Behind the scenes – the art of selling September 12 2014, 0 Comments

Many folk consider sales people to be the devil incarnate, and let’s face it, some of them are. Overpriced double glazing, dodgy dusters and dubious broadband packages are not things anyone wants to buy and some of the perpetrators are downright strange (my most memorable experience was of a door to door salesman selling martial arts lessons who first asked me if my mum was at home and then, almost in the same breath, whether I was married).

But our own sales manager is the antithesis of all these things. I suspect she would have been something very cuddly and fluffy in a previous life. She also has the uncanny ability to know very nearly everything that goes on here – not to mention why and how it happens and probably being the person who made it happen 80% of the time. My questions barely scratched the surface of what goes on, but it’s enough to make me want a tea break just thinking about it.

What do you do on a typical day?

My role as Sales and Business Development Manager means that I am continuously looking for new retailers and opportunities for our three brands as well as developing existing relationships. I speak to our customers on a daily basis to see what’s happening in the market and to discuss how our ranges are selling.

At the start of each new season, I arrange appointments with all our key customers to present the new range to them, as well as approaching new customers/retailers to show them the new products and see if there is an opportunity to work with them.

We have five agents in each territory for our brands around the UK and Ireland and I speak to them daily as it’s my job to provide key information which will assist them in selling our ranges. Our agents will give us market updates and customer feedback on the range on a daily basis as well as at sales conferences, which we now hold twice a year to present the new ranges.

Monday is usually our busiest day as we receive sell-through updates for the brands from our retailers; these updates tell us what is selling well and it helps us develop new styles for the next range.

Stock management is also key, as I need to make sure we have enough stock to sell each season! I review our stock daily and then co-ordinate with production and design. We have product meetings when our designer Dee is developing the next range; we all sit down as a team and look at the trends and the range as a whole, assess which styles sold well this season and move-on styles. We look at fabrics for new seasonal styles and the next stage starts for developing the next range.

We also have weekly internet meetings, to discuss our website and our social media plans.

What’s the best thing about your job?

Speaking to and meeting our customers, whether it’s the buyers, retailers or agents, it’s the best part of the job. It’s always great when our brand is selling well and our customers appreciate our customer services, which we are always being complimented on :)

Any bad things?

Spreadsheets….lots of spreadsheets. But I’m almost expert now! (Almost…)

What do you think is the most important aspect of your job?

Looking for new avenues for the business and communicating with customers.

Favourite JLB shirt?

My favourite shirt for Autumn Winter is BRYANT, we have brought BRYANT back this season and we will have three colours, Sky, Navy and Black.

Also our new Blazers HUNT and HORATIO look amazing! 

I’d be flat on my back doing just half of that, so maybe it’s true that sales people aren’t quite human...

Anyway next time I’ll be delving into all things digital and interviewing the website manager and possibly, weirdly, myself.