How Not To Sell A Watch

For the last few days I have been in Switzerland running a sales training seminar for one of my clients. I really like Switzerland – the people are friendly, the country is clean, things run on time and the chocolate is fantastic!

Last time I went over to Switzerland I flew straight into and out of Zurich (via Amsterdam) so I thought this time it would be a great idea to fly into Geneva, take a couple of days driving along two of the lakes and on to Zurich. Hence, yesterday afternoon I found myself with some time to spare in Geneva airport.

My fiancée, who had come with me on this trip, is thinking about buying a new watch but is still in the, “I’m not sure what I want yet” stage. That said, if she had tried on a watch that she really wanted we would have bought it…

As luck might have it Geneva airport is full of… you guessed it… watch and chocolate shops (well what else would you expect?). Watch shops seemed to be the lesser of two evils so we thought that she should try some watches on. You wouldn’t have thought selling a watch was something that you could get that wrong would you…

You’d be wrong!

After pointing at three different watches the sales assistant got them out for us and Alex tried them on. They were all quite nice but it was clear that her decision making processes were leading her towards a sporty little number with a black face. We had already seen this watch elsewhere with a silver face; a sale was looking likely.

So let’s pick up the sales conversation from this point in the sales process. Keep in mind that the whole of the conversation below can be heard by myself, Alex and the sales assistant…

Alex: “I still like this one the best. It’s the same one we saw before in Zurich but with the black face rather than the silver one. (To the sales assistant) Do you have it with the silver or white face too?”
Sales: “No.”
Alex: (To me) “What do you think of the black face?”
Me: “I like it. I think it looks sporty but professional too. It’s fine for work or casual.”
Alex: “Yes.”
Sales: “I don’t like it.”
Alex: (Thinking she has misheard) “Sorry?”
Sales: “I don’t like it.”
Alex: (Still struggling with this concept) “Sorry, you don’t like this watch?”
Sales: “No.”
Alex: “Oh.” (A bit crestfallen!)
Sales: “Yes, I think you need something more glamorous. You couldn’t wear this with an evening dress.”
Alex: “I don’t want to, I have a watch for that. This is for every day wear.”
Sales: “Yes, but even so I think I would prefer something like this.”

The sales assistant then got out a totally different watch which we had not expressed an interest in even though it was only a couple of watches away from the others in the sales display. This watch looked nothing like the others. It had a metal (silver coloured) bracelet the same as the others but it was much more shiny. Much more bling! The face was much bigger, probably twice as big, and it was encrusted with diamonds all around the watch face. Oh, and it was also twice as expensive!

Alex: (Without hesitation and without trying it on) “I don’t like that.”
Sales: “I think it’s much more you. I mean, it’s only my opinion but the other one is not right and this one is much more you.”
Alex: “I don’t like it.” (Clearly getting annoyed)
Sales: “It’s much more you.”
Alex: (to me) “I don’t want a watch. Let’s go!”

Hey! I don’t think this one even requires any sales training or business tips other than to say…

Make sure that your staff are trained properly to deal with the sales situations that they find themselves in! Every member of staff who comes face to face with customers and clients needs a basic understanding of sales and selling… and a dollop of common sense and communication skills to boot!

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