Our guide to making the “impossible” happen by “dating” your local Rolex AD.
I can see it now, the eye rolls at this topic. “Yeah yeah yea, there’s no way!” And if that’s how you genuinely feel, then maybe this article isn’t for you. But for those of you who have faith and believe it can happen, most importantly those who have some patience, keep reading!
I think the last two years of watch collecting have made many of us jaded when it comes to buying Rolex watches. It almost makes me wish I weren’t so involved in this hobby because then I’d have the ignorance to think that it’s possible to just walk into a store and buy a watch. You and I know this isn’t the case. But what if it’s not as impossible as we’ve made it seem? What if you don’t actually have to buy countless other watches and jewelry pieces for the opportunity to buy a simple steel watch? I’m here to tell you it’s possible!
Before I get into the “how”, I want to tell a quick story about a friend of mine who lives in New York (arguably one of the biggest watch markets in the United States). When the new Explorer was introduced in 36mm, she knew it had to be hers. But there was a problem, she didn’t have a relationship with any watch retailer. And she, like many of us, didn’t have the desire or the spare income to purchase a ton of random pieces to buy what she actually wanted. So the hunt began. There was a lot of doubt and even more frustration. But just when she had almost given up completely, she got a call just a few weeks ago. She got her dream watch, at a major AD in New York City, with no spend history at all.
So how do you do it? How can we best position ourselves to get the call?…..well, simply put, it’s more than the typical advice of building a relationship with your AD. You need to look at it as dating your AD. Think about the basic concepts of dating. It’s about communication, consistency, and patience. These three ideas are crucial to any relationship!
Communication. Firstly and most importantly, this needs to be done in person! Imagine showing up to a first date by just calling or sending an email. You just wouldn’t. Think about the number of phone calls and emails these dealers receive on a daily basis. They may write down the information and then it gets lost and forgotten because you simply can’t build a relationship in a 5 minute call. You need to physically go into the AD.
And here’s where so many make their mistake…don’t immediately ask about Rolex! Start talking to a few of the sales people and find someone that you connect with. This may take more than one visit to the store, but it’s important that you find the salesman (woman) who you feel would most have your back. No one respects the person who only calls you when they want something, but doesn’t ask about your day. Getting the goods takes effort, and it’s all about building a mutually respectful relationship. This is not a hard concept, yet it is not executed often enough.
Only after you find that person and have begun a relationship should you bring up that you’re looking for a Rolex. Make it casual, almost informal. Like an “oh, by the way if you get a Submariner in I’d love to be considered to purchase it”. You can’t be pushy, that’s what everyone else does and these sales teams don’t respond to that. Just keep it casual!
Consistency. Now that you have your salesperson and have made those crucial initial impressions, you can’t just fall off the face of the earth. Just like many people make the mistake of starting a conversation with “I’m looking for a Submariner”, the majority of would-be collectors state their interest and then just wait on a magical phone call someday. The problem with this mindset is that it allows you to be forgotten. Sure, you and Joe the sales guy probably had a really great chat and made a great connection, but Joe has since spoken to three dozen people by the end of the week and you’re a distant memory.
You need to follow up with your salesperson. Again, this needs to be done in person when possible to make the best impact and to make sure you're “memorable”. Drop-in for store events they might be having. Go check out a new watch that was released by another brand. Any excuse to go in other than for your Rolex! Schedule an appointment ahead of time with your salesperson to make sure they’re there and drop in to look at other watches. Then just as before, casually remind them that you’d love the opportunity to purchase the Rolex you’re looking for. Here’s the thing, this step takes balance! You can’t bug them too much. And don’t go in only on the weekends when they’re busy! But make yourself known in the store.
Patience. Finally the easiest step to dating your AD, but the one that so many of us struggle with. This is not an easy process. This isn’t something that’s going to happen in a few weeks or months. It is going to take time and you need to allow that. Hold out hope that you’re doing all the right things. Remember, it’s possible. Like all good things, it takes time!
I’m not saying this is going to work for everyone or every AD. It’s simply the advice that I’ve given so many people over the last two years, and after hearing that my friend was able to do this in NYC of all places, I’m even more inspired to share some tips. As someone who has spent a lot of time working in an AD and has many friends who still do, trust me, there’s more to it than just spend history! Give it a try and let us know in the comments what other advice you’d give! For more great tips on how to buy a Rolex at MSRP click here!
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