How To Grow a Retail Client Base Even During a Pandemic
It’s obvious that 2020 hasn’t gone the way a lot of people thought it would.
You’re protecting yourself and others by staying inside and not traveling unless it’s a necessity, and at the same time limiting your money making and networking ability by not getting to connect with people the way you used to.
Is it true that you can’t connect and grow your network during these times of COVID-19 ? How has the pandemic impacted watch traders, and their ability to move pieces quicker through relationship building?
We’re going to answer that here, and offer a few creative solutions to boost your watch buy/sell/trade game!
Although the physical restrictions that come with this pandemic are inevitable, the networking restrictions do not need to be. In fact, this is the time more so than ever when people are trying to connect in new ways. Through social media, video calls, virtual meetups, and much more. The constraints and health concerns can either be looked at as a hindrance, or an opportunity.
Think about how many new technologies and platforms (like Zoom) are being adopted due to people wanting to get work done, collaborate, and share experiences? Think about the demographic of people globally that is also now starting to adopt and try these new technologies because they are being propelled to. Before the pandemic most of these types of late adopters of tech would never even try the platform(s) because there wasn’t a strong enough trigger or desire to change. The same folks that were once cursing millennials and ditching their phones are now Zoom pros. The millennials who were never enticed to go outdoors are now trying things just to get fresh air and not be trapped inside.
So you see, even in the midst of great change, the core desire to connect doesn’t recess. In fact, it enhances.
So how can you capitalize on this as a watch trader and make some big money in the process?
There are plenty of ways. And the best news is this is your opportune time to take advantage of it, because you can take market share away from the giant dealers who are used to traditional methods of marketing when you don’t have to play by their rules. Think about it, you have limited operating expenses, overhead, employees, and risk.
You’re more prepared and agile for making moves than some of the giant companies. It takes them a LONG TIME to pivot strategy, and adapt to such brutal shifts in the ecosystem. So use this to your advantage.
Here’s some ways over the past months, I’ve been continuously growing a retail client base/network even with the constraints of COVID.
- When you can meet someone safely local in person … do it! Many people are lonely and craving attention/escape right now. Use this as an excuse to meet them somewhere like a coffee shop to do trades, or catch up. As long as you keep safe distance, and respect the rules of the venue, you should be fine. Obviously this all comes down to your final judgement. That said, I’ve found that when I get to connect in person with people, they’re so grateful because it’s like they’ve missed seeing humanity. They’ve missed the camaraderie and kinship. Even if you end up sitting in lawn chairs in your Cul de Sac driveway doing deals and chatting, it’s worth the push to do it
- Build your online presence and brand NOW! Even if you’re new to the idea of how social media platforms can benefit your ability to trade watches, it doesn’t hurt to start one step at a time. I like to ask myself what is the purpose of my approach and the ultimate goal of leveraging that social platform is. For example, with Instagram, I wanted the brand recognition, and as a bonus would be happy with any sales directly through the platform. I also self admitted that my time was best spent doing what I do best (selling) instead of learning Instagram algorithms, so I hired a guy to manage the growth for me. This consistent approach over an extended period of time (3 years) has helped me connect with and meet some of the most amazing people in the world who also love watches. CEOs, Star Athletes, Artists, Lifestyle Entrepreneurs, etc. Don’t down play the impact of social media on networking.
- Take the extra step to connect with people. Even if it’s not reaching out to them to sell them, or buy a watch. It’s good to reach out to your network (friends, family, clients, prospects, dealers) and see how they are doing. Genuinely show you care enough about what’s going on with these people beyond just pushing an agenda to sell watches and you’ll be amazed at just how much they want to talk about what you want, and will probably end up getting some deals from it. Organizing these reach outs in a process oriented manner and doing it consistently over time will also be much easier and effective than just doing it every once and awhile when you feel like it on a whim.
- ALWAYS log essential info about people in your CRM! If you’ve taken Knight Watch Course in WTA, you’ll know how much I harp on CRM. This sheet or platform or whatever you want to use is your lifeline of stimulating business and refreshing those who haven’t thought about you in a while about what it is you do. The more frequently you can stay in contact with these people about a topic that is relevant, the more likely you are to sell a watch or buy one. The CRM can be all clients or potential clients (leads) who have shown serious interest and you’re trying to close them on the first deal between you guys.
- Be a breath of fresh air. In a world filled with scammers, agenda pushers, selfish dolts, and YES-men, be the one who “tells it like it is” even when it may lose you this one sale. Being a true value to your clients and not giving them the easy way out can be your greatest asset and a way to TRULY connect with them. They will know you aren’t just there for a quick sale and to BS them like other people they consider options to buy watches from. They’ll know you are more than just a dealer to them. An example I like to share from my own experience is with one of my MMA clients. He owns a Panerai and wanted another one from me. One day I saw him promoting MVMT watches on his Instagram for $$$. I reached out and expressed to him how MVMT wasn’t really aligned with his brand. He works his ass off everyday and has put in years of sacrifice and experience to be an elite fighter. And MVMT is cheap sourced crap that is marketed well. It didn’t fit his style. At first he told me he knew what he was doing and he wasn’t a “watch guy” so it wasn’t a big deal. 2 months later he reached out to me and said “Cal you know you were right. I got so much slack for partnering with them I had to end it.” From there on out I earned his respect and a customer/friend for life because I was the only one telling him like it is, not just being a YES-Man.
- Organize a social community or blog built around watch industry enthusiasts. Not one that conflicts with WTA, but one that becomes a center for guys/gals you want to talk watches with for the fun of it. If you haven’t already joined other forums and Facebook groups like this, then you definitely should check some out. And if you don’t see one you truly like, and/or want to have control of your own, NO ONE is stopping you.
So there are just a few of many ways you can enhance your retail buyer network even during these trying times of “social distancing”. Follow the law, but feel free to get creative and bend the rules. For it is in times of greatest constraints those who win get the most creative.