For Your Staff:Selling Timepieces
Fight Discounters with Value & Service
Follow these tips to beat other retailers who compete on price
By Paul White
Watch Division director
This recent letter is typical of many retailer responses to one problem
that can accompany watch retailing. Oversaturation of a brand in a geographic
area, not as prevalent as it once was, may still be a thorn. The situation
is impossible to control fully, but there are some creative ways to out-think
rather than outprice your competition.
Establish a consistent policy. One sales associate shouldn't say one thing
to one customer while another sales associate says something different to
someone else. This is particularly critical if you work in a multistore
operation. How would it feel to find out your strongest competitor was yourself?
Give customers plenty of reasons to feel you're the best place to buy regardless
of whether your price is the lowest. Know your product and share that knowledge
with customers before deciding to match a competitor's price. The salesperson
down the street who says "Yeah, great watch, normally $1,995, but today's
special is $1,495" may not be well-versed in product knowledge. You
can score points when you do a great job explaining features and benefits.
If you are a small store with one or two basic watch lines, be sure to offer
some added benefits, such as:
- No-charge battery replacements.
- Extended warranties.
- Information about expected service intervals.
- No charge for watch sizing with purchase.
If you have a larger store with greater selection, consider the services
of an on-site or very accessible watchmaker. Knowing a watchmaker is available
may be all a customer needs to make the decision to buy a luxury watch.
Watchmakers also can answer technical questions from knowledgeable consumers,
size a watch and allow you to offer an occasional freebie, such as a complimentary
battery and water-resistance test for the more sophisticated timepieces
in your stock.
Don't neglect a liberal trade-in policy to combat discounting. The trade-in
doesn't have to be collectible; it doesn't have to be good; it doesn't even
have to be running. However, it is a courtesy to price-conscious consumers.
Use the better pieces you acquire for a vintage display or as loaners when
customers have their watches in for service.
Let your customers know how you stand out from the crowd. You'll walk
fewer sales, spend less time thinking about your competition and sleep better.
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
for Paul or specific examples from your store, send them toProfessional
Jeweler,1500 Walnut St., Suite 1200, Philadelphia, PA 19102; firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.