February 1998


Part I: Image and Service

Watchmakers shouldn't be invisible. Use them to create goodwill and support stronger overall store sales

by Paul White, Reis-Nichols Jewelers, Indianapolis

We've been hearing for years about the number of automatic wrist watches, chronographs and complicated timepieces that will be on the market in the next few decades. Even a casual look through the trade magazines or a visit to any of the major shows will tell you every watch manufacturer is getting into the act. Put simply, we'll need many more qualified watchmakers to see us through.

If you're in the business of selling fine watches, an in-house watchmaker can help you to sell more watches even if they're on screen no more than Claude Rains in The Invisible Man. Here's how to "sell" your customers on the benefits of your watchmaker.

Watchmakers Enhance Your Credibility
Put yourself in your customers' shoes. Would you buy a car, high-end audio or video equipment, a computer or anything sophisticated without available technical support? A watch should be no different. When first-time watch customers call or come to our store, our staff makes certain to tell them any piece they select is backed by knowledgeable, on-site technical support.

Watchmakers Can Represent Quick, Hassle-Free Service
Most fine watch brands provide opportunities for training and certifying watchmakers in the authorized maintenance of their products. While many stores and many customers return watches di-rectly to manufacturers for service, it's no secret that many authorized services are done at the dealer level. When you tell your prospective watch buyers you can handle most service issues quickly and on-site, you've also just delivered some consumer confidence.

Additional Years of Warranty
Having a watchmaker enables you to offer additional years on warranties offered by the manufacturer. We all deal in such large sums on an everyday basis that it's possible to lose sight of the customer's perspective. To someone buying that very first watch as a gift or for personal use, $1,000 is a lot of money. Extend that warranty. Throw in the first battery change and water test on the house. It's a small investment with a large return - and hard to do without a watchmaker.

Perform Free Battery Changes
As in no charge. As in "You're kidding. Are you nuts?" Possible customer response: "Thanks a lot! Hey, we've got an anniversary coming up and my wife has talked about a diamond bracelet ..."

Does this practice cost us a little time? Yes. Do we lose a little money? Maybe. Is that story about the diamond bracelet hypothetical? No. Neither is the one about the diamond ring. Or the watch. Or the earrings. Would we do this without a watchmaker? No way.

Watchmakers Can Build Traffic for Your Watch and Jewelry Sales Through Ads in Print and on Radio.
There is a definite awareness in our city that we are a place to come for watch service. This spins off into countless opportunities to develop new business in watches and jewelry.

Paul White is director of the watch division at Reis-Nichols. Each month, he will fill 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, please send them to Professional Jeweler, 1500 Walnut St., Suite 1200, Philadelphia, PA 19102; e-mail

Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.


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