Here's what readers are saying so far.

In our latest Real Deal scenario, Jack Matthews of Wilson Matthews & Co. is working with Anne Cahill, the new CEO of a growing tech company headquartered nearby. He invited her in for a preview the day the new season's Rolex order arrived.

While Jack and Anne are discussing watches at the Rolex case near the front of the gallery, Amy Hart, the daughter of a longtime client, enters the store. She goes to the repair counter around the corner from the showcase. A sales associate delivers the vintage rose gold wedding band that she left for sizing the week before.

Anne chooses a favorite Rolex and seems ready to buy. Impulsively, she turns to Amy and says, "May I ask ... what do you think of this watch on me? Is it too big?"

Amy proceeds to ruin the sale with some comments about how she "could never spend that kind of money on something like a fancy watch, especially with all the suffering going on in the world today and all the people struggling just to make ends meet."

The situation raises some important questions:

  • Should Jack follow up with Anne?

  • If so, what should he say? Could Jack have handled the situation differently?

  • Are there policies that could be put in place in a store to avoid situations like this?

We'd love to hear what you think. Check out the full scenario and send us your own response here.

Below is a selection of the responses we've received so far.

Bruce A.
Sherwood Park, ALBERTA

Of course Jack should follow up with Anne. Give it 10 days or so and send Anne an email with the model as it is displayed on the Rolex website. A tagline along the lines of, "Whenever you are ready, we would love to see you wear the world's most respected timepiece. You deserve it because you have earned it." There is little else Jack could have done as this situation could have escalated toward also losing Amy had he tried. Then he would be out two clients! No policy required for such unusual events.

Laurie Z.
Towson, MD

Jack should absolutely follow up with Ann. The momentary guilt very well may pass. There's really no policy that you could put in place to avoid it. It was customers interacting with each other---it's difficult to dismiss someone else's opinion gracefully. Perhaps pointing out the difference of where two people are in their lives: a younger new bride without much money to spend who wants the sentimental investment of a family piece versus a mature, established client who's looking to make that sentimental investment that will last for future generations. There are points to be made that could help the watch customer to realize that it's not a selfish decision to spend her hard earned income on herself as she sees fit.

George K.
Delray Beach, FL

Remember these key words: The sale begins when the customer says no. He never should have let her leave the store without asking the following: "Do you know how many people this Rolex watch feeds? From the production in Switzerland to the stores in U.S. and the world. It is a quality product. You work hard and deserve it. Would you like to take it now or give me a deposit? N.B. We are in a business that is the epitome of conspicuous consumption. Let's give them a reason to purchase and feel good about it!

Marcus M.
Midland, TX

Talk about an unfortunate circumstance! The timing of the loudmouth couldn't have been worse! Amy is definitely going on the "DO NOT HIRE" list. You absolutely have to reach out to Anne. Give her a few days, get your game plan together and call her. Make her feel confident that she is a successful business woman and that she deserves to treat herself. She's not doing the world an injustice because she wants to reward herself for her hard work. Jack handled the situation the best he could have. I don't feel like there is a policy you can have in place for something like this because it's very unexpected and doesn't happy that often, I wouldn't think. Amy is good at destroying a sale, so let's see how good Jack is at getting it back.

Kenn K.
Syracuse, NY

I would have engaged them both in conversation immediately. I would have pointed out that the true worth of an investment both in charities or personal items is not always obvious. I would have talked to Amy about her use of the family heirloom and how wonderful that is. Then I would draw Anne into the conversation with an anecdote about how fine watches typically stay in families for generations. I might have pointed out that Amy's grandparents may have made a choice about their financial sacrifice for her beautiful rose gold band but the value of it to her (Amy) certainly validated that expense. I then would have talked to Anne about how the relative cost of long-term investments such as a watch are often mitigated by the years of use. Along with it becoming a part off her family's history, just like Amy's band.

 

 
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