Diary of an agent: from California, USA
18 June 2020
Our team is happy to present you a new series of posts: Diary of an Agent. Our first guest writer is a well-known agent based in California, USA who prefers to stay anonymous.
As I wake up to the business in California, I must have some gratitude for my life. I have a healthy family and resources than other reps in the same situation. This does not make me feel better than them but instead the desire to help others.
I know my storeowners are very resilient and are working very hard to re-open their stores. I have been very impressed with the store's new websites, and social media live interactions they have had with their customers. Sure, I know that some of my stores will not make it, but my belief is most of them will. Some of my brands could and will not pay my commissions and had to say goodbye to those relationships. Some of my brands were able to step up to the plate and proved to me they had integrity and a will to fight.
So today, I have half a business with half my overhead. It is a great time to evaluate the way I have been pressured to do business. Spending all my profit on shows and employees does not sound like my plan for 2021, but instead, Zoom sales and new business ideas to help the industry save resources and most of all the still suffering and struggling sales rep.
Now some regions are opening showrooms and buildings, and what I see is that sales reps are willing to risk their employees and own life to sell another dress. I view this as courageous and hazardous. What are we to do when a store walks into our showroom in Atlanta and takes off their mask, do I turn them down? What do I do when my salesperson then takes down her mask? I see some agents are attending the shows, but I also see the older reps who are more at risk are not showing up. I am trying to wrap my head around Vegas, and NY shows in September, will they actually go on and will I attend? So much to think about, I will now get my mind back to today.
I am hustling to get my customers to join me on Zoom calls. Back in March, I was not sure if I should contact my customers, but I did. I decided to reschedule my road and show appointments with personal one on one video calls. I sold more in two months than I would have if I went on the road. Why does everyone get stuck on touching in our industry? Why do brands expect me to do the same thing I did 30 years ago? This is a time of change, including making sure we are adding diversity to our team. Black lives matter, and in our industry, we need to all re-evaluate if we have given enough black people a chance to learn and grow from our experience, strength, and hope.
If you are reading this, please think about reaching out to someone who is struggling and listen to them. If someone is asking for help, it may be an excellent opportunity to get out of ourselves and do service.
Photo credit: https://www.pexels.com/@karolina-grabowska