What are the special qualifications I must have to be
successful in selling stockings?

It is not sufficient just to have a liking for the atmosphere of the stocking department, although it is an essential element in the make-up of a really good saleswoman to have the “feel” of her department.

It is very necessary to have the ability to cope with, and to take an interest in, totally divergent types of individuals—in a great many shops, sales staff is engaged on a looks-personality basis.

A pleasing appearance is, of course, necessary, but this in itself is not sufficient, personality and the ability to get along generally with people being of even more importance. The retail trade requires these qualifications to a peculiar degree, so many contacts being made in the course of a day’s work, and—all other things being equal—these attributes of enthusiasm, ability to mix, and personal good grooming should in time produce the really top-rating saleswoman. Important as are these qualities, however, the necessary selling experience, and a knowledge of her subject are an absolute essential, so enabling intelligent discussions with customers on the finer points of the hosiery displayed.

By virtue of magazines, radio, and the cinema, shoppers are today in possession of a great many facts regarding the articles they buy, stockings being widely publicised, and the demand for a saleswoman who is an authority on her subject was never more urgent than now.

Customers enter a shop or store in the expectation of buying, and they wish to find sympathetic help. They may have some knowledge of the stockings they want to buy, but they expect to be given more complete information. In a certain degree they have formed a decision, but they expect the saleswoman to show much more decisiveness (based on a knowledge of her subject) and so direct the final purchase.

A lot is being heard at the moment about staff training in the departmental store, but up to the time of writing, no shop or store has evinced any special interest in the art of selling stockings. There are few sections more interesting—or for that


will come back to it regularly afterwards—the buying of stockings from you must be remembered by the customer as a pleasant event. The saleswoman who sincerely desires to make friends seldom fails, and with this desire go most of all the other things that matter, such as the readiness to make oneself useful, and the wish to understand and anticipate the needs and wishes of your customer. A pleasant and sincere manner (which is the best expression of friendliness), a smile and a pleasant greeting are the first elements of a successful approach to the first customer of the day—and to the last.

Personality is an endowment—use it in the developing of thought and effort, and in the cultivation of the qualities that give background, depth, and ability to grasp any situation which may arise. Endeavour to make every transaction in such a way as to begin a new friendship or confirm an old one.

Your aim then should be to make your shop—not just a place for handing over goods in exchange for money, but a living organisation combining efficiency and courtesy with a keen desire to be of service. True courtesy is a different thing from etiquette, and covers a friendly, considerate and sincere attitude in not only dealing with people, but in liking people. A shop stands or falls by the service it gives its customers.

Business service is exemplified in anything done or said to please, instruct, or benefit customers for the purpose of winning their goodwill. Increased sales, and added prestige to the retailer will result.

Even a small shop can give this service, which will make it distinctive, and will become its most valuable asset.

Women go where they like when setting out on a shopping expedition, and certain buying experiences recollected by them, direct them towards a shop or away from it. A vital fact to remember is that every woman has a decided opinion about every shop in which she has been served—who knows, she may have a Black List or a White List?

What a retailer thinks about his shop is a matter of small importance; it is his customers’ opinion of it that decides his success or his failure in business