How engineers can learn to sell
Working in IT for many years has honed my efforts in the engineering disciplines. My side hobby however taught more about sales and running a business than I ever could have imagined.
Buying and selling high end vintage timepieces required key soft skills that are not always present in the engineering disciplines. You need to start with knowledge of your product space, competitor prices and overall inventory in a given area. For instance, experienced watch dealers can look at watches from any brands and immediately identify the model year, condition, rarity and current dealer whole price versus retail price.
Here is a conversation I had with a watch dealer six years ago, "Yeah. it's a 72 year Rolex Red Sub, mark 4 dial with a full set box and papers, but the case-back is worn, lugs aren't shaped right, I'll give you 10k cash." Buying this type of watch six years ago now commands a 25k price tag.
Yes, that's correct, certain vintage watches do maintain their value, with an average increase of approximately 8% annualized. The above example increased 150% in only six years. As with any business however, you also must understand common business practices, such as accounting, sales platforms and deeper trade knowledge and insight.
What I learned most in the hobby and business of high end timepieces is the seemingly simple part of sales that required years for me to understand and improve on. That is, the basic part of sales, looking at customers directly in the eyes, shaking hands, listening for and responding to customer information. This hobby/business required building personal connections with international and U.S. based dealers, collectors and vendors who nearly all have multi generational background and decades of personal experiences is all facets of the industry.
Fortunately I was able to build the contacts and turn my hobby into to a fun learning experience and hobby business years ago. I also learned key sales skills which I try to utilize in my other business ventures in software and real estate. Today I am more of a collector than a watch dealer in a industry that is slowly shrinking. How many people do you see today wearing the disposable Apple watch instead of a high end stainless steel vintage Rolex watch....!
Now, I thought my experiences in applying timepiece sales experience to my IT career was unique. Then, I listened to Guy Kawasaki's "Wise Guy" book on Blinkist where I learned about a man who achieved significant career success working in a similar business before joining Apple Computer in the very early time of Apple's growth. I am sure you will enjoy Guy Kawasaki's story.
I recommend downloading Blinkist to your phone and listening Guy's book, which is 100 times better than my timepiece selling revelations. See Guy's link below:.
- Wise Guy by Guy Kawasaki on Blinkist
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