Does Your Retail Sales Team Need Some Training?

Yesterday I had a gap in my schedule so I went for a wander through Castletown Shopping Centre in Townsville.  I  enjoy doing this – and often get insights as to what is “working”, where the people are shopping/not shopping, seeing what is ‘hot’ at local level.

Sometimes there are lessons based on what shops have ‘gorn’ from a high rent precinct.

While it is true that being located in a high traffic place like Castletown does mean higher rents – it is also true that if retailers don’t create systems in their team to “harvest” the traffic – they are doomed or are simply leaving money on the table.

So – as I wandered around looking at trends – I remembered that I needed a new belt.  (Because our new puppy ‘Albert’ had a wonderful time chewing my favourite one.  )  I wander into a menswear shop – past the ‘salesman’ who did not look up from whatever ‘admin?’ he was doing at the “sales” counter.

Oh well – I head over to a rack of belts and start looking through them.  After a minute or so I note they are ‘budget’ looking and move to the next rack.  They all appear to be too long for me.  I look hopefully over to the “salesman” who refuses to look up.  Oh well.  I don’t really need a new belt now, not really.  And I walk out past the “salesman” who still has not in any way communicated with  – apart from the feeling of disinterest.

Chances are that with even a little service I would have spent about $200, right then.  I may even have come back again if I were invited.  I would have freely given my name and details so that they could contact me with ‘special offers’, and I would have accepted a ‘frequent purchaser’ card.   But no – I missed out on some great service.

Even the awful “Kin I help you?” script would have produced some revenue for this business from me.  Now I will do my shopping elsewhere.

What are your retail sales team doing to your ‘potential’ customers?  I only hope that the “salesman” in this case was not the owner.



About the Author Business Coach James Hooper

Townsville based James Hooper: The term "rainmaker" is becoming regularly used in business context as someone whose role is to 'make rain' or 'create growth' in your business. In some senses the term 'business coach' is limiting as it is primarily about optimizing the effectiveness of the owner/operator. Sometimes the leverage is in the business systems rather than in the operator - and focus on that produces the preferred outcomes. Business is a game, a puzzle, a tool to get you what you want in life. Call me for a second opinion (other than yours) on how to make your business give you what you want it to.

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1 comment
Scott Weston says 11/30/2009

So true. Retail organisations must realise the impact an individual customer service employee, and their complacency towards customers can have on the long term success of their business, particularly if they’re small to medium retail. It is interesting to note, the same poor levels of customer care is often seen in larger retail organisations, yet, unfortunately the impact is not as severe.
I experienced a similar fate when visiting one of the supermarkets that make up the ‘supermarket duopoly’ here in Melbourne. After deciding upon the ‘human interaction’ option over the ‘self service checkout’ option, I was bewildered to find myself being completely and utterly ignored, no greeting, no smile, no acknowledgment – wow, I would have received a bucket load more of personality from the self service checkout. Like yourself, I will do my shopping elsewhere, but unfortunately the options are wearing thin. In hindsight, I would have asked her manager whether that’s how they now train their employees.

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