Watch Those Holidays

December 1998

For Your Staff:Selling Timepiecs

Watch Those Holidays

While traffic is up, don't let your guard down

By Paul White
Watch Division Director
Reis-Nichols Jewelers, Indianapolis, IN

We're well into the holiday season. For many of us, November and December take on a sports parlance: the bottom of the ninth, the fourth quarter, the home stretch. Sometimes, the holidays seem less like consultative selling and more like order-taking. So during the next few week when you're so busy, don't forget a few basic procedures to make your customers well-served.

Check Inventory
First and foremost, have your inventory ready. Whether it's your job or not, be sure your store has the merchandise your customers want. This is typically done in early fall, but it doesn't hurt to recheck now.

Ask the Right Questions
Each prospective buyer should take home just the right watch. This reduces returns after the holidays.

Extras, Extras
Enhance your position as the place to buy. Sure, people shop for the best prices, and watches are no exception. But this is the best time of year to do something special for the customer. It's a great time to offer a complimentary battery test and waterproof test for the first service period.

Service Reminders
Emphasize your watchmaker if you have one. Customers want to know your store is the right place for them to be.

Gifts with Purchase
Check with watch vendors. Many have gifts you can buy, such as hats, pens, golf tees and shirts. You might want to give these to everyone who buys a watch or save them for larger or more difficult sales. We have a tradition of giving boxes of candy, jewelry travel kits, polishing cloths and golf towels with our store name. It's an investment that pays dividends.

Special Displays
Dress up your showcases. Like everything else, watches look more festive with a holiday accent.

Clean and New
Hand rub and clean your watches. Check the age of the batteries! Nothing could be worse that someone opening a holiday gift package only to discover the watch inside isn't running.

Discuss Inventory Often
Meet regularly as a sales staff to discuss what customers are looking at the most. Ask suppliers what's in short supply or back-ordered. And be sure you know where a watch is before telling a customer about it. Also review your vendor's shipping policies. Some can produce a piece in one day; some take longer.

Help the Holiday Helpers
Give special care to new or part-time holiday sales help. Teach them how fast you can get inventory so they don't disappoint a customer.

Remain Cordial
Remember what is most important at this time of year. We all want to make sales and it would be wonderful if they were all big ones. But customers (from the deliberate planners to the "D&G's" – desperate and giftless) can be stressed and rude. Remain cordial, helpful and at the top of your game. If you remain as professional as you've been all year, your longtime and new customers will form a foundation that will serve your business for years to come. Think of them as the roots of your future success. If you maintain this point of view your watch sales will soar. Happy Holidays!

Each month Paul White fills this column with tips for sales associates who want to sell more watches. If you have suggestions for topics, questions or examples from your store, send them toProfessional Jeweler,1500 Walnut St., Suite 1200, Philadelphia, PA 19102, e-mail

Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.


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