In seeking a sales representative to sell my jewelry line, what qualities should I look for in that person?
1. Confidence - Is the person self-assured and truly knowledgeable? When they donít know an answer, how do they handle it? A willingness to admit they donít know but will learn and get back to you is a sign of a confident salesperson. Do they make eye contact when speaking with you? Handshakes can tell a lot about a person: Remember if you donít receive a good handshake, then you probably won't get a "fair shake". A willingness to accept feedback, especially the negative, without feeling beaten up or rejected, is another important characteristic to consider.
2. Persistence - Persistence in selling is that balanced practice of following up without being a pest. If you made an agreement to a future conversation, did that person contact you as agreed? If you were not available, did they try again in a reasonable length of time? If you called them and they were not immediately available, did you receive a return call promptly? Did you receive a follow up call or letter after your meeting? On the other hand, did they call too often?
3. Enthusiasm - Ask your potential sales representative about their favorite city, sport, food, anything really. Then watch their face and eyes as they reply, and listen to the tone of their voice. Ask them about the other jewelry and accessory lines they carry or about their customer base. Listen and look for a similar tone. Is it spirited and lively conversation, or do you think of Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh stories as they speak?
4. Communication skills - Communication is 90% listening, and while a sales representative may possess a large vocabulary and excellent command of the language, which are certainly important to have, the questions is, how well do they listen? It is the salesmanís ability to listen to your customersí needs and desires and the ability to convey them to you clearly that will grow your business. If they are good, active listeners, and maybe even note-takers, you can be assured that customers will be coming to you for their jewelry needs on a regular basis.
5. Loyalty - The hardest characteristic to assess, many times loyalty can be observed only in retrospect, and circumstances sometimes allow only difficult choices. That aside, there are ways to peek into a salespersonís sense of loyalty. How many years has he or she been associated with other companies? How did he or she treat their jewelry sample lines? The more years a person carries a line, the more likely it is that there were up swings and down swings in their business. When you call the referenced companies, it may be worth asking about the representativeís attitude and activities during the lean times. Their response will be very instructive.
Ask the potential representative about their childhood friends. Perhaps they prefer certain brands or stores and are willing to pay a bit extra for the sake of being a loyal customer. Do they in fact have a long standing relationship with their customers, or are they the loveíem and leaveíem type where they get one order and never go back? Ask how they plan to differentiate your line from the other lines they carry. Ask about their parents or grandparents, and listen carefully to the replies. With carefully chosen questions, the aspects of a personís sense of loyalty and honesty will present themselves.
Keep in mind that any sales representative worth their salt will be looking for these attributes in you and your attitude towards your jewelry , so remember during your interviews to show confidence in yourself and your jewelry, follow up as you would like to be contacted, donít be afraid to show excitement and enthusiasm over what you have to offer, listen well to the answers you receive and remember to appreciate your long time friends and business associates who carried you through your start up and lean times.
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