Contributed by a $2.5M Madison Ave Sales Associate
I have been working in this business for quite a while. I started as a simple apprentice, cleaning floors and organizing stockrooms. As a child I watched my father and mother working long hours, to take us on amazing trips and enjoy good food. Because of this I was never scared of doing hard work, and giving more than what was expected. My career grew fast, from apprentice to sales, to store manager, to multi-store management.
Since day one I was trying to create a story…a picture and then step into it. I would make stories in my head that make selling much easier and more pleasant. I eventually realized managing was not my thing – I missed connecting with clients and creating those stories. I now work as a salesperson for a beautiful luxury brand on Madison Avenue, and those stories I used to create in my head are now coming alive.
These stories are usually accompanied by a specific song, a background, and have a title and job. They help me make outfits for clients for their business trips or pleasure – sometimes it would be a trip to Hong Kong or an exotic safari trip with their family, or simply going to Art Basel to Miami to scout new art. My clients become the muse of my stories that I call mood boards.
I make a mood board for everything. In fact, I spoil my clients so much that I can’t sell them anything without making a brand new board, or filing it under an existing one. I feel like I fall in love with my customers and they fall in love with me.
One good example is my dear Sophia (name changed). One day Sophia walked in while talking to her beau…she was like a dream come true. She looked like she had just walked out of my mood board called “a Parisian affair.”
She spoke English but every once-in-a-while she would throw in some French words like… “mon cherie!” A dream come true! I watched her carefully and saw pieces she glanced at and touched. I knew her size instantly, figured out her silhouette, and knew immediately what would look good on her. I saw how she and her beau interacted and my story started.
As he walked into the men’s department at a gentle pace, I accompanied Sophia to women’s. I knew in a second what I would sell her. I picked a few items as a first approach…she glimpsed at them while flirting with her beau and taking a business call in the other hand. Her blink of approval gave me enthusiasm to keep pulling things and making outfits in my head. While pulling things I was observing her way of talking on her business calls, the way she moved and handled things. That was enough for my board to come alive. I started thinking about a trip for them to Paris, to visit art and drink wine in romantic bistros.
I can’t tell you how long this lasted, but that day she spent $60k without hesitation. She has been a top client for the last 3 years since, and she only shops by mood board. Now before every visit she makes an appointment and gives me the title for a new mood board and the deadline for when she needs it.
I now realize that what makes me successful is understanding and listening to what the client needs, and making them fall in love with me and the way I show product. I think being a salesperson is a calling. It is inside you…a passion. I love my job and I can’t hide it. Unless you love what you do, you cannot do a good job and make customers trust you.