SA = sales associate (NOT shoe assistant!). I know for some people, the fact that I talk about SAs night and day might seem odd. The idea definitely takes some getting used to. I'm not saying that you NEED SAs to shop but they can make your shopping experience SO much easier...especially during sale season. SAs often give priority to their customers. Not because they're snooty but because of altruistic reciprocation. Sorry, I was a evolutionary biology major in college :) Anyhow, SAs give priority to existing customers because its their way of thanking you for giving them commission in the past. Its also a way for them to ensure a higher chance of getting commission again from you. I've been getting questions lately related to SAs so I thought I would share some tips with you:
1. Ask friends, family, forums, etc if they have any recommendations. Let the SA know who referred you. If you dont have any good referrals, thats okay! Go out and meet SAs on your own :) Just like its okay to walk into a store for the very first time, it is also okay to call a store for the very first time.
2. Always call - emails are usually not a good idea with SAs that you dont know. Its a lot easier to delete a email than it is to hang up on a person.
3. Dont be afraid to be a pest. I'm not saying you need to beg but if they dont know you, give them a call every once in awhile or visit them in person. You dont have to buy but this is building up familiarity. Questions are always good. You're showing that you're genuinely interested and trying to learn more from them. Its also okay to check with them on the status of your order. SAs will always promise to call you when the items come in but I always like to just call every couple of weeks and see if they have any updates. If they forget you the first couple of times, dont be discouraged, just let them know what you got from them last time or when you last spoke to them.
4. Be loyal. You need to look at SAs like they're just another friend. No backstabbing! Stick to one SA!! Also, do not betray their trust. If they ask you keep inside information on the DL, keep it on the DL. Blabbing to every one will mean no more insider information and you might even get your SA in trouble.
5. Related to the point #4, SAs ARE your friends. Chat with them like you would with any other pal. Thank you cards, Christmas cards, or even small gifts wouldn't hurt. Of course, dont kiss ass. Thats not necessary. Being polite and respectful is necessary.
6. Put in a good word for your SA whenever you can. If you can give them business from other people, the bond will be that much stronger.
7. Unfortunately, you do need to spend some money at some point. I'm not saying you need to buy every single time you interact with them but you do need to show that you're not just chatting them up because you're lonely. They need to see that you're a serious customer.
8. You can usually tell if the SA will be reliable after one or two transactions. If they seem careless, bad at following up, ignore you, etc - drop them like a hot potato and move on!
9. Be specific with the SA. If you tell them you like everything, its very hard for them to remember you when something comes in. I usually tell them exactly what I like, what I hate, what I'm looking for, what I've liked in the past, what I own, and what I want in the future. This is another way for you to stand out from their other customers.
10. Ask for their card, email address, cell phone, work schedule, etc. You're not trying to be a stalker, you're trying to guarantee you'll be able to contact them anytime you freak out over something new.
*If you would like to get specific SA recommendations from me, please just comment your email to me. All comments come to my email first so you dont have to worry about it being public information. I'll email you as soon as I see your comment in my inbox :)