When you work in retail, or any service industry, it is easy to forget why you are there. In high school, I worked at Victoria’s Secret. It was a fun job, but like most retail locations, it did become a little repetitive. Day after day, I refolded the same table of underwear that people continuously destroyed. Occasionally I had the pleasure of helping a man who was looking for – it pains me to even type this word – “panties” (ick!) for his wife. Don’t get me wrong – I loved helping those men! Especially the older ones; it made me feel happy that the love was still alive after many years of marriage. But since I brought it up, here is a public service announcement: Men, please, I beg you – do NOT use the “p” word. It is gross. But I digress. The point is, I would at times forget that the reason I was working there was to help people with their shopping and make sales. I’ve never been great at sales; I actually realized that at VS when a young college student came in looking for a teddy for a gag gift. I could not stomach selling him a $75 piece of lingerie for a GAG when the man could have gone to Walmart to get something for ten! I also had the “pleasure” of working at a for-profit university as an admissions advisor, which can be translated into “high-pressure sales” advisor. Once again, I found myself sending people away to the community college down the road to receive the same degree at a much, much, MUCH lower price. Probably not what my employers were hoping for, but while my sales skills were lacking, at least I can sleep at night knowing that I was truly helping the customers. That is not something that can be said for all sales associates. Often, you will find someone utilizing hard-core sales techniques without the best interest of the customer in mind. Think about your experiences at car dealerships – most of mine have involved this kind of salesman.
Many commission-based sales jobs will cause the salesmen and women to feel added pressure to seal the deal, which may in turn force them to lose sight of the full purpose, helping customers and making the sale.
Chances are, if you are looking out for the best interests of your customer, that sale will make itself because people are far more likely to purchase from someone they can trust. And if they trust you, then they will most likely return again and again! So remember your customers, and remember to do the best you can for them. This is key to building a loyal client base!