What it takes to sell luxury watches
Someone buys a luxury pre-owned timepiece from Watchfinder every 30 minutes of every day, from a vast selection of over 50 leading Swiss brands. Giving customers the right advice to find the perfect watch takes both expertise and integrity—and with 10,000 sales totalling £36,984,716 under his belt, Senior Sales Advisor Tom Holland understands that more than anyone. So what does it take to sell that many watches in just over six years of employment? “It’s all about building a relationship with the customer and giving them the best advice you can—then they will come back to you,” he says.
It’s sound advice—over half of Tom’s monthly sales are from repeat customers, who he has developed a rapport with over a number of years, and who rely on his in-depth knowledge. “If I give a customer bad advice just to get a sale, they’re not going to trust me,” he says. “So it’s about looking after your customer as best you can.”
It’s important to guide your customer to find the right watch, says Tom, and offer the right kind of suggestions to meet their criteria—but ultimately, the final choice is down to the buyer. “That’s why we offer a 14-day no quibble return policy for online purchases,” Tom says, “and they can also come in and view the watch in person as well. It gives customers peace of mind.”
It definitely helps that Tom is a watch enthusiast himself—he wears his limited edition Speedmaster Snoopy every day—and this was part of what attracted him to working for Watchfinder in the first place. “It was nice to sell something I actually have an interest in and be enthusiastic about,” he says. “I like watches, and I like that you never know what’s going to come through the door the next day.”
That variety can include anything from talking a valued customer through a last minute sale at 9pm at night, to making sure a late anniversary gift arrives on time—and it’s Tom’s job to make sure the customer comes away satisfied. “A lot of people have deadlines—for example, if they leave a birthday present too late—and you just have to try to facilitate them as best you can,” he says.
Being so involved in his customers’ lives is just part of the experience for Tom, and is something he finds really rewarding. “I like being able to provide for key life events, especially when talking to people I first dealt with six years ago, who have come back to me. I’ve done the engagement present, the birth of their first child—I know who they are, I’ve got a relationship with them,” he says.
And when a customer feels that connection, they’re likely to return to sell or upgrade their watch in the future. But what is it that attracts Watchfinder customers to buying pre-owned timepieces as opposed to new watches in the first place? “You’re buying the watch for what it’s worth—you aren’t paying the over-inflated prices,” says Tom. “You’re getting a watch that’s in excellent condition, with a warranty, from a reputable supplier. It’s a much better investment and you’re getting the same product—it just makes sense to buy pre-owned.”