How To Be a Good Lingerie Consultant: Tips for Becoming an Underwear Guru
“Your aim will be empowering customers whenever they walk into your business. This can only boost your image as a good consultant.”
by Michelle Broomes
In the professional arena, a consultant is often viewed as a trusted, knowledgeable person who knows exactly what a customer needs and goes the extra mile to ensure that they get it. Professional consultants need to know exactly how to conduct themselves so that they make customers feel confident about the goods and services on offer to them.
In my experience of lingerie consulting, there is nothing more rewarding than knowing that I had assisted a customer in resolving an underwear dilemma by introducing them to the appropriate lingerie item, whilst allowing them to build trust in my opinion as to what suited them best. To me, that’s what good consulting is all about. Now I want to offer some tips on how to be a good lingerie consultant. I have found many of the following points invaluable to my work. They are not only for the newcomers to the profession but for those who need a light refresher!
“A good bra fitter is going to make you feel comfortable,” says Elisabeth Dale
1. Have a passion for lingerie
When we have a passion for something we are more likely to speak about it in ways that excite others. The lingerie consultant can make a customer like the most basic bra by speaking about it in a manner that gets that customer excited. Passion also makes you want to learn more about products and the more you learn the more knowledge you can pass on to customers. This can enhance the service that you give.
2. Learn to fit lingerie wellA good lingerie consultant needs to know how to fit bras and other lingerie items well. Some consultants fit by tape measure and some by observation (fit-by-eye). Others might have a mixed approach. The important thing to note is that the method used should bring the customer to the correct and most effective way to wear the item. Many lingerie companies offer on-the-job training for staff but if you want to go into a company with some fit knowledge you can do short courses. In the UK, courses are offered at De Montfort University in Leicester as well as by fitting expert Lindsey Brown (you can check out her course at www.brafittingcourse.co.uk ).
3. Learn the anatomy of the breast
Would you trust a mechanic who didn’t know the parts of a car and how they work? Probably not. Customers usually have respect for consultants who can speak about breasts scientifically because it makes them look more knowledgeable. Understanding breast anatomy can also positively influence how you fit and what styles and sizes you choose to do so.
4. Be sensitive:“A good bra fitter is going to make you feel comfortable,” says Elisabeth Dale, internationally renowned breast expert and founder of TheBreastLife.com. Many women who go to be fitted for lingerie have so many negative issues with their breasts. Dale believes that a specialist needs to be sensitive and not nurse these insecurities in the fitting room. Women who find it particularly taxing to find the right lingerie must be handled sensibly. “They think there’s something wrong with their breasts,” says Dale. She explained that these women need to be reassured that the problem is not with them but rather with the bra industry which doesn’t cater to their uniqueness. “We [women] are forced to buy off the racks for our racks,” says Dale. Women often compare their own breast with those seen in the social media and even with those of their close friends. However, Dale says, “breasts are like snowflakes – no two are the same, not even on the same woman.” Therefore a sensitive fitter will help women to embrace their own unique pair.
5. Learn to listen to customers well:
The least successful consultants are usually those who don’t listen to the customer’s needs and wants. There is no sense in giving a customer a cleavage bra if she says that she doesn’t like too much of her breasts exposed. There are times that customers can be persuaded to see the light regarding what truly works for them but this often comes later in the sales relationship when they feel that you have paid adequate attention to what they have been saying. Don’t be afraid to write things down as well. As a consultant, I often made notes during sessions so that I came back with exactly what customers requested.
6. Learn the logic of underwear:
Lingerie consulting is based on solutions. Lingerie is often a response to a particular need. When a customer has an underwear challenge they depend on you, the consultant, to think of a lingerie item that will resolve the problem. It is crucial that you know which items will solve specific problems. For example, a customer wanting to wear a strapless dress would need a strapless bra and a customer into athletics would need a sports bra for training.
“The least successful consultants are usually those who don’t listen to the customer’s needs and wants.”
7. Develop a lingerie glossary:
Compile a descriptive list of lingerie terms. Even the best of consultants will look silly if they cannot identify lingerie items. Remember that you cannot sell an item if you don’t know what it is.
8. Visit various lingerie shops and peruse lingerie catalogues:
Doing this can seriously help you to raise your level of product knowledge. It educates you as to what products are in the market and this can be invaluable knowledge to your consulting. Exploring lingerie shops both virtual and actual can build a greater passion for lingerie and lets you see what the competition is selling.
9. Read lingerie-related books, blogs, journals and websites and attend lingerie shows:This will keep you up to date with lingerie trends and can allow an avenue for you to review and discuss lingerie products. This can increase your profile as an expert. Remember that a good consultant educates herself about her profession and about the industry. Try to have a read of The Bra Book: The Fashion Formula to Finding the Perfect Bra (2009) by Jené Luciani and bOObs: A Guide to Your Girls (2007) by Elisabeth Squires (Elisabeth Dale). Luis Paredes, publisher of The Lingerie Journal recommends these websites to also grow your interest:
10. Understand your role as a consultant:
Consultants must remember that their role is about guiding and informing the customer about what works for them. “It’s about education,” says breast expert Elisabeth Dale. She explained that it is important that a woman “understands how a well-fitting bra should fit on her unique body.” From there on a woman should be able to decide what she thinks looks best on her as an individual. When you understand this as a fitter you will be less likely to criticize or argue with customers over their choices. Your aim will be empowering customers whenever they walk into your business. This can only boost your image as a good consultant.
11. Be willing to train others in the trade:
Training others can reinforce and develop your own knowledge of lingerie. I have often found that training other consultants has exposed me to their unique ways of dealing with customers. This has helped me to embrace new approaches and increase my expertise as a consultant.
I hope these tips have helped you. I know writing them certainly helped me!
Name: Michelle Broomes aka Shelly
Bra size: bigger than you’d imagine!
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Favourite lingerie brands: Panache, Bravissimo, Curvy Kate, Freya. These, in my opinion, are built to carry weight.
Bio: In my early years I was always known to be an “academic” because I was good at the books and always got really good grades in school. I’d never been really good at anything practical until I became a lingerie fitter. Now I talk about lingerie nearly all the time and -ask my hubby- I am a fierce critique of bras and the like. Throw in matching knickers, jewellery and heels and I’m in lingerie heaven.
Lingerie philosophy: Well fitting lingerie is always sexy even if it’s from the bargain bin!