Professional Jeweler Archives

June 1998

For Your Staff:Selling Timepieces

Size Up the Customer, Size the Watch

A few key questions and your product knowledge combine to seal the sale

By Paul White
WATCH DIVISION Director, Reis-Nichols Jewelers Indianapolis, IN

When customers ask to buy a watch, they often need direction. From the simplest questions, you can provide direction that leads to a sale.

You may want to warm up customers first with simple, polite questions that suggest you want to meet a need. Is the watch a gift or self-purchase? If a gift, is the recipient a man or woman? Young or retiree? Now that the customer is warmed up and you have basic information, move forward.

Determine Knowledge
Ask which brands the customer is familiar with. If you carry one of these brands, that's a good starting place. If not, use your judgment on suggesting comparable brands.

Even if the customer has a brand in mind, there's likely a range of styles and prices to consider. If customers say they want gold but shy away from a solid gold model, maybe they mean goldplated (many customers will fall into your biggest selection range - steel and steel-with-gold models). Once you've uncovered the best area for exploration, use your considerable selling skills to upgrade.

Explain Differences
When questions arise about price, you have a challenge. It's critically important that customers feel you support all brands you carry. However, they want an honest answer. They're not looking for someone who says "Oh, I like them all!"

Your ultimate success in answering a tough question is very much a matter of how well you know your product. The number of similar looking and similarly priced styles can make even the seasoned professional dizzy. With complicated models, your research is even more challenging.

Here are topics you should study for each brand you carry:

  • Differences in casing.
  • Water resistance.
  • Crystal composition.
  • Metal type.
  • Long-term durability.
  • Accuracy.
  • Resale value, particularly with higher priced brands.
  • Warranty.

In the February (p. 193) and March (p. 107) editions of this column, I wrote about the importance of a watchmaker. If you're fortunate enough to have one on staff, mention this to customers also. With contract repair services, assure customers repairs and service are handled with care and efficiency.

No Missing Links
Once you've consummated the sale, you're almost done. Make sure your customer has been fitted properly. A personally sized bracelet or strap is better than a customer who later complains about the fit of an expensive new watch.

Take a few more minutes to be sure the customer knows everything necessary about how to operate the watch. Set the time and date, lock down the crown and wind the watch if needed. Explain how to care for the case and bracelet, and make note of safety features. Show all the relevant accompanying literature. Fill out the manufacturer's warranty. Make certain the customer knows where to send the watch for service if he or she is away from home and your store.

Great Expectations
First-time buyers of a fine timepiece have high expectations. They've been influenced by advertising, the sales presentation, peer-group pressure, status and more. Keep them excited but realistic about how the watch will perform and anything you can think of to make the wearing of the watch more pleasurable. If you enjoy watches, this is a labor of love. Your customers will respond positively, time after time.

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, send them to Professional Jeweler, 1500 Walnut St., Suite 1200, Philadelphia, PA 19102, e-mail

Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.


HomeAsk the ExpertBrainstormStatsSite of the WeekConsumer Press Scan
Your Business On-LineCalendarMagazine & Site ArchivesStaffSite Map
Professional Jeweler EventsGuide to Electronic Services
Classified On-LineJA Certification Study Session

Home Ask the Expert Brainstorm Stats Site of the Week Consumer Press Scan Your Business On-Line Calendar Staff Site Map