The Watch Maven

November 1998

For Your Staff:Selling Timepieces

The Watch Maven

Let these "experts" talk about their watch passion. Sales come with rapport

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

Many more customers know about – and are even passionate about – watches these days. These aficionados require special care because they can become regular, high-ticket customers and have friends who can follow in their footsteps.

First, you should attempt to identify the aficionado. Here are some guidelines.

Let the Customer Talk
Use your eyes. What kind of watch is your customer wearing? If it's a chronograph or a fine Swiss timepiece, ask about it. Many customers are happy to talk about their watches, and this can help to establish a rapport between the two of you. If customers mention owning other watches, this is a perfect opportunity to ask questions and learn their watch "hot buttons," whether they be collectible models, fashion or technical marvels.

Let the Customer Feel Important
The relationship between the watch maven and the salesperson depends on a few very important strategies.

Be sure to let these customers feel important. Let them talk, show off or flex their knowledge muscle. Some think they know more than you do about watches – whether or not they do. Don't become defensive; go with the flow to keep the relationship on good footing.

Certain knowledgeable watch customers may test you just to see how much you know about the industry in general, about brands you do and don't carry and especially about collectible or hard-to-find pieces.

This is all part of the feeling-out process that goes on when you meet someone who harbors a passion. The truly exceptional salesperson is always willing to appear vulnerable. Let the customer be the star. You may be surprised how easily you can make a sale!

Watchmaker Support
We've found, unequivocally, the presence of two in-house watchmakers is a great attraction for watch aficionados. They definitely want to know you're qualified and equipped to work on their "baby."

We all know instances where customers have left watches for repair only to return to find the watch sent out – with disastrous results. This undermines your relationship and harms the watch. One successful, competently performed watch service can win you a lifetime of loyalty from a watch aficionado.

Don't Waste Time
These customers typically know what they want. Do share the latest of what you have to offer, but it's not necessary to always try to sell. It's possible to tell them just enough that they'll return later for more information and a possible purchase.

One last piece of advice. Don't be a wise guy. Once when meeting a customer who seemed to overreact to the vagaries in accuracy of his automatic timepiece, I found out we had regulated it, the manufacturer had regulated it and the customer still was not pleased. I said "What are you doing – checking it against the atomic clock every day?"

Replied this professional engineer, "As a matter of fact ..."

I've not made that mistake again.

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 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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