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Tips for Making the Sale

August 17, 2009

Even the best products (apparel in our case) in the world needs a qualified and trusted introduction. All of us, at one time, needed to be talked into test driving the car we bought or accepting a sommelier’s wine recommendation.  In the world of menswear, the same rules apply; our clients come to us because we are the clothing experts and they often look to us for guidance and fashion advice.

When focused on meeting the needs of your customer, word choice may be just as important as garment selection. By phrasing questions in a more direct manner, for example “Which one of these do you want?”, you’ll be more likely to meet your client’s expectations thereby avoiding the chance he may leave empty handed and unsatisfied.

Don’t pre-judge your customer’s style or purchasing power. By making assumptions about a person, you are taking away their power to decide, consequently restricting their options and creating a self-fulfilling prophecy in which he will have a disappointing experience or purchase.

When visiting a store out West, I had an opportunity to assist the staff for a short time. In walked a gentleman, unshaven and wearing jeans with a t-shirt, and mentioned he needed a pair of black trousers. Instead of showing him our basic black high-twist, I started with our more expensive and unique fancy black slacks.  He had an immediate reaction to the patterns and asked to see other more interesting trousers. Next thing I knew, he picked out an Antonio Valente sport jacket, 2 trousers and 3 ready-to-wear shirts (2 sport shirts and one dress shirt). He left the store with a smile and has since returned several times.

If I had been prejudiced by any first impressions concerning the client’s style or financial position, I would have stepped back while a staff member assisted him with finding a basic black slack, by another brand, with a price tag of under $200.00 (at Antonio Valente, we don’t have trousers that retail under $200.00). Instead, I started by showing him the store’s highest quality trouser and the more unique fabric choices, regardless of price. I left the decision up to him whether or not I hit the mark.  If he wasn’t receptive, I could have then referred to the Antonio Valente basic black high twist and there would have been no damage done to the relationship he and I started to build.

Think of selling clothing like a first date; putting your best foot forward not only applies to personal appearance but also to your delivery and your proposition. Always start by showing the best you have and work your way backwards.

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