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COLUMN: A mentor leads to good performance in sales
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COLUMN: A mentor leads to good performance in sales

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Robyn Lynne Benjamin

Robyn writes about everyday people who have touched her in amazing ways. She enjoys time with her family, friends, and pets. Please contact Robyn:

Cabarruscountyitsallgood@gmail.com

Dressed in a tailored navy blue dress, and navy blue high heel shoes, I went to interview for a position in the men's furnishings department of a shopping mall department store.

I was hired by Dane, the positive, personable, and energetic Area Sales Manager. The valuable lessons that I learned from Dane, I still utilize in my current daily retail experiences.

I acquired by experience the new challenge of selling men’s accessories.

Dane taught me how to measure men’s neck sizes, and arm lengths, for dress shirts. My creativity came in useful, when I helped gentlemen match ties to dress shirts and sport coats. Many of these customers returned to ask for my assistance.

Dane was my role model. He had a great deal of energy, and a strong work ethic. Even when I interviewed for the job position, I had to sprint, in high heels, to keep up with him, as he led me from the Guest Services counter to his office.

Prior to Father's Day, shoppers crowded the men's accessory department.

Our store manager, Mr. Bowen, held an early Saturday morning department meeting. He told us, "Be competitive in sales, even if you have to step on each other's faces to make a sale." I am grateful that Dane was motivational, in a more tactful and kind manner, and likely more effective.

Dane had the appearance of a handsome movie star. His wardrobe consisted of expensive suits, shoes, and designer sunglasses, that he sometimes wore inside.

I usually enjoyed being the only woman in the department. When the department "bully" tried to "get my goat," Dane always stood up for me.

Dane appreciated the long hours that I put into the store's inventory procedures. I became a successful salesperson and received a pay raise.

The saddest day of my retail career was Dane's final day at the department store. My favorite all-time supervisor had received a promotion to become store manager at a brand new store in his hometown of South Carolina.

At his "bon voyage" party, Dane said to me, "Robyn, I have great faith in you! Your sales will continue to increase." One month, after Dane had left, the new manager handed me a coveted customer appreciation award.

I learned sales strategies from Dane, on the road to more self-improvement. The most important lesson that I learned was that unpacking and displaying new merchandise was just as essential as selling.

I was surprised to see Dane, a few years later, at a department store in Durham's South Square Mall. He was happy to see me. He offered to be an employment reference for me.

Dane was my mentor. I was his "selling star." On Facebook Messenger, summer 2020, Dane sent me a message, "Robyn, I remember you. You weren't good, you were great!”

Robyn writes about everyday people who have touched her in amazing ways. She enjoys time with her family, friends, and pets. Please contact Robyn: Cabarruscountyitsallgood@gmail.com

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