What The Fashion Industry Taught Me About Crushing Tech Sales

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After graduating from college in 2003, I ran the St. John Knits department at Neiman Marcus in Troy (suburb of Detroit), Michigan. It was unusual for Neiman Marcus to hire a new grad into a sales management position, but I couldn’t make things much worse. We were the 33rd worst performing store out of 35 nationwide. When I left Neiman Marcus, our store ranked 3rd in the country.

Neiman Marcus might seem like an odd training ground for tech sales, and that is exactly why it was so helpful. In fashion, I learned that how you sell is more important than what you sell.

At the St. John Knits department, the jackets alone could run you $3,000 to $5,000. The bragging points of a $3,000 coat are not unlike the bragging points of a software platform. But unlike most tech companies, which tout features and benefits, we focused on the experience.

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