep. Sometime during the years you sell
that brand, you'll need a special favor, a fast order or something out of
the ordinary. Anyone can sell you a watch or a spare crystal. But a friend
can help you out of a jam.
Be an Intelligent Customer
We're so used to selling or repairing for a living we forget we're customers
too. Ask for what you need. If you have a complaint or an issue on product
or service, bring it up. But remember that your ability to get action on
your specific needs depends largely on how well you've built your relationships
from the beginning.
Hit the Road
Especially when I attend the New York shows, I make time to see the people
who "make time" for me. A visit to company headquarters' can have
lasting benefits beyond seeing what's new. I've gotten to meet people in
sales, service and other departments that support product. I can't tell
you how valuable it's been to put a face and a handshake with a voice. It
humanizes a business relationship, and that can be an enormous asset when
you need something in a hurry.
Make New Friends When You Can
You never know when they might be in new places. When I have the time, I
see reps who cold-call and who represent lines I may be unfamiliar with.
It's how I find out what's new and who's breaking new ground. Our industry
is dynamic, and people do move around. You never know when someone you've
established a relationship with might turn up in a new location.
To the veteran store manager, watch buyer or repair department chief,
perhaps this sounds elementary. But think about it. You want your customers
to speak about you with only praise. Hopefully, everything you do is designed
to deliver extraordinary service to keep your customers coming back. Don't
you want the people you buy product from to feel that way about you? Learning
to be a good customer is just as important as being a good salesperson or
watchmaker. Be tough. Be demanding. Be competitive, but be nice. As they
say in the movies: "This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
Each month Paul White fills this column with sales tips
for retailers who want to sell more watches. If you have suggestions for
topics, questions for Paul or specific examples from your store, write send
them to Professional Jeweler,1500 Walnut St., Suite 1200, Philadelphia,
PA, 19102, e-mail askus@ professionaljeweler.com.
Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.