Swiss watch company IWC Schaffhausen has hired luxury-sales consultant Jean-Marie Brüker to introduce tactics for selling pricey timepieces during the recession. The basic principles are familiar to casinos: Flatter the man, distract the wife, and make them linger. Tricks range from semantics (say “value” instead of “price”; sell “romance,” not “products”), to visual cues, like laying the shopper’s current worn-out watch between two glossy new ones on the tray. But the most amusing strategies have to do with luring away a male customer’s fidgety wife. For one, a second clerk swoops in to “keep her occupied” while the first seals the sale with the husband; another involves suggesting a “sorry gift” — that is, buying a second watch for his wife to make up for splurging on his own wrist. The methods seem kind of shifty to us, but that seems to elude Brüker. “You’re selling pure emotion,” he sighs.
How to Sell a $35,000 Watch in a Recession [WSJ]