Sales – It takes time. I repeat the title because it is an important fact of life. I have run companies in the fashion industry for 25 years. But I consider myself a salesperson. Many owners and managers hire salespeople and expect fast results. They invest money in the staff they hire and they want to see quick outcomes. If they don’t they think they are getting business quick enough they move on and hire another person. They put together a road force and aren’t happy if they don’t have enough orders at the first trade show. So they switch people.
A good sales manager knows it takes time to reach out to people and get them to respond. Repeated attempts at contact is required. Even then sometimes a buyer will need to see a line a few times before they decide to buy. If you change salespeople often you don’t have continuity and there is no time for the salesperson to build a relationship with the buyer and the company.
Recently I met with the owner of a very successful fashion company, and asked him why his staff seemed able to write large amounts of business and his response was very simple ‘me and my team have been here a long time’. It was obvious when talking to this very successful individual that he thought that too much staff churn can reduce your chances of being successful, that constantly investing money in new people for only short periods was a costly and futile exercise for all. By building rapport between the salespeople and the buyers, the salespeople not only develop a synergy but they learn what works for the stores so that the retailer is successful with the product.
Of course there are poor salespeople. But you can tell by the activity level if a salesperson is doing their job. But keep in mind that sales do not happen overnight and it is a process. Communication between you and your seller about what they are doing and how you can help them will increase their opportunities for success. Give the sales process the time it needs to develop a healthy and growing business.
Maria Pesin knows fashion, especially the business side of the fashion industry. Do you know how Manolo Blahnik got his start in the industry? How he leveraged a paltry 3 grand into one of the world’s most famous luxury brands? While she doesn’t take credit for Manolo’s success, Maria has walked a similar path on numerous occasions. The world of fashion is not silicon valley, and it has nothing to do with Madison Avenue marketing. In this industry there is ALWAYS room for something new and exciting, but you have to have your ducks in a row. If that’s what you need, believe me, Maria is the General Patton of fashion ducks!
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