Advice on Retail

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Adil M, Jun 16, 2002.

  1. Adil M

    Adil M Supporting Actor

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    I am considering quitting retail altogether. I don't need the job or money (lucky). I'm way overqualified for my current job, well-educated, knowledgeable and trilingual (spanish is important). I just went into it to: 1.help people out, 2.play w/ the toys, 3.educate, and 4.make some money in the spare time. However, it's really frustrating. The nicer and better of a person you are, the worse you do. I never intended to do this for to long a period of my life, but still am frustrated.

    One of the veteran big $$$ salesguys told me to just give his rules a try for a week.

    1.W/i 10 minutes make sure you know if they are buying or not. If not, leave immediately. Ask them directly, "Are you buying anything today?"
    2.Don't answer questions, especially tech ones. Don't give them your card, unless it's over a 1000. They never come back (my experience too).
    3.Never take a tech call or ask if they were working w/ anyone else. If a guy "snakes" you, "snake" them back.
    4.The managers are useless, ignore them.

    However, this is the exact opposite of how I work. What would you guys rec'd or look for in a salesperson? I'd "like" to clean the system up, but I'm not spending a chunk of my life to do that. I'm sure some of you work in retail. Give me some Knowledge here.
     
  2. Eve T

    Eve T Supporting Actor

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    I'm a retail selling specialist. I work as an independant contractor for two large cosmetic/fragrance companies.
    I was a born sales person, and have no trouble selling ANYTHING. A line from the movie Tommy Boy comes to mind...
    "your dad could sell ketchup popsicles to a lady wearing white gloves" [​IMG]
    Some people have to ability to sell and some aren't as good at it but here are a few things that may help.
    My experience with sales are as such...
    If it's busy and you are dealing with someone who isn't sure of what they want make your presence known and ask if you can help them, when they say they are looking around, tell them your name is such and such and to take their time and if they need anything to please let you know. Never spend a great amount of time on someone that is just browsing as you miss many oppurtunities to help people who know exactly what they want. On the same token never dismiss someone just because you think they aren't going to buy anything. Let them know that you are there to help them and would love to help them.
    Always know your product backwards and forwards. Expect unexpected questions and have answers for EVERY question your customer might have.
    Always be friendly and smile. Use examples in your own life as to how this product/item will benefit them. Such as: My husband uses this very product and he's quite taken with it. Or...I can assure you from my own personal experience that this product/item is simply wonderful. Or.. this is my favorite item, we have done quite well with it, etc. etc.
    If they seem like they are thinking about price, go over the key benefits of the item/product and explain why it's worth the money without being pushy but being matter of factly with all you say.
    Always treat customers that buy a low ticket item as if they were kings and queens. Treat them with the same respect you would give a big dollar customer. They will remember this and come back. Repeat business is good. They will also tell their friends about the service they got.
    Never walk away from someone when they say NO. Smile and say no problem. I am happy to help you anytime you have a question. (believe it or not, sometimes people change their mind into a YES, if you treat them the same as you were when you thought they were going to buy something.) Remember that just because a person might not have money today doesn't mean they won't come back later that week with cash in hand.
    Be nice to the customers children. If you like you can ask them (the children) their name. Be fun, but be professional.
    ALWAYS compliment a customer on their purchase. Always say, what an excellent choice. Reassure them that the choice they made was wonderful and that it's the same choice you would have made. It doesn't matter if the thing they bought is hideous to you. It's your favorite while they are looking at it.
    The more you know about what your customer wants...the better you can suit their needs. Ask them what they had in mind, or what they currently own, then try to find something that they would like. Always know what they want so you can be the one to supply their need(s)
    Invite the customer back, thank them, and wish them a pleasant day.
    Always use the customers last name. Never call them by their first name unless they ask you to.
    Look your customer in the eye. Never dart your eyes around looking for other potential customers while you are engaged in helping someone else. If they aren't sure tell them to take all the time they need and that you will return to check on them shortly. You can then assist other customers while at the same time not making the one you were just helping feel "put off."
    These things have always helped me, and I do quite well on a daily basis.
     
  3. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Let's see if I've got this right: You don't need a job, but want one, are frustrated by your current job, and are qualified for various other things.
    So, quit retail, and go do what you are passionate about. You want to help people? So help people. There are countless organizations that could use capable people in their endeavors to aid others.
    Or, if wealthy enough, live on the beach, paint sunsets every evening, and enjoy yourself. [​IMG]
    Or perhaps I don't understand the dilemna.
     
  4. Adil M

    Adil M Supporting Actor

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    Eve,
    There's a lot of good stuff there that I do passively, but actually spelling out will make it a little easier to actively do it. I'm not big on saying "Good purchase" to customers if I don't think it is. I'm pretty straight-forward w/ the facts.
    Dave,
    I don't think you fully understand, but let my try and explain some more. I work for the experience and the money. This just happens to not be the experience I was expecting. It's been almost a year now and time for a new job anyway. That's good and bad. I'm exploring those things I'm passionate about w/ a wide array of side jobs. However, I am looking for another job when the semester starts here in "College of Hawaii." :b
    PS. I'm not trying to be a whining spoiled bitch[​IMG] . It's just after hours is renowned for good advice and good punchlines.
     
  5. Michael Hurst

    Michael Hurst Stunt Coordinator

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    Adil, it sounds like you worked for one of the large chains. I hate going into those store where they are pushing merchandise and they don't even know what their selling.

    I'am sure you did make a difference, you are here learning the difference between good and bad gear and trying to treat the customer as a customer instead of dinner. It's experience, if you are into audio and want to be closer to it try a smaller boutique shop. Sometime I buy stuff there just so I can get some decent customer support and talk to someone who knows something. Just because the high $$$ sales jerk can sell doen't make him right.

    If he asked me if I was going to buy or what I would say yes the make him move every big screen tv in the store just so I could see the jacks in the back and measure the chassis, then leave. Don't lower yourself to his standard.
     
  6. Eve T

    Eve T Supporting Actor

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  7. Adil M

    Adil M Supporting Actor

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    What I want is to know that I gave it a hell of a good shot before I decide to move on. I am not a quitter, but sometimes you have to know when to fold them.
    I would work for a small boutique store, but they make almost no money. I would probably enjoy the clientele and environment a lot more. I get the most satisfaction out of my job when the customers show any form of appreciation or when I get feedback when they come back in to get the second part to their purchase.
     
  8. Brad_V

    Brad_V Second Unit

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  9. Mark R O

    Mark R O Stunt Coordinator

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    Sales as a vocation is typically chosen by default, and seen as interim employment. Few sales positions these days require any qualifications beyond the ability to lip read a classified and find the employers door. Telemarketing, soul less chain stores, midgets hawking no money down real estate, endless MLM grifts and chronically aggrieved car lot hucksters have become the industry standard.
    I consider "sales" a truly noble artform when practiced with the dedication and disipline professionals in other technically difficult fields. Being an insolent hardass has replaced learning the craft. A box with an extended warranty or high gross slam dunk contract has become the goal, and if deception or the improper product is involved, it's bonus time! Everyone has a story about getting hosed.
    But think of all the times you got the perfect deal or ideal product. Or were given info or opinion you had not considered. If you're happy, it's a tribute to the salesperson. The highest level of practice obtainable in sales is to work invisibly. Often a client's needs are met in spite of themselves.
    After 25+ years in this practice, I cannot conceive of any career that would have afforded me the opportunity to see and do all that I have. The incredible people, places seen, lessons learned and applied are all lasting rewards. Yeah, I've eaten a lot of Ramen Noodles along the way, spent a lot of time on public transit and lots of cans of beer that say "BEER" on them. But all worthwhile ventures come with high price tags. So, bottom line, you won't change the profession by being a top 3%er. You will however benefit in ways you can't imagine, and do so by being of benefit to those you do business with. All professions have bottom feeders like you describe, so that's always a constant. One more truism, ya gotta love whatever you do.
    Sorry about the rant, everyone. Geesh....
    :b
     
  10. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    if i never work retail again i'll be a happy camper. i sold at both cc & gg for several years. while the mone was decent, the atmosphere (for the most part) was lousy.
    i'd much rather work in a non-commission environment - at least then you don't have to worry about people snaking you.
    imo, eve's advice is right on the money! i totally agree with her. i wish i worked with more people like her. [​IMG]
    the problem is i doubt your coworkers would - they sound like a bunch of jerks who would snake you or lie to any customer just to "make the sale". tbh, it doesn't sound like you have the "killer instinct" necessary to make it where you're at.
    if you don't have to be there, then get out. simple enough. get a job where you can actually help people and feel good about it! [​IMG]
    retail is a harsh mistress....or something like that...
     

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