Income and experiences working sales for an AD?
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  1. #1
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    Income and experiences working sales for an AD?

    I am in outside sales myself, in an unrelated field, and in my obsessive, over-the-top research into watches, I've visited every AD for high-end watches that I can find in my area. That's not all that many, mind you, about half a dozen, but I've been amused by the differences in the salespeople, from an impressively knowledgeable and personable sales manager at an AD for Patek, Panerai, Rolex, and JLC, a friendly wheeling-and-dealing smaller town sales lady at a jeweler that had a total of maybe 12 rolexes in the case, to some completely clueless 20-something in badly fitting suits at the chain store which still sold Rolex, Tag, Bell & Ross, etc.

    It got me thinking - has anyone ever worked for an AD for nice watches? Tell me about it. What was the compensation like, the hours, the pressure, the experience?

    When I was at the highend dealer, there was a rockstar-looking fellow in tattered jeans and wild hair picking back up his Submariner from service and talking about pickig up a Panerai while there, just because, and a tall, power-suit looking guy smilingly planning to buy his wife a Patek to go along with the car he just bought her.

    The buyers and independent small business owners I typically deal with are down to earth folks with reasonably modest salaries. I got to wondering what life is like as a salesperson who, presumably, cannot afford many of his own wares.

    Though highend sales manager showed me watches in my budget -- A Reverso, a Luminor, an Explorer -- he said that, since I was there, anyway, and clearly interested, I should at least handle a Patek, just to experience one. I did. I deliberately did not learn the model name or reference number, but it was an amazing piece -- and, for $40,000, it ought to be.

    It's got to be interesting selling watches from $1k to $100k.

    Talk to me about it.

  2. #2
    Ozy
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    Re: Income and experiences working sales for an AD?

    I think a lot of the magic vanishes when you start seeing these things as commodities.

    One of my friends is a salesperson for an AD of a few nice brands and by his own admission, you see far more tyre kickers, over entitled people who see the watches as simply a way to show you have money, and those who come in and want you to beat a price they saw on eBay, and abuse you when you can "only" get down to 20%.

    Compared to enthusiasts which are actually really interested.

    It would make me die a little inside.
    CitizenM and SwedishElite22 like this.

  3. #3
    Member OntheRoad's Avatar
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    Re: Income and experiences working sales for an AD?

    I can see that happening. A disappointing reply, but I like where this thread is going. I would be interested in hearing more if anyone has experience/stories to tell.

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  5. #4
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    Re: Income and experiences working sales for an AD?

    I worked at a jeweler who was a rolex authorized dealer off and on for about 4 years almost a decade ago. We didn't just sell watches, but all kinds of jewelry ranging from the insanely cheap to the ridiculously expensive. As for watches, we sold seiko, citizen, fossil, mont blanc, omega, rolex, and probably a couple other mid range brands.

    At the time I was making a whopping $8/hour, and earned 2% commission on whatever I sold. In addition, I got a 40% employee discount on anything in the store, with the exception of rolex. I was one of two employees who wore a rolex, which was a graduation gift from my parents. I experienced my fair share of tire-kickers, and the EXTREMELY rare WIS. Most people were friendly, in fact I can't recall ever having to deal with someone who appeared to be snobby in any way, even though I may have known they were only buying something for the status of it.

    The store manager offered me a job when I was 18 after I came in the store one day and noticed the sales girl fumbling over how to explain the helium escape valve on a sea dweller to a potential customer, and took it upon myself to butt in and explain it to the guy. The boss man asked me if I wanted a job and I accepted. He and I remain pretty good friends to this day, and now when I go shopping at that store there is "retail" and then there is "my price." Every now and then he still gives me my old employee discount even though I haven't worked there in 10 years. He has even given me insanely cheap prices on some pre-owned rolexes that he has gotten in ($3K for a RUSA serviced sub date in 2010 and $3k for a GMT II this year, tax included).

    When I worked there, I was the only male employee besides the manager, and all of the other girls knew jack squat about watches. Anytime someone came in who wanted to buy any of the high end watches, it was understood that I would take over explaining the features to the potential buyer. I wasn't a commission hog, so even though I may have worked with the customer the most, I gave the commission to whoever got to them first when they walked in the door - after all, it wasn't their fault they didn't know crap about watches. Sometimes they would do the same for me when I was trying to sell some blingy crap to an old lady... color/clarity and all that other stuff didn't mean a whole lot to me.

    Overall it was a pleasant experience, and I have considered going back to work for him part time just for some "fun money," but in the end I just don't have the drive or desire to work in retail anymore... it's really frustrating to always have to act all cheery when someone walks in the store, even if you're having a bad day.


    Quote Originally Posted by Argentius View Post
    I am in outside sales myself, in an unrelated field, and in my obsessive, over-the-top research into watches, I've visited every AD for high-end watches that I can find in my area. That's not all that many, mind you, about half a dozen, but I've been amused by the differences in the salespeople, from an impressively knowledgeable and personable sales manager at an AD for Patek, Panerai, Rolex, and JLC, a friendly wheeling-and-dealing smaller town sales lady at a jeweler that had a total of maybe 12 rolexes in the case, to some completely clueless 20-something in badly fitting suits at the chain store which still sold Rolex, Tag, Bell & Ross, etc.

    It got me thinking - has anyone ever worked for an AD for nice watches? Tell me about it. What was the compensation like, the hours, the pressure, the experience?

    When I was at the highend dealer, there was a rockstar-looking fellow in tattered jeans and wild hair picking back up his Submariner from service and talking about pickig up a Panerai while there, just because, and a tall, power-suit looking guy smilingly planning to buy his wife a Patek to go along with the car he just bought her.

    The buyers and independent small business owners I typically deal with are down to earth folks with reasonably modest salaries. I got to wondering what life is like as a salesperson who, presumably, cannot afford many of his own wares.

    Though highend sales manager showed me watches in my budget -- A Reverso, a Luminor, an Explorer -- he said that, since I was there, anyway, and clearly interested, I should at least handle a Patek, just to experience one. I did. I deliberately did not learn the model name or reference number, but it was an amazing piece -- and, for $40,000, it ought to be.

    It's got to be interesting selling watches from $1k to $100k.

    Talk to me about it.

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    Re: Income and experiences working sales for an AD?

    Interesting, thanks for sharing -- keep them coming. 2% of gross does seem like a hard way to earn a living.

  7. #6
    Member Chronopolis's Avatar
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    Re: Income and experiences working sales for an AD?

    Great story.
    Sounds to me like everyone in this story was cool to begin with.
    Cool people make life so much easier to bear.


    Quote Originally Posted by LJUSMC View Post
    I worked at a jeweler...
    He and I remain pretty good friends to this day, and now when I go shopping at that store there is "retail" and then there is "my price." Every now and then he still gives me my old employee discount even though I haven't worked there in 10 years.

    When I worked there, I was the only male employee besides the manager, and all of the other girls knew jack squat about watches. ... Even though I may have worked with the customer the most, I gave the commission to whoever got to them first when they walked in the door - after all, it wasn't their fault they didn't know crap about watches. Sometimes they would do the same for me ...

    Overall it was a pleasant experience, and....
    Last edited by Chronopolis; October 7th, 2012 at 10:19.
    "Be thine own palace, or the world's thy jail." _ John Donne

  8. #7
    Member Mr. Panerai's Avatar
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    Re: Income and experiences working sales for an AD?

    I often wish I could be a watch salesman in a fine jewelry boutique, and drool over the possibility of doing so part time when I go to college or something... I often am rather annoyed when some twenty something girl is showing me a watch and has no clue what she's talking about... Yea she's trying, but I don't understand why they hire people like that... If I ran a jewelry boutique I'd at least teach my employees about watches, or better yet only hire WIS' :P. I find that unfortunately it's all to rare to get a WIS salesperson... I wish there were more, every time I find one it gives me another excuse to go back to their boutique!

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    Re: Income and experiences working sales for an AD?

    Interesting thread. Hopefully we will get more replies.
    When it comes to "tyre kickers" I feel that window-shopping at a price the "kicker" could afford with a couple of months saving is perfectly fine as long as he is polite, careful with the watch and doesn't ask to see 15 different models while there are several other prospective buyers waitint to be dealt with. It helps to know what you're saving for, or to confirm that what you've got might be 40% of the price, but >40% of the watch.
    I don't like places which work on commision. A pro rata percentage of the profit disbursed quarterly might be a better way to do it, but the thought of somebody desparately hoping you're going to buy something so they can be sure of making their car payments, or on the other side of the counter, desparately hoping this guy is not a tyre-kicker, is not the way to do it. My favorite clothing store in Glasgow has loads of salesmen who are honest about their products, offer prompt, professional service and are NOT on commision. There's even a sign on each floor stating this. I go their first whenever I want a new piece of clothing. And rarely have to go anywhere else.

  10. #9
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    Re: Income and experiences working sales for an AD?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scottish Steve View Post
    A pro rata percentage of the profit disbursed quarterly might be a better way to do it, but the thought of somebody desparately hoping you're going to buy something so they can be sure of making their car payments, or on the other side of the counter, desparately hoping this guy is not a tyre-kicker, is not the way to do it.
    I disagree; I personally wouldn't like knowing that I severely outsold my co-workers, but we all got the same commission disbursed quarterly. If you work hard, you should get more than someone who didn't work as hard as you, or just wasn't as lucky.

    As for the commission, I didn't rely on whatever I would get if I sold anything... that money was considered "fun" money, or just a little bonus over what was expected. In my mind, I only made $8/hour, so I only made purchases that I could afford on that salary... anything above that was just for fun.

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