A former Xerox salesman trains sales associates to sell expensive watches in a recession.

After years of double-digit sales growth, sales of expensive watches have fallen off drastically. The worst declines for Swiss watches are in the U.S., where sales fell 42% in the last 12 months. Today, 60% of customers enter high-end watch boutiques to service their own watches rather than to buy new ones.

He coaches his trainees to say “value” rather than “price” and to sell “romance” not “products.” He also advises associates to compliment the customer’s own watch, even if it’s from a competitor, and tells them to offer a gift if a discount is requested. His methods dictate that salespeople lay the client’s well-worn watch on a tray between two shiny new ones, creating a contrast that subtly suggests it’s time for an upgrade.

Despite this downturn in the market, the former Xerox salesman drives a Ferrari and has 60 luxury watches of his own.

It’s also interesting to notice who uses watches.

Ask a room full of people what time it is, and predictably, people aged 18 – 40 will look at their phone.
The older members of the group will look at their watch.

Two insights can be drawn from these observations.

1. Perceived value trumps price almost every time.
2. Who you market to makes a BIG difference in the approach you need to use.

Job search is a lot like selling an expensive watch.

You need to sell yourself with a focus on value and talk to an end-user in a way that they can relate to what you have to offer.
Ignore either of these two variables and a sale (job interview) is lost.

Sending out the same resume to hundreds of potential employers with no customization of your approach and not knowing what’s important to an employer (customer) is an exercise in futility. Focus on value, not price (salary), and find out what the employer (customer) is truly interested in.

Take the time to sell your “watch” as a one-of-a-kind that someone has got to have and its price is secondary to its value.