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Sales – How to Prepare Yourself

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There is nothing more irritating than a sales person who treats me like he is doing me a favour, or who doesn’t know his product, or who doesn’t engage with me (either looking at me or smiling at me) and grumpy as I am when I am shopping, this just makes me worse.

Last weekend, I went shopping for one of those Blue Tooth thingies that fit in your ear, so that you can talk comfortably when you are driving.  I had breakfast with a friend and off we went in search of what I would have thought was a really easy buy.

Shop # 1. Three sales assistants and a queue (ok I know it was Saturday so I swallowed that irritation).  In between collecting one product for a customer, one of the sales assistants (in passing I might add) asked me what I wanted, I explained, he tried to sell me something else.  I asked the price – the thing that he wanted to sell me (that fits on the sun visor of the car) cost R999.00, the item I wanted cost R285.00.  After delivering the prices, he completely ignored me and went back to the client that he was busy with in the first place.  Quite frankly, had I been that customer, I would have been spitting mad.  I was fuming!  For me, who shopping is not a pleasure at the best of times, to be treated like this is totally unacceptable – I knew what I wanted and instead of listening to me the sales assistant tried to sell me a completely over priced gadget that I had not asked for and did not want.  Verdict – loss of sale and loss of customer – I will never go to that shop again!

Shop # 2. One sales assistant and a queue (again, it’s still Saturday, surely there should be more than one sales person in a store on a Saturday?).  After waiting for 15 minutes I finally get served and the sales assistant brings me this huge box – remember it is a gadget that fits on the ear, not something that needs something the size of a shoe box!  I asked the price – R399.00 (remember the last one was R285.00), again I get the feeling of hungry little fingers trying to pry my wallet open!  I growl at her and leave.

Shop # 3.  Many sales assistants, the shop is full but there is no queue.  As I enter the store a young man approaches and asks if I know what I want or if I would like some assistance (nicely done, I start to relax immediately).  I pose my question again , his face lights up as he tells me they have a special on at the moment and there are two items left.  I scowl as I ask the price – R199.00.  I smile with relief and purchase the gadget.  Once the sale is concluded, he opens the box, takes out the gadget and briefly explains how to use it – my hero!  Now that’s a great sales person – you can be sure that I will shop there again.

So what is the moral of this story – well first of all, when a customer walks into your store, smile – come up to them, maintain eye contact and ask how it is that you can be of assistance to them.  A sales person who has shifty eyes doesn’t do it for me at all and it makes me wonder what it is that they are trying to hide.

Secondly, don’t try and make me buy something that I don’t want at an inflated price.  I know that everyone thinks that the economy is in a bad state, but that doesn’t excuse this kind of behavior.  The chap in Shop 1’s parting shot to me (and remember the store was full) was that the gadget that he wanted to sell me was ‘a better quality’.  So what!  It’s not what I wanted in the first place and further more to say that out loud to me in front of a store full of people is just rude.  It implies that I don’t purchase quality products and if it was any other person, it could have been humiliating. Why on earth would he think that humiliating a potential client is a good thing!  To be quite honest, when I left so did several other people.  Now it could have been because they were tired of waiting in the queue or it could have been because they didn’t want the same treatment that I got.  Don’t do that!

Thirdly, okay I concede – the different price has nothing to do with the sales person as he has no control over that.  However, that said surely the store owner should make sure that his products (and remember it’s the Blue Tooth thingy, so they are the same product in each store) are more or less the same price in each store (we are also talking about the same mall here).  I doubt that anyone would complain about a few Rand’s here and there, but to have such a large gap is not a good idea.

Fourthly – make sure you have sufficient staff on a Saturday morning.  For goodness sake, this is a busy mall and having one sales person in the store is just not a good idea, phones ringing, people standing in queues, using their precious ‘off time’ to purchase your product.  Really bad planning all round!

Finally, the chap in the 3rd store, had it spot on.  He was friendly, he knew his products and he got excited about selling them.  He didn’t pressure me and he didn’t just ‘sell’ the product to me, he took it a step further and explained how it worked (he listened and realized that I am probably not techno savy, when I asked for the ‘Blue Tooth Thingy that fits over your ear’ – this told him something), he didn’t try to embarrass me, he made it part of his sales speech.  He gets full marks in my book.

Remember, your clients pay the salaries of your sales staff, so make sure that your sales staff treat your clients properly and with dignity and respect!