Hurting Luxury Watch Companies Finally Discover Their Sales People Stink
Finding a good sales person is tough, because they are either in high demand, or often times their personalities makes them... less than reliable. A good sales person can effectively help erode logic and focus from an unwilling consumer and get them to purchase not on principle, but on emotion. And there are people out there who train others on how to do this. Only the most manipulative and shiestiest survive. You are good if the consumer doesn't even know they are being sold.
It is no secret that luxury watches have been hurting, bad. Estimates say that luxury watch sales in the US are down at staggering 42% or more from when times were "good" a few years ago. A recent story in the Wall Street Journal discusses how Richemont Group brand IWC hired sales consultant Jean-Marie Brücker for their Beverly Hills boutique store. His role is to train the sales people on proper selling techniques for items whose values aren't always on par with their price. Being a watch fan, I am not saying that watches are necessarily overpriced given their complex construction and typically low volume, but the price of entry for most luxury watches is intense to heart-stopping. Plus, if you are of the "I am so rich I don't care segment of the population" the sales people only need to be good enough to keep you in the store while you are looking around - so they don't have to play the "let's evade the matter of price" game.
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The real kicker is whether all this works. While Mr. Brücker's business is reportedly booming these days, you have to wonder if it is just because he is a good sales person, or because his techniques actually work. Plus, are they talents that can be even taught, remember how a good sales person is born, not made? The proof will be in the pudding a few months from now when the results from his efforts, and others like him are assessed.
Watch companies are further missing a bigger piece of the picture. The Internet, that thing they attempt to avoid like plague because it represents the land of free information, often offers better prices than can be found in retail watch stores. They seem to forget that your average consumer today goes to the stores perhaps scoping out potential purchases that they either buy for less money online, or used. Plus, the high pressure environment of the retail world often times makes it more comfortable for people to buy online. While watch companies are correct that the best way to sell a watch is emotionally, only a few understand that the emotions needed to spend a college education on a watch must mature over time. A consumer must slowly adopt the concept of wanting a particular timepiece to justify the expense. In the end it must be the consumer who marches into the store and simply indicates the timepiece they want, with barely any salesmanship required, save for the skills needed to write up the order. Simply another way of looking at it. Check out the WSJ article through the link below for a bit more information.
Via The Wall Street Journal.
Ariel Adams publishes the luxury watch review site aBlogtoRead.com.