Before stepping into the role of account manager at Stellar, I worked for many years on the shop floors of major retailers such as John Lewis, Lakeland and Selfridges as an ambassador for luxury kitchen product brand, Sage Appliances.

In my experience, immersing oneself in a product makes a world of difference in selling – if the customer can see and feel how passionate you are, they buy into it too.

Even now, in my current “behind the scenes” role in the industry, I make sure to spend some time on the frontline of retail to keep my knowledge and skills sharp and up to date.

Working in sales is no mean feat, it is much more than chat and banter.

  • Ask questions of your customer and make sure you listen to their answers, as these will be key to your conversation.
  • In depth product knowledge gives weight to your sales “spiel”,  but be careful not to patronise.
  • Too much knowledge can be a curse if not applied correctly.
  • Make sure your customer can trust in you because you know your stuff, but do not make them feel stupid or inferior – nobody likes a know-it-all.
  • Have a clear path for your conversation and tweak it to the customer’s interests and knowledge level.

For example, I know nothing about the internal workings of a car engine but I do know what colours I like, how economical I want it to be and how many seats I need – the rest will take care of itself.

With coffee making, we can talk about precise temperature control and how this affects taste.

Some customers want to know the science behind this, but to others I talk about a pint of lager served crisp and cold compared to one at room temperature.

One I will enjoy, the other I won’t.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research is also a vital tool – it is always worth knowing the market and having something in your back pocket if your customer wants to buy from a different retailer.

As your conversation with the customer draws to a close, it is important to ask for the sale.

How you do this will depend on the relationship you have built with your customer, but you should always ask.

It goes without saying training is key to sales success on the shop floor and it is important to allow staff/your team to be themselves.

  • Do not force a script upon your team.
  • Understand they have their own individual personalities – people buy people before they buy a product and can smell a sales script a mile off.
  • When training new team members, get them excited about the brand and product you work with.
  • Invest in training and use a mix of trainers to help a newbie – they will all bring different, valuable knowledge while sticking to the same core values.
  • Motivating a team can be achieved through a variety of means, not only through salary and perks, but also internal competition and recognition.
  • It is important for managers to work alongside their team, not just behind a desk.
  • Never just talk the talk – walk the walk so you begin to understand the struggles your staff/team encounter and come up with a solution together.

This way, your team will truly believe that you understand and appreciate the work they do.

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