Professional Jeweler Archive: Skip the Lecture

July 2001


Skip the Lecture

Timepiece sales training works best with peer participation and review

If it’s true the attention span of most students is short, training your watch sales staff requires a new approach. To have the same person lecturing using the standard classroom style of presentation each time may actually have a negative learning effect.

How to do it differently?

Teach Each Other

Get the staff together and ask them to participate actively in the learning process. Take a specific brand or type of watch and divide the session into small groups. Have each employee prepare an explanation of the characteristics of a watch type. If it’s a brand being discussed, ask participants to go over the brand’s appeal, approach and new models. Hearing this type of information from a peer can be friendlier and less intimidating than from a manager.

Make your sales associates responsible for learning and teaching each other. This exercise yields positive results for teachers and students. Each group should be held to a high level of competent presentation for the watch type or brand.

Role-Playing Works

Try role-playing. Most sales staffs hate this, but it works. Set up situations that mimic experiences at the sales counter so constructive learning can occur. Critique constructively so the exercise translates to a selling situation.

Have staff pick a buddy or mentor. This is someone who may be strong in watches generally or in a specific brand. During work hours, find time for staff members to observe or sit in on a sales opportunity with their buddy if the situation permits.

Ask, Don’t Tell

There’s a tendency to provide reams of technical and product information available about timepieces. Instead, focus on how to use that information. Ask questions such as, “To whom would you show this chronograph?” or “How do you identify a candidate for this high-end luxury brand?”

Training must have a thinking component. The sales staff has to use reason in a specific situation rather than simply recite a laundry list of features to someone who may not care.

It’s more important for sales associates to have a few nuggets of compelling information about a timepiece or a specific brand and use it in structured presentations than use all the information in the world and bore customers to tears.

Testing, One, Two, Three

Devise a short exercise or two that will put the training experience to the test. This can be a short written exam or a role-play. It can be any device that demonstrates whether any one learned anything.

Challenge your associates with a sales goal incentive. Do this collectively so they all pull together. Ask watch companies to provide premium items to help sweeten the pot.

Training works. Stay with it, revise it, experiment and review. The proof will be in the pudding as you watch your timepiece sales begin to grow.

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

Each month Paul White fills this column with tips for retailers who want to sell more watches. Send suggestions, questions or examples to Professional Jeweler, 1500 Walnut St., Suite 1200, Philadelphia, PA 19102;

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications