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How to Be a Suit Salesman

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Being a successful suit salesman is about more than just selling a certain number of suits every month. A successful suit salesman knows the importance and deeper meaning behind each piece that he's selling, and he cultivates relationships with his customers that reflect the professionalism a suit stands for.

Put the Customer First

A good salesman will impress his customers by being honest and placing greater importance on the customer's appearance than on his potential sale. If a suit doesn't fit right or if a style doesn't look good on your customer, tell him. But how you word this revelation is paramount. Don't say that the customer's too big for the suit or somehow put him down. Tell him plainly that the suit doesn't flatter him and you won't sell him a suit that will make him look less professional and impressive to clients and colleagues.

Remember Your Customers' Preferences

A key element that makes a suit salesman stand out is his desire to cultivate relationships. A typical suit salesman may treat customers as if he's never going to see them again. But a successful suit salesman gets to know each customer, understanding where the customer works, his budget and the types of suits he typically needs. Learn the customer's color and style preferences, so you can suggest matching shirts and ties that the customer will like. If the customer can simply walk into the store and you automatically know what types of suits he wants based on a previous visit, you will make a lasting impression.

Do Your Own Marketing

Some salesman rely on the clothing retailer to handle tasks such as marketing and staying in touch with previous customers. However, if you want to be a successful suit salesman, take matters into your own hands and treat your customers as if it's your own mini-business. Keep a running list of the people you've sold suits to and contact them personally to let them know about new sales and new products that they might be interested in. Do your own marketing and you could see a big uptick in your sales.

Express the Importance of a Suit

If you think of suits as boring and pretty much believe that they all look the same, you won't have much success. But if you understand the importance and symbolism behind a good suit and express this to your customers, you'll likely see better sales. For example, in an interview for a December 2010 Times Free Press article, Melvin Odom Jr., a salesman with Belk, told Holly Leber that he considers suits the modern-day version of armor that you wear into battle. A good suit prepares you to meet the challenges of the day and symbolizes your future success.

Be a Suit Savant

When your customer needs a specific type of suit, you should know instantly where the suits are and which ones will work best for his needs. Don't fumble around having to think through the store's selections -- know them cold. Understand how the fit of a suit works and be able to explain that to your customer, especially if he's requesting a fit that actually won't look good on him. If you're an expert in suits and communicate that successfully, your customers will trust your recommendations.


With features published by media such as Business Week and Fox News, Stephanie Dube Dwilson is an accomplished writer with a law degree and a master's in science and technology journalism. She has written for law firms, public relations and marketing agencies, science and technology websites, and business magazines.

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