Professional Jeweler Archive: Spring Cleaning: Assess Sales with Your Rep

May 2000

For Your Staff/Selling Timepiece

Spring Cleaning: Assess Sales with Your Rep

If the line didn’t sell, answer some basic questions before making a clean sweep

Looking at a particular model or a watch line that may not have sold well is an emotional experience.

First there’s the financial commitment. Of equal importance is the feeling of wanting any new endeavor to succeed. All of us want to prove to ourselves and the vendor that we know how to move the product. Since a single selling season is far too soon to abandon hope, what are some solutions?

First, consider your history with the watch line. Did you show it regularly? If so, did you show it once? Twice? Or did you show repeatedly with no real success?

Next, ask your coworkers these same questions. What do you and your co-workers mean when you say you showed the line?

We are all creatures of habit and we like habits that are pleasurable and rewarding. We definitely do not like rejection and most of us will not continue to press a product on a customer if we’re not successful in selling it to previous customers.

How Presented?

Once you’ve taken your staff poll, probe a bit as to how the watch was presented. Did the sales staff understand everything about how to sell this particular model or line? Could “chrono fear” have played a role?

Some sales staffers are not at ease selling complicated pieces, even the basic chronograph. Did the company deliver the product with adequate time for training? Was training even provided, by the company or by someone on your staff? Was the watch promoted via advertising by you and the company? Did anyone ask for it by name or model?

In short, did it have “legs” or did you have to supply all the energy for it? Don’t forget to find out what customers said. Did they like the appearance? What did they say about the price, the fit and finish and its comparison to anything else they saw in your store or elsewhere?

Work with the Rep

Start your solutions with your watch sales representative. He or she wants the product to sell as much as you do and will be happy to provide product training. Make sure everyone really learns from the session with you, other sales associates and the representative. Make it a matter of policy that some minimum knowledge skills be gained to earn the right to show the product. Because learning is a two-way street, tell the representative what customers were saying about the watch.

Try new displays or locations for the line. Many of us have store displays that are firmly entrenched. For some of us, real estate is at a Manhattan-style premium. But if the product is truly important, some display flexibility may be in everyone’s best interest.

Finally, examine the marketing commitment level. Did both parties adequately support the product with advertising or promotion? What more can be done?

Everyone wants all lines to be successful. But we’re also realistic and know that everything will not turn at the same pace or speed. So before you give up on something and decide on a clean sweep, make certain that you’ve answered the basic questions.

– by Paul White, Watch Division director, Reis-Nichols Jewelers, Indianapolis, IN

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, write them down and send them to Professional Jeweler, 1500 Walnut St., Suite 1200, Philadelphia, PA 19102;

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