I have worked with many sales people over the course of my career, having been one myself for several years. I am always amazed and I always feel inspired by the ability of these men and women to overcome fatigue, stress and doubt, to face strangers every day and to connect well enough with them to confirm a transaction. They have been an inspiration to me.
In many ways, the work of a high jewelry sales person appears easy. They risk very little yet enjoy a position over the designers and craftsmen who offer up their work and their selves to the judgment of our clients. They thrive on inspiring the high spenders to acquire a rare jewel, reassuring their employers on the merit of their investments and they evolve daily in a luxurious environment composed of the most tasteful decorum possible. Sometimes they take part in private events, escorting those clients who appreciate their company and with whom they share a professional friendship. Through time, they gain respect from their coworkers and managers thanks to successful sales. Their business achievements place them in return in a special position of influence within their company’s structure, because they know where the money comes from and how to get it. They have also been groomed by the specific requirements needed to hold their position: the art of speech and presentation, general culture, a mature and strategic mindset to handle business negotiations. It is exciting to be part of a world which does not show the trivialities of Life and focuses on aestheticism to promote a successful way of living. Selling luxury is a glamourous camouflage to the daily worries of the people. There is spirituality in the ability to detach ourselves from these worries, as it allows us to rest our minds.
But the bitter truth sales people must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of jewelry is more meaningful than its price and how it was sold. They translate only momentarily the codes and market value of an object and of a brand to be understood by a potential spender. The object will always be there, generation after generation, and it has been crafted and designed by an individual who has managed to share his visions to the world. Who remembers the sales people who helped clients acquire the first Cartier and Boucheron , the Faberge, the Lalique...all these pieces which today appear at auction houses and inspire awe and admiration?
The reality is that a high jewelry sales person must remain discrete for he/she serves the interested of the rich and powerful who seek confidentiality. This allows them to enter a world they would never probably know, and in return they must remain in the shadows. Their personal contributions will not mark time and will be forgotten over the decades. Sales people disappear without a trace in the history of a jewel.
The daily life of a sales person is stressful. They do not control regular schedules and working overtime is a necessity to reach sales targets. They are often managed by people who have never sold and who have never been working in a boutique for more than a few weeks in their careers. A sales person must therefore not only manage his/her clients, but his/her managers as well.
Sales people are the true forgotten heroes of an industry which survives mainly thanks to human relationships. When times are bad in their private lives, not only will sales people have to focus on their work during working hours but they will also have to present themselves with energy and passion to promote their brand. Sales people must acquire resilience and determination, patience and focus, passion and know how. These qualities are rarely found in humans. And clients will always prefer to trust someone to advise them in their high jewelry acquisitions, and for the element of trust to exist and grow in between them it is essential for them to have a relationship. We are challenged every day to interact with one another, protected through the screens of our cell phones and tablets, spinning in a twirl of information, visual and audio entertainments which blind us from one another. In this world we live in, building relationships is difficult. It is an art. Performing sales people master the skills to make themselves be remembered by people they have hardly met, they become reliable advisers and friends.
Whenever you go visit a high jewelry salon the next time, please remember to be kind to those who provide the service. They are stronger than you think, friendlier than you expect, and most importantly they are heroes. Don’t forget Karma.