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The garment industry is particularly accessible to people who want to become a clothing sales representative at the retail level. Retail clothing stores tend to hire people with outgoing personalities who can interact with customers in a professional manner. At the wholesale or distributor level, clothing manufacturers look for customer sales representatives who are proficient salespeople and have a network of retail contacts to help place their merchandise.
Clothing sales can require at least three different types of sales representatives. At the wholesale or distributor level, sales reps are used to place clothing lines in stores. The job consists of persuading retail outlets to carry the products by working a showroom, participating in trade shows and going on the road to sell merchandise at potential retail sites. To become a clothing sales representative at this level, you can have a varied background, but you must be proficient in sales.
You can demonstrate a proficiency in sales through prior performance. Sales representatives at this level often earn a majority of their salary from commissions that are based on successfully moving merchandise. Many employers will expect you to point to prior experiences where you have exceeded sales goals. Your experiences should also demonstrate the ability to develop a market, identify sales leads and build a network.
An educational background in business, marketing, sales or the retail industry can help you become a clothing sales representative if you lack practical sales experience. There are trade schools, community colleges and four-year degree programs that offer education and training in these areas. You will benefit from having background knowledge of the way the clothing industry works; however, employers will still typically value a demonstrated ability to deliver sales over a knowledge of the theory behind sales and marketing.
Another type of clothing sales rep that requires the same credentials is a person who makes direct sales to other businesses. These individuals sell merchandise directly to corporations and organizations, such as work uniforms, team apparel and blank merchandise for customization. To become a clothing sales representative at this level, you will need the same credentials as a sales rep working at the wholesale or distributor level. Employers additionally expect you to have your own network of contacts that will help you place and sell the merchandise.
At the retail store level, it is relatively easy to become a clothing sales representative. Many employers will hire a person with a high school education, if he seems capable of dealing effectively with customers. Retail stores often have their own training programs for entry-level sales reps, so they are able to hire people based on intangibles. You may not necessarily need a specific educational background or prior experience to become a clothing sales representative at this level, but you will need to exhibit an outgoing personality, a courteous manner and be sharp enough to learn the store's sales system.