When interviewing for the Director of Member Relations position with ASTRA, the one question I was asked the most related to sales. Having been a sales rep for over 15 years I was asked the following:

“Why would you want to leave sales to take on the position of Director of Member Relations?” The answer was easy – I wasn’t leaving sales.

In our everyday dealings, we are all in sales, regardless of what we do.  As individuals, it is making sure that the persona we project is what we want people to see us as. As a retailer, it is making sure that your store is inviting and that the products you offer are the best. As a manufacturer, it is making sure that your products are strategically developed and then presented in a way that retailers want them in their stores and consumers want to buy them.  And as a sales rep, it is making sure that you have good lines, know your products and build trust with your customers.  The bottom line in all these examples is winning over someone to “buy in” to what you are offering.

In researching trends, and specifically, what makes for a great sales rep, I came across an article in which the following 15 characteristics  were noted as what is needed to become a better salesperson.  There is no doubt in my mind that these same 15 are important for all of us the toy business, any business and even in our personal lives.

  • Be a Critical Thinker
  • Be Disciplined
  • Be Charismatic
  • Be Resourceful
  • Be Focused
  • Be Competitive
  • Be Passionate
  • Be Curious
  • Be Confident
  • Be Firm
  • Be Persistent
  • Be Open-Minded
  • Be Honest
  • Be Knowledgeable
  • Be Communicative

I’ll add one more to that list: Never Stop Learning. What would you add?



Sue Warfield is the Director of Member Relations at ASTRA. With more than 30 years of experience in the retail and toy business, Sue offers insight into industry trends and tips and works to connect the retailers, sales representatives, manufacturers and affiliates in the specialty toy retailing arena. Contact Sue at swarfield@astratoy.org.