March 1998


The watchmaker as matchmaker, bringing salespeople and customers together

by Paul White, Director, Watch Division, Reis-Nichols Jewelers, Indianapolis

Last month we talked about reasons why watchmakers build your image as a full-service jeweler. Now here's how they help you to build relationships with your serious watch customers.

Watchmakers Can Close a Sale
Maybe the customer just needs a bit more reassurance about his purchase. Our staff members are highly informed and extremely confident, but they're not afraid to get the watchmaker involved if they think it will help. One very important way watchmakers can help close a sale is in quick sizing of bracelets. Every customer has a different wrist. Every watch is different in construction, link size and flexibility. It's crucial to know whether the watch will provide a comfortable fit before a customer falls hopelessly in love with it. A watchmaker can help you and the customer make the right decision and save some disappointment and headaches.

Watchmakers Can Nurture the 'Watch Maven'
We all have a wide variety of customers in our stores, from novice watch buyers to experienced watch owners. Perhaps the most challenging customer is the true watch aficionado who seems to demand a bit more than a sales associate can deliver. It's not an issue of competence or even technical knowledge. Some customers will demand that they deal directly with the watchmaker about their special watch. It's nice to have a watchmaker who can satisfy that customer's needs.

Watchmakers and Service
Whether it's that no-charge battery replacement, a quick adjustment on a watch or full service on a fine Swiss automatic timepiece, in our store the results are clear - we unequivocally build new jewelry business by virtue of having watchmakers on staff. We're fortunate to represent some fine Swiss watches. Throughout the year we have tremendous first-time traffic for people needing service on these watches.

Watchmakers Create Loyalty
Any of you who develop relationships with specific vendors or stores know exactly how good it feels to work with someone you trust. Maybe it's your tailor. Or a great mechanic for your car. That neighborhood deli that treats you like royalty. Likewise, people are very devoted and attached to their fine watches. They need a confident, trusting relationship that keeps them coming back to you for watches and more. That relationship can continue even if they move to another part of the country. A little effort can build a lifetime customer.

Maybe all of the above is terribly obvious to those of you who have been in the watch business for a long time. Our experience is relatively new, having developed a substantial watch business in the short period of six years. But there are many stores without local or on-site watch service. And there are many store owners considering getting involved with fine watches for the first time. If asked my opinion, I always say the same thing: find a good watchmaker and hire that person. Promote the service, take advantage of training and certification; you and your customers will reap the rewards. And that definitely is time well spent.

Each month Paul White, director of the watch division at Reis-Nichols, will fill this column with sales tips for retailers who want to sell more watches. If you have suggestions for topics, questions for him 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.


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