Sales associates are the unsung heroes of the luxury world. They can really make or break an experience and be the key to helping you hunt down that hard to find item or be the ones to help put you on the waitlist for those limited edition ones. They are our knowledgeable experts through luxury. And they are our closest confidants in getting to know, understand and love a brand.
I actually started writing a blog post on why relationships with luxury sales associates are important, but it ended up morphing into my experience on building relationships (in typical fashion, since I always feel the need to be as thorough as possible), so I thought I would split the two up and talk about them separately. That way it would be easier for you guys to navigate and will probably be more coherent, as I won’t try to tackle the subject all at once.
First and foremost, you should try to building meaningful and intentional relationships. For me, a sales associate is my guide; they are the most knowledgeable and have information on everything within the brand. I know for some people, sales people are just there to help serve them or are customer support, but beyond that, for me they are the people who are going to help me get to know a brand. If I’m going to be trusting someone with guiding me through a brand, I would hope that they would know me pretty well and that I can trust them. In order to do that, it requires getting to know them on a more personal level too. Also – this is a slight tangent from the point but something I feel very strongly about – sales associates are people too and everyone deserves to be treated with kindness. So even if you aren’t after building a relationship with a SA, it doesn’t cost you a single cent more to be kind and courteous when interacting with them.
Sometimes I meet a sales associate who I feel I just don’t click with, and that is okay. You are going to meet sales associates that you feel little to no connection with – that’s okay. I have come across sales associates who I just felt like I didn’t vibe with plenty of times. Don’t force it and instead just always be friendly. Always thank them for their time. Even if you don’t find a sales associate you feel understands you, if they were nice and helpful, you still found a sales associate who is nice and helpful. That is always a win in my book because you’ll have more sales associates in your network if you ever need anything. And if you really didn’t get along with them, the good thing is that it is in your power to chose how and where to spend your money.
Maybe you don’t feel an instant connection to a sales associate right away. You can still build up that relationship over time. A solid relationship is not built on one meeting or one conversation, but trust and consistency over time. Maybe you didn’t quite hit it off with a sales associate, that doesn’t automatically rule them out. Continue to work with them and build your rapport with them within reason. I have an SA that I didn’t immediately hit it off with, but with each subsequent visit, we have both opened up more and now its quite easy to shop with her.
You do not need to see your sales associate face-to-face when you work with them and can have SA’s from all over. The great thing about shopping in the States is that you can shop with SAs all over the country. You don’t need to live close to a boutique to shop and you also don’t need to go in-person to shop (for some boutiques, you will need some sort of purchase history in order to do this though). Many SA’s are more than happy to text or email you photos of things, which I have learned is quite helpful in building a relationship; since they’re texting you photos of new products or launches, you’ll get chances outside of the store to interact with your SA. You can let them know what you like, and eventually they will keep an eye out for things that you might be interested in. Also, going back to what I mentioned earlier, this is a great way to build up a network of people to help you hunt down an item or reserve one if you are ever in need.
At the end of the day, they are still a sales associate and this is their job. You need to spend money to build a relationship. That does not mean you need to be spending a crazy amount of money, but you still need to be spending something. If you are walking into the boutique to chat or say hello without purchasing anything, and constantly do that, it gets a little old for them to pull things out or spend time with you when you are not a good patron to them. Be thoughtful of their time and if you appreciate it, show them you do by taking something home (**something that you absolutely love and can afford**). This is still a client-and-sales relationship, no matter how friendly you and your SA are.
I hope you found this helpful, or at least insightful into the way I see relationships with my sales associates. This post was inspired by and dedicated to the many SA’s I have worked with throughout the years. Although I highly doubt any of them even know my blog exist, I am always so grateful for the my sales associates and want to take this time to show my appreciation for them. So a huge thank you to Angie, Benjamin, Linda and Rachel. Thank you for your expertise always and I am always to grateful to have good people like you guys helping me out!
What is your approach to building relationships with sales associates? Let me know down below!