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September 1999

For Your Staff: Selling Timepieces

Spring Training – For the Fall

Before the new timepieces arrive, prepare yourself and your customer

Just as athletes everywhere prepare for their upcoming seasons by going through training camp, so do jewelry store sales associates.

You are quite aware of the importance of a great fourth-quarter finish. As we approach the fourth quarter of our sales year, there are extra steps you can take to prepare for a winning season.

The new merchandise the buyers ordered for your store at spring and summer trade shows is beginning to trickle in. Many manufacturers are debuting new products this fall and sending some old models into the sunset. As this changeover occurs, there's training to be done, customer questions to prepare for and trends to catch up on. Remember, if you're not prepared, your competitor might be.

Did We Buy That?
As noted, these watches probably were ordered three to four months ago. The buyers for your store probably returned from the trade shows with reams of purchase orders they filed and possibly forgot about after a few months. Now these watches have started to show up at your door and they're saying "Wow, did we buy that?"

If the watches seem new or unfamiliar to the buyers, you and the rest of the staff will have some preparation to do. Imagine what questions the customers will come up with.

Share the Knowledge
To help organize the new merchandise for the big season, your store should generate a plan to spread the news. Create a list of incoming watches and route any and all written descriptions and pictures of the new items to all staff members.

If the watch is new, you're going to hear questions from customers about the watch, especially from those with higher watch IQs. You ought to be prepared to answer their questions even before the watches arrive.

The Rewards
If you take the time to get the information distributed ahead of time, two good things happen:

  • Staff members begin to get excited about the new items.
  • You can presell certain customers by getting them equally "pumped up" about being the first to have the new timepiece "toy" on the block.

Nothing beats the feeling of hitting the ground running and building momentum for a brand new product or model.

Review the "Talking Points"
As the new watches arrive, all sales personnel should take time to review them. See how each watch feels and note any changes or differences in new models from other ones in the line. Carefully go over any and all improvements to crowns, crystals and bracelets.

Discuss how these new models fit in with fall trends such as steel, steel with diamonds, rectangular watches and black dials with brown bands, to name a few noted for this year.

The sales associates should meet with their manager to review the "talking points" created by manufacturers when new models include stylistic or technical changes. Consider how each sales associate can convey these points to customers. These sessions will assure that your customers hear a consistent message about the new models from all of your store's sales associates. A strong message, delivered by your team, can score added sales.


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

Each month Paul White fills this column with tips for associates 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; askus@professionaljeweler.com.

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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