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Product familiarity breeds contentment

You have to work hard to get customers into your shop, no matter how much loyalty you have built up over the years. Customers need a little encouragement, or certainly a reminder, to come and spend their hard-earned cash on the clothes you have to offer.

What I do expect is that when customers come into the shop, my staff are armed with in-depth product knowledge to ensure they can offer the best advice possible. I’ve been helped with this information from a number of suppliers who have been very keen to endorse their product, with some visiting the shop to impart their knowledge to staff and customers alike.

However, there are a number of suppliers who couldn’t care less. Even at the point of selling their product, their lack of knowledge is sometimes astounding. I’ve been impressed by sales representatives who can not only show you how a collection is put together but know the fabric content and (one in particular springs to mind) know practically every single style number off pat. They get the best out of their collections because they sell it well. But on the other hand, I have been into showrooms where sales reps have no understanding of what they are selling.

Having product knowledge, whatever you are selling, is key to making a good sale.

The principles are the same whatever the product; be it a car, house or furniture. Unless you know what you are talking about, the customer won’t trust you and you lose out on a sale.

I thank all of those suppliers who are helpful, who support their product even when it has left the showroom. To those who aren’t, unless you get your
act together, your sales will suffer.

  • Becky Furbank is managing director of womenswear indie Anne Furbank in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk

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