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Real Deal

Real Deal: The Case of the Sale-Spoiling Customer

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[span class=alert]To be eligible for publication in INSTORE, responses must include your name, store name, and the city and state in which your store is located. [/span]

[dropcap cap=W]indsor’s is a small specialty watch shop in the Northeast. They specialize in the sale and service of watches only — no other product categories. [/dropcap]

Jerry Windsor, the owner and a certified master watchmaker, splits his time between watch services and customer sales. One afternoon, Jerry was working with Anne Pearson, a customer who had purchased several items in the past and had also brought in several items for repair. Anne is a conservative executive who enjoys watches. That day she had asked to see several Omega watches. While Jerry and Anne were discussing the line and Anne was trying on different models, another customer entered the store and went to the repair take-in counter. She was assisted there by a sales associate who took her “off brand” watch into the back to replace the battery

Meanwhile, Anne had selected a particular Omega as a favorite, and the conversation between Jerry and Anne was moving nicely toward the close when the second customer wandered over to listen in. She observed for a few moments before Anne noticed her. Jerry felt Anne was on the verge of saying “I’ll take it” when she impulsively turned to the other woman and said, “Well, what do you think?”

More than ready to offer her unvarnished opinion, the other woman replied, “Well, it is pretty, but I could never spend that kind of money on something like a fancy watch, especially right now, with so many people out of work and struggling just to pay food bills. It seems like there are a lot more important things you could spend your money on.” Anne was taken aback and just said, “Oh!”

It all happened so quickly that Jerry could only stare at the second woman. He composed himself, left the watch with Anne and told her to give it a little more thought and gently guided the other woman back to the service counter, signaling silently for his employee to “Please keep this woman away from my customer!” When Jerry returned to Anne, she immediately handed the watch back saying, “You know, maybe she’s right. I don’t really need this watch.” She then turned and left.

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[h3]THE BIG QUESTIONS [/h3]

How could Jerry have handled the situation differently? What policies should be in place in a store to avoid situations like this?

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[span class=alert]To be eligible for publication in INSTORE, responses must include your name, store name, and the city and state in which your store is located. [/span]

[span class=note]This story is from the February 2010 edition of INSTORE[/span]

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