For Your Staff:Selling Timepieces
Size Up the Customer, Size the Watch
A few key questions and your product knowledge combine to seal the
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.
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
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.
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.
- Resale value, particularly with higher priced brands.
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
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.
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.