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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I went into a watch shop the other day to try on a Seiko Kinetic, so I tried one on & asked what other Seiko's they had. Two ladies, one had a fair idea but the other didn't have a clue about watches. The one said to me, "we have some that are only 100m water resistant & the bezel doesn't move, but that is to make it more water resistant" :-s:roll::-x:think:
 

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Most people that sell watches, especially cheaper ones like Seiko, have nowhere near the knowledge that us enthusiasts have. It's just a job to them, so as long as they're friendly and helpful, I cut them some slack. If anything, times like this are a good opportunity to share some knowledge.
 

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If they dont take the time to learn about what there selling, then they should let you know there not familier with watches instead of just having answeres for everything.
I think everyone here would research what there buying instead of going by the sales pearson. Just going by my own experiances. I know this dosn't apply to all stores.
 

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In that case, I'd blame the manager for not checking the background knowledge of the person or 'educating' them about watches.
 

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I usually try to keep some perspective with these people. It's hard, when you live watches, to remember what is "acceptable" knowledge for a layperson or even a lower-end salesperson. Doesn't matter what job you work, there will always be someone who wants to know something that baffles you. I'm an account manager for Coca-Cola, and just the other day I was doing inventory and ordering at a local Wal-Mart and someone wanted to know if we would sell the plastic trays that 24oz 6-packs come from the warehouse in. I mean...not only can I not figure out why anyone would want one, but who do I even ask and would they even know? I bet that sort of situation comes up all the time working something more complicated and expensive like watches.
 

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I usually try to keep some perspective with these people. It's hard, when you live watches, to remember what is "acceptable" knowledge for a layperson or even a lower-end salesperson. Doesn't matter what job you work, there will always be someone who wants to know something that baffles you. I'm an account manager for Coca-Cola, and just the other day I was doing inventory and ordering at a local Wal-Mart and someone wanted to know if we would sell the plastic trays that 24oz 6-packs come from the warehouse in. I mean...not only can I not figure out why anyone would want one, but who do I even ask and would they even know? I bet that sort of situation comes up all the time working something more complicated and expensive like watches.
Exactly. I can understand being irritated at someone from a high end AD giving you completely bogus information about a $6K Rolex. At that price point, I don't think it's unreasonable to expect at least a basic level of knowledge. But to suggest that someone selling Seikos at a jewelry counter should have detailed knowledge of the watches doesn't make much sense. The majority of buyers will pick out what looks best to them, and maybe ask what a Kinetic watch is. Even if the salesperson memorized the owners manual, she would only have a basic understanding of how to operate the watch. The idea that someone in this position would have a detailed knowledge of ISO standards and dive watch construction just isn't realistic. My guess is that her comment about the bezel and water resistance was just repeating something she'd heard from another person and assumed it was correct.
 

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The unfortunate ubiquity of the term "salesperson" is part of the problem. A counter clerk who makes minimum wage is not a salesperson and should not be expected to have a salesperson's knowledge. If someone actually has the position of salesperson, then that person's remuneration and longevity is linked to how well that person performs at selling. And that person has to be knowledgeable ... period.

In the 80s and early 90s I trained sales professionals who made more than $200K per year, so that they could make $400K or more per year. There are three immutable rules for sales professionals: 1) Know absolutely everything about the product you are selling; 2) Know as much about your customer's business as you know about your own; and 3) Know as much about your competitor's products as you know about your own. These three rules create the "product knowledge trinity" that allows a salesperson to best meet the needs of the customer.

As Gabe has pointed out, if you are in an Omega boutique or a major AD outlet, it is safe to assume the person assisting you is working as a salesperson and not merely a clerk. And you may expect that person to have mastered the three rules aforementioned (although very few salespeople actually do this, which is why it remains a profession where the phrase "Many are called, but few are chosen" is particularly apropos). And if the salesperson with whom you're dealing does not appear to be as knowledgeable as he or she should be, then be kind - as Gabe suggested - and share your knowledge. If this person has any desire to make a living selling, they will be most grateful for the gift of information you bestow upon them. And if they do not welcome your assistance, the phrase they eventually will utter to the customers they serve will be, "Would you like fries with that?" :-d

Rob
 

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Exactly. I can understand being irritated at someone from a high end AD giving you completely bogus information about a $6K Rolex. At that price point, I don't think it's unreasonable to expect at least a basic level of knowledge. But to suggest that someone selling Seikos at a jewelry counter should have detailed knowledge of the watches doesn't make much sense. The majority of buyers will pick out what looks best to them, and maybe ask what a Kinetic watch is. Even if the salesperson memorized the owners manual, she would only have a basic understanding of how to operate the watch. The idea that someone in this position would have a detailed knowledge of ISO standards and dive watch construction just isn't realistic. My guess is that her comment about the bezel and water resistance was just repeating something she'd heard from another person and assumed it was correct.

I agree and I'm glad we're not playing pile on the poor sales person. I think it's all about proper expectations. Now true what she said was a little silly but a few years ago I might not know the difference. We all had to start somewhere. I have to agree that sharing your knowledge is a better option then coming on here and bashing her.
 

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Hmm...
I have found that (in general) the salespeople who know what they are on about are found in ADs that have a specific watch department, with dedicated people for that department.
Yes, knowledgeable salespeople that can do things like describe the movements etc.. are few and far between, but they are worth 4 "hopeless" salespeople when you find them..

cheers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
It wasn't a high end watch shop just a chain selling all sorts from cheap gems to watches, I went there because they were on the Seiko website as an AD. The lady in question did say to me about 10 minutes before she didn't know a lot about watches so I didn't give her a hard time about it but had to try not to laugh, instead I just said " they do that to keep manufacture costs down"

It just made me chuckle & brightened up my day a little & thought I'd share it.
 

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It just made me chuckle & brightened up my day a little & thought I'd share it.
Absolutely. It made me chuckle a little as well!

cheers.
 

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"times like this are a good opportunity to share some knowledge"

"be kind - as Gabe suggested - and share your knowledge"

I wholeheartedly agree. If you know better, kindly share what you know |>

That said, I admit that I am regularly baffled at the seemingly complete lack of retail employee knowledge, and in no way am I limiting it to watches/jewelry... in my opinion, regardless of rank, pay scale or product line... a reasonable level of knowledge should be known or taught.
 

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I am regularly baffled at the seemingly complete lack of retail employee knowledge, and in no way am I limiting it to watches/jewelry... in my opinion, regardless of rank, pay scale or product line... a reasonable level of knowledge should be known or taught.
A quality restaurant presents a good model for how it should be done: In finer restaurants, wait staff are required to participate in a daily tasting of a smorgasbord of the day's specials and other menu items, and to learn how each is prepared. This allows them to provide a truthful recommendation when they tell a patron a particular dish is "delicious." And knowing how the dish is prepared helps patrons decide on a choice based on any dietary limitations they might have. Most of us have eaten in such establishments and enjoyed the experience all the more because of this helpful training.

And we also have eaten in restaurants where any question about the provenance or preparation of an item on the menu elicits the "deer caught in the headlights" response. Check, please! :rodekaart

Rob
 

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Would you guys interject if you over heard the salesperson giving misinformation to an unknowing customer?

Not sure if I would, but my friend said he did at a big box electronic store when the sales associate was giving a couple misinformation regardng LCD vs plasma televisions.
 

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Would you guys interject if you over heard the salesperson giving misinformation to an unknowing customer?

Not sure if I would, but my friend said he did at a big box electronic store when the sales associate was giving a couple misinformation regardng LCD vs plasma televisions.
I have done this in several different situations. I never hesitate to offer correct information to someone who is being misled by another (especially if the one doing the misleading is a salesperson). I consider it the equivalent of offering directions to a stranger who is lost.

Rob
 
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Yep! I actually had a salesperson at Kohls once tell me that my SKX007 must be fake because Seiko doesnt have watches where the hand "sweeps" around the dial instead of ticking. I didnt buy the G-Shock from her, but I did explain to her that they indeed did have them. Ive also helped salespeople at Zales and other places explain watches to people asking about them. I figure if you know why not share that knowledge?
 

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The unfortunate ubiquity of the term "salesperson" is part of the problem. A counter clerk who makes minimum wage is not a salesperson and should not be expected to have a salesperson's knowledge. If someone actually has the position of salesperson, then that person's remuneration and longevity is linked to how well that person performs at selling. And that person has to be knowledgeable ... period.

In the 80s and early 90s I trained sales professionals who made more than $200K per year, so that they could make $400K or more per year. There are three immutable rules for sales professionals: 1) Know absolutely everything about the product you are selling; 2) Know as much about your customer's business as you know about your own; and 3) Know as much about your competitor's products as you know about your own. These three rules create the "product knowledge trinity" that allows a salesperson to best meet the needs of the customer.

As Gabe has pointed out, if you are in an Omega boutique or a major AD outlet, it is safe to assume the person assisting you is working as a salesperson and not merely a clerk. And you may expect that person to have mastered the three rules aforementioned (although very few salespeople actually do this, which is why it remains a profession where the phrase "Many are called, but few are chosen" is particularly apropos). And if the salesperson with whom you're dealing does not appear to be as knowledgeable as he or she should be, then be kind - as Gabe suggested - and share your knowledge. If this person has any desire to make a living selling, they will be most grateful for the gift of information you bestow upon them. And if they do not welcome your assistance, the phrase they eventually will utter to the customers they serve will be, "Would you like fries with that?" :-d

Rob
I thought this was interesting, having been a salesperson and a psych man by education (which I could be wrong here but you might be as well?). I don't know what industry your trainees were working in, but I have some history in the illustrious world of automobile sales, a place were a sale is a sale whether or not you had to kill someone's children to get it.

What's funny is that your three tenants here, which sound very good, seem to be leading toward a diametrically opposed goal to the training you receive in car sales (which is effective, mind you). From the perspective of my numerous trainers and "mentors", the surefire road to a sale is in making sure that as few of the products qualities come into question as possible, and if they must, they are to come from your mouth or be answers to strategic questions you asked the customer. The reason; people can only become less interested than they must have been when they actually decided to drive to the dealership and talk to someone. Essentially, from this point of view, the "art of the sale" is actually making the sale without the customer being aware of it. As exploitative as it can be, it is actually fascinating to watch and learn from the guys who can do this well. People who barely have high school diplomas, and certainly almost no knowledge of their product, using every psych technique right out of the textbook, doing it on the fly, and delivering it within casual conversation. Random customers, just out to kick some tires on a sunny day to pass the time, never know what hit them until they're shaking hands with the general manager after a test drive that they don't really remember agreeing to.

I'm not sure why this is entirely relevant, just caught my attention. But, it does have to do with sales, and I think what sparked me here was the notion that my type of sale is actually really well suited for a watch. Your type which caters toward the customer's needs, though very honorable, can pretty much only lead to a customer's confusion and disinterest in this market. Why do they "need" a Rolex after it's been explained to them that a Grand Seiko can do just as much for half the money, and what if they can't even understand your reasoning? Probably a better scenario, if one were a career jewelry salesperson, to practice "leading" and other techniques that create sales without all the messy details coming into question. Makes me wonder if there are any out there doing it.
 

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I recognize the tenets that Rob describes as something used more in outside corporate sales, rather than a retail environment (though I have no idea what industry he was working in). When you show up at an executive's office trying to persuade him to buy your product/service and quite likely dump that of a competitor, you've got to do your homework. You have to be able to answer any question about your product, how it is essential to the potential customer's business, and why the competition's offerings are inferior. Interesting points about car sales, though, and there are likely some strong parallels between that and luxury item sales. Ultimately you're selling a 'feeling' more than anything else, and too many details get in the way of that.


I thought this was interesting, having been a salesperson and a psych man by education (which I could be wrong here but you might be as well?). I don't know what industry your trainees were working in, but I have some history in the illustrious world of automobile sales, a place were a sale is a sale whether or not you had to kill someone's children to get it.

What's funny is that your three tenants here, which sound very good, seem to be leading toward a diametrically opposed goal to the training you receive in car sales (which is effective, mind you). From the perspective of my numerous trainers and "mentors", the surefire road to a sale is in making sure that as few of the products qualities come into question as possible, and if they must, they are to come from your mouth or be answers to strategic questions you asked the customer. The reason; people can only become less interested than they must have been when they actually decided to drive to the dealership and talk to someone. Essentially, from this point of view, the "art of the sale" is actually making the sale without the customer being aware of it. As exploitative as it can be, it is actually fascinating to watch and learn from the guys who can do this well. People who barely have high school diplomas, and certainly almost no knowledge of their product, using every psych technique right out of the textbook, doing it on the fly, and delivering it within casual conversation. Random customers, just out to kick some tires on a sunny day to pass the time, never know what hit them until they're shaking hands with the general manager after a test drive that they don't really remember agreeing to.

I'm not sure why this is entirely relevant, just caught my attention. But, it does have to do with sales, and I think what sparked me here was the notion that my type of sale is actually really well suited for a watch. Your type which caters toward the customer's needs, though very honorable, can pretty much only lead to a customer's confusion and disinterest in this market. Why do they "need" a Rolex after it's been explained to them that a Grand Seiko can do just as much for half the money, and what if they can't even understand your reasoning? Probably a better scenario, if one were a career jewelry salesperson, to practice "leading" and other techniques that create sales without all the messy details coming into question. Makes me wonder if there are any out there doing it.
 
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