Posts Tagged ‘training’

Denim Complimentary

August 20, 2010

There was a time I was an excellent salesperson. There was a time when managers and coworkers asked what my secret was, how did I make sales so easily? As time moved on, as more horrible customers appeared and ripped pieces of my soul apart, I became more rigid and I wasn’t willing to be open, helpful, or caring. Why be an evolved salesperson if your customers don’t care?

Recently, we watched a training video with sales scenarios which made everyone laugh. Yet, watching it, I often thought how much each of my coworkers do this, every single day they work. My philosophy is clear with sales, I believe I need to sell so we each get hours to work–no sales, no hours, no coworkers. The greater influence I am in making people buy things, the more my coworkers get to work–and basically do the bad things presented in the video.

Yet, after the video, I was willing to try. I helped a couple, they were both heavy-set, and the woman wasn’t really open to help at first. So I helped her boyfriend first. We slowly took time finding denim for him, a cut that would work, then a wash that would be cool enough for him, and make her happy. We went on to find matching shirts for several different outfits. Along the way, I also got her back into the fitting rooms to try on several more pants, because her first attempts were failures. I was actually excited, thinking, this is selling again, reborn. They both found stuff they wanted.

I left the fitting room helping another customer, and I walked back in seeing them turning a corner. So I decided to check their rooms, and I found everything still there. They bought nothing. I was disappointed. Then, I hear the manager ask for me. She comes to tell me the couple I just  helped, they felt so bad, so sorry they didn’t find anything; they might come back, but they wanted to tell her how I went above and beyond trying to help them find the perfect outfits, how patient I was and how helpful I was. My manager gave them a survey to fill out. I guess that counts for something, right?

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That Shirt

June 27, 2010

To prove once again how you parent and how you teach makes your children just like you–may it be manners or lack of manners, common sense or lack thereof–I meet a family who left me unexcited. The son first asks me to find a hoodie or pullover or jumper, however you may wish to call it, which was the last of its kind. I did my best, but since it was the last one, I really couldn’t find anymore.

So I return, telling them I was unsuccessful, then the son points up at a visual display saying, “Do you have more of that shirt?”
I turn, only to find the visual display is shirts, and being at the corner of a wall, there is also another wall next to it full of mannequins wearing shirts. There are roughly one dozen shirts where he’s pointing. I look back at the son, who is a teenager, and ask, “Which shirt?”
“That shirt!” The father and sister also raise up their hands. They are standing physically two to five feet apart, yet all their hands go up and point straight forward without a detectable angle, nothing to help me draw an invisible dotted line to meet at a single point at the wall. Their wild aim would seem to point at three distinctly different shirts. Maybe one of them is cockeyed, maybe one of them is nearsighted or farsighted, has a crooked elbow or bent fingers.  Of course, they speak and look at me as if I’m the dumb one. So I vaguely reach up, pointing at shirts, “This one?”
“No, that one!”
“This one?” Now I’m making my way down the line. It’s like I’m in a police line up with idiots trying to find who committed the murder, and they have no idea what they’re talking about.
“No, the other one.”
Like seriously, you’re standing thirty feet away from the wall, vaguely pointing at three different coordinates, and I feel like the clown running with the target, trying to catch the ball for the queen so she never misses. Of course, I’m not in Wonderland, am I?

Even more sad, when we finally find the correct shirt, it is yet again, the last of its kind–as this family prove to be mutants who have the ability to find items that no longer exist–and they are left sighing, unable to buy anything, because they don’t want anything we actually have that would fit their son, only the things that don’t fit him which we are sold out of.

Customer Types: The Dumb, ESP, Lowered Expectations

Sizes to Diet For

June 22, 2010

There is this older woman, who comes in, she doesn’t really say hello, but she comes in the same time, the same day of every week, trying on the same pants. Whenever I knock on her door and ask how she’s doing, she doesn’t say much more than, “I’m okay.” Week after week, she tries on a denim sized 26-inches.  Every time, she says she’s okay, she puts it back and then she leaves. I wonder if she’s waiting for it to go on sale, or waiting to find the perfect fit–even though she’s only trying on one size. It never makes sense. I think it would be weird to walk up to her and say, “Hey, I watch you every week trying on the same pant, in the same size, why are you doing this?” I’m bold, but even that seems weird and creepy.

So I ask a co-worker about this woman, telling her the story. And my co-worker says, “Maybe she’s trying to lose weight, and she keeps trying to fit into that smaller size.”

Amazingly enough, I had a good reply, since I tried to help that woman recently. “Oh, her diet isn’t working out, because she’s trying size 28-inches now.” We both laugh, yet I have yet to solve her curious, curious fitting room ritual.

Eighth-of-an-Inch

June 17, 2010

At the rear entrance of our store, there is a carpet which has been worn away slowly over time. The carpet was built into the floor, so now there is a ridge roughly 1/8″ (an eighth of an inch) at the edge. The ridge is no larger than a normal street crack, but one day I had to find out how terrifying this is.

I hear a lot of commotion on the walkie-talkie. “Oh my, someone just fell!” “There’s an old lady on the ground?” “Where is she?” “At the back door, someone is on the ground?” “Is she okay? Is she moving?” “Do we need to call an ambulance?” I arrived, to find an ancient woman shrunken by time, with a beanie on her head. Her youthful daughter looked to be about sixty-years old, which would make her mother anywhere between seventy-five and one-thousand. Along with our stock supervisor, they helped to get her up, and had a seat placed for her to recover. There the old, old woman sat staring out the back-door entrance–so each customer coming in had to be greeted by that. So she sat, hunched and unmoving, people walking around her like a statue, as the daughter yelled at the supervisor.

“What is wrong with you people? That’s dangerous!” She points at the ridge.
“I am so sorry,” my supervisor states, doing all the things he’s trained ‘not to say’, “It is our fault. I’m so sorry, what can we do to help her? What does she need? Should be call an ambulance?”
“No,” the daughter continues, “That’s not needed, she just needs to rest. You need to get that fixed! Now! She could have died!”

They continue this ridiculous banter, as I chuckle nearby behind a pillar. Seriously, when you’re that old, and you can’t even lift your foot off the ground, you need a wheelchair, or better yet, don’t leave the house to visit the hectic mall. Remember the good old days, when you used to be able to walk miles to school over rock, gravel and shards of glass while hailstones flew at your head? Well those days are long over. I’d hate to watch you tripping over cracks in the ground, because that’s far more dangerous out there. I’m surprised she didn’t explode into a pile of dust when she hit the floor. Seriously? Leave her at home.

Thirty-minutes later, the old woman gets up with her obviously useful cane, and begins to walk away. Her feet don’t even leave the ground, they just slide across the floor. She must be very good at cleaning dust off the floors, like that video I’ve seen of a dog used as a mop. I actually don’t know how she even walks on the sidewalk. It takes a while for her to leave the store, as she slides one foot six-inches, then the other six-inches more. Yes, definitely, leave her at home next time.

Customer Type: Big Baby, The Complainer, Don’t Kill the Messenger, Lowered Expectations

Art of War: Retail

May 24, 2010

Chapter 1
For some of my trainees who wanted something more entertaining, more in-depth and dynamic–something to stop them from yawning during their first days, I developed the Art of War for Retail. I used to love the Art of War as a book, and how so many different people used it in business, management, and even love. It wasn’t very hard to translate it into the retail world, since it is so similar to a battlefield. Just imagine, at the end of the day, all the slain clothing laid in heaps, tired and exhausted salespeople, and the customer marching away in semi-triumph. Yet, we still win if they are leaving with something from our store, right?

As an introduction, you must consider the salespeople as Generals on a battlefield–which is the store. Their armies are the large array of clothing lined up and ready for the Opposition–customers. Each piece of clothing is a Soldier. The better trained your armies are, the better off you’ll be at the end of the day–this means having piles folded nicely, organized so they are sized properly, and enough of them to take hits all day long. The better warriors will take less hits before they are bought and carried off the battlefield. Once the customer makes it past the clothes and attacks you–you know you don’t have their size, or your product they want isn’t easy to find–thus you engage in hand-to-hand selling. You end up in parlay or under direct siege. You run for reinforcements, bringing out piles of soldiers to litter the battlefield. You may distract and disorient the Opposition, sending them in different directions against different armies you have at hand. As the battle rages, more and more casualties are piled up, wounded bodies are lying around, waiting for your gentle ministrations to bandage their cuts and get them back into the war. You are the recruiter, and many times, you pile and fold your own wins and losses. You may regret forgetting an insignificant pile if it ends up being your critical weak-point.

Now that you know the battlefield, and the units, you must understand the tactics that are needed to ensure victory every day! You must not only survive, but succeed! Welcome, to the Art of War: Retail.