Dear Josh, dear Tyler and dear Karin,
As you know, we are just 3 days away from an important event: the Qantas magazine advertisement and the day our watch will be released to the general public. For the first time in the history of our small brand, we will be telling our fellow Australians our story and offering them an exciting opportunity to be a part of it.
This is going to be an exciting moment! However, 'going public' means that we will be no longer sheltered by the convenience of dealing with rebelde supporters, established customers and valuable subscribers who are well aware of what we stand for, but potential customers who only have a very vague understanding of what watchmaking is all about.
Make no mistake: a few of them will quickly understand the uniqueness of our project and fall in love with our watch. But a large majority won’t.
In a few days’ time you will start receiving phone calls and emails from strangers. I want to make myself here absolutely clear: treat everyone with the utmost respect, be modest and polite as you already are. Do not try to sell - we are not in a sales business. We are manufacturers of fine, robust and reliable mechanical timepieces which sell themselves. But you already know this. So you may wonder what am I really trying to say?
We live in an age where common marketing knowledge is that: One, the customer is always right and, two, everyone who expresses interest in your product is your potential customer.
Both of these claims are half-lies and perpetuated by people who have never run their own business. I said half-lies because they still work for large organisations which sell low cost mass-produced stuff; fast food restaurants, banks and Government departments. But not for a small business who specialises in a sophisticated product which is built to last for generations and requires regular maintenance.
There are three groups of people who are never right, nor potential customers: those who ask for a discount, those who question our expertise and those who ask if they can return a watch for a refund if it is not to their liking. I beg you not to deal with them, ever. If we are to remain in business, keep building watches, and investing in manufacturing facilities, we simply must say NO to such requests.
Do not listen to experts who say that there is no harm in selling a product with some discount. Yes, you will sell the watch, and probably still make some profit, but when you adopt such a sales model, very soon you will realise that you are not discounting your watches but your brand. And since you are the brand, you are discounting yourself.
Guard firm your expertise! We have worked hard to get where we are now, and we have an obligation to continue to learn. But don’t waste your time arguing with fools, of whom there are plenty. Spend your time improving your skills, read, listen, educate yourself and associate with those who are better than you.
People who talk over you, ask questions but don’t listen to your answer, or question your expertise and reputation are not your customers.
A person who wants you to build him a custom watch and then expect you to take it back for a full refund is simply a thief. He steals your time with a smile. He does not care about your watch, your story or your reputation; he only cares about himself. You don’t want to deal with someone who will tell everyone that your watch failed to impress them but only with customers who will love your watches so much that they will wear them daily, become your ambassadors, and tell all their friends.
So when someone calls you or emails you, don’t talk but listen; don’t reply without reading carefully. In no time you will be able to tell who IS your customer and who isn’t. It’s as easy as that.
You should not have to have the slightest doubt in this proven business model. We are not rug traders, we are watchmakers. After all, this is precisely what our family has been doing for three generations, and so should you.