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天才推销员

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让-克劳德·比弗,瑞士钟表制造商的救世主,他知道奢侈品该怎样卖
Jean-Claude Biver, the saviour of several Swiss watchmakers, has a knack for selling luxury
让-克劳德·比弗的农场俯瞰日内瓦湖,每年一段时间他都会在那做奶酪。他用的牛奶仅产于每年阿尔卑斯山上草坪开花的短短几周,他用的火是在野外用手工劈出的柴燃起的----这两样的成本就比其他奶酪的售价还高。奶酪完成之前还要花整个夏季来发酵。辛辛苦苦忙完整套工序,每年可以做出5吨奶酪,但他一克也不卖。
ONCE a year, at his farm overlooking Lake Geneva, Jean-Claude Biver makes cheese. He uses milk collected only during the brief few weeks when the Alpine meadows on which his cows graze are in flower. The milk is heated over an open fire made with hand-cut wood, the cost of which alone exceeds the price most cheese would fetch. He leaves it to age all summer. This painstaking process yields five tonnes a year, but he cannot bear to sell a gram of it.
换个思路想,比弗可以任意定价。他做的奶酪能让米其林指南(译者按:美食指南)的作者们如获至宝;瑞士的厨师们也会经常登门拜访求得一二。但比弗的奶酪只给家人和朋友,以及他特别喜欢的几家餐厅,并且拒绝收钱。“如果我不卖他,”比弗解释道,“我就能决定给谁不给谁。直到最后一块,我都是奶酪的主人。”
If Mr Biver changed his mind, he could probably name his price. His cheese can send the authors of Michelin guidebooks into rapture; Switzerland’s best chefs regularly call him begging for some. But he parcels it out only to family and friends, and to restaurants that he particularly likes. And he always refuses payment for the stuff. “If I don’t sell it,” explains Mr Biver, “then I will decide who gets it and who doesn’t. I will be the master of my cheese until the last piece.”
奇怪的是,比弗同时也是一名天才销售。他从2004年开始经营钟表商恒宝(Hublot),今年销售业绩仅下降15%----与瑞士奢侈表行下降30%的总体比起来已经是相当可观的业绩。在2004年到2007年间,恒宝的销售额翻了5倍多。这一创纪录的业绩吸引路易威登(奢侈品集体)在去年将其招至旗下。
Oddly, Mr Biver is also a talented salesman. At Hublot, a watchmaker that he has run since 2004, sales are down by only 15% this year—a considerably better performance than Switzerland’s luxury-watch business as a whole, which has seen sales slump by about 30%. Hublot’s sales increased more than fivefold between 2004 and 2007, a record that enticed LVMH, a luxury-goods conglomerate, to buy the firm last year.
恒宝的成功部分来自于比弗喜欢限量生产的嗜好。生意兴隆时,他总是小心地限制产量:比如,有10支表的订单时他制造7支。钟表商花钱换货,不尽可能的多卖岂不愚蠢?然而对比弗来说,这是关键战略。“你只想要你得不到的”,他说,“人喜欢占有别人得不到的,因此你就必须让顾客保持饥饿和失望。”
Hublot’s success stems in part from Mr Biver’s penchant for rationing his products. He was careful to restrict supply when business was booming, delivering only seven watches, say, when ten were ordered. Jewellers pay cash for stock, so it seems foolish not to sell as many watches as possible. Yet for Mr Biver it is an essential strategy. “You only desire what you cannot get,” he says. “People want exclusivity, so you must always keep the customer hungry and frustrated.”
这一途径在两方面帮助恒宝避开经济衰退。现金紧缺的情况下,零售商会减少其他公司钟表存货而保持买恒宝的产品,因为他们手头上恒宝的产品就不多;钟表商不会像卖其他牌子的产品一样降价卖恒宝产品(钟表制造商只获得钟表最终售价的三分之一)。如此就保持了恒宝的奢华形象和尊贵地位。
This approach has helped shield Hublot from the downturn in two ways. Cash-strapped retailers who have cut costs by running down stocks of other firms’ watches keep buying his, since they did not have many on hand to begin with. And they have not slashed prices for Hublot’s watches, as they have with those of its rivals (watchmakers get only about a third of the final selling price of a watch). That has helped preserve the brand’s image of luxury and exclusivity.
保持存货紧张是比弗1981年的改良战略,之前不久他和一位朋友买下了宝铂(Blancpain)品牌权----宝铂曾为美国海军潜水员提供专用手表,20世纪70年代淡出市场,之后宝铂是该公司剩下的唯一价值。有两点因素吸引了比弗对宝铂的青睐:宝铂声称是瑞士钟表制造的最老品牌;宝铂错过了电池驱动石英计时器的技术改革。
Keeping inventories tight is a strategy Mr Biver refined in 1981 after he and a friend bought the rights to the name Blancpain—all that was left of a firm that had once supplied watches to divers in the American navy but had gone out of business in the 1970s. Two things attracted him to the brand: it claimed to be Switzerland’s oldest watchmaker and it had missed out on the technological revolution of quartz timers powered by batteries.
比弗决定将宝铂的时间差点石成金。亚洲制造的电子表仅售20美金,这一优势抢占了贵十倍的瑞士表的市场,致使瑞士钟表业陷入15年的衰退。劳力士,无可非议的瑞士钟表业领军品牌,最终也跟随潮流开始将电子器件用于钟表制造。
Mr Biver decided to turn this anachronism into a strength. At the time the Swiss watch industry had been in decline for 15 years as Asian digital watches selling for $20 displaced Swiss ones costing ten times as much. Even Rolex, the undisputed champion of Swiss watchmakers, eventually relented and started adding electronics to its timepieces.
比弗却为宝铂设计了一条创新而怀旧的标语:“1735年起,再没有石英宝铂表,再也不会有。比弗一语颠覆了钟表业: 去年机械表占了瑞士钟表出口总值的70%. 重建宝铂10年之后,比弗转手以6千万瑞士法郎将用2万2千瑞士法郎购得的宝铂卖给斯沃琪集团(Swatch Group)。
Mr Biver developed a new, backward-looking slogan for the firm: “Since 1735 there has never been a quartz Blancpain watch. And there never will be.” It turned out to be an industry-changing move. Last year mechanical watches accounted for 70% of the value of Swiss watch exports. A decade after restarting Blancpain, Mr Biver sold it for SFr60m ($43m) to the Swatch Group, having initially paid SFr22,000.
斯沃琪立即委以比弗重振欧米茄(Omega)大任。虽然第一支被带上月球的表由欧米茄制造,但经历了20世纪80年代后,欧米茄却成了一个民族笑话。比弗的方法就是纯粹的营销。他的营销途径在今天看来不足为奇,但在当时确实步步奇特:在詹姆斯·邦德(James Bond)的电影中放入植入广告和明星代言等。他的才智使欧米茄的销量翻了三倍。稍事歇息后,比弗开始在恒宝掌舵。
Swatch promptly charged Mr Biver with turning around its own ailing brand, Omega. Although Omega had made the first watch taken to the moon, it had become something of a national joke by the 1980s. Mr Biver’s approach was pure marketing. He pioneered techniques that would seem commonplace now, such as product placements in James Bond films and celebrity sponsorships. Under his leadership Omega’s sales almost tripled. Following a brief spell in retirement, Mr Biver then took the reins at Hublot.
比弗的成功恰好与钟表业的复苏同步。瑞士钟表业经历了20世纪80年代的低谷后显著回升。去年瑞士钟表出口总值高达170亿瑞士法郎,比2003年增长了70%。但是在目前的衰退境况下,瑞士表业的前景尚不明朗。最高价位的表受到的冲击尤其剧烈:九月铂金表的销售额仅是去年的一半。无论营销技艺如何高超,比弗还得依赖手头有闲钱又爱显摆的顾客。市场最好时,比弗自己也承认在一支表上花10万美金的确有些荒唐。比弗希望,这些表的精准度将继续成为将卖给顾客荒唐中的些许理智。
His success coincides with a broader revival. The Swiss watch industry has staged a remarkable recovery since its nadir in the early 1980s. Last year exports of Swiss watches were valued at SFr17 billion, a 70% increase from 2003. Yet the outlook appears less certain in recessionary times. The most expensive watches have been hit especially hard: in September sales of platinum watches, for instance, were down by nearly half compared with last year. For all his marketing prowess, Mr Biver nonetheless relies on the existence of free-spending consumers with a penchant for showing off. At the best of times, he freely admits, it is hard to justify spending $100,000 on a watch. But the fact that they keep time well, he hopes, will continue to serve as “the little bit of rationality that lets you sell the irrational.”
标签:天才 推销员
11
2009-11-16 22:58 编辑:kuaileyingyu
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