Don’t Let the Jargon Fool You, What You Need is a Salesperson
You may call them Client Advisors, Experience Creators, Customer Service Specialists, Brand Ambassadors or simply Front Desk Team Members, but make no mistake, these are salespeople through and through. The sooner you get a grip on that, the sooner we can show you how to find them, hire them, train them and maximize their performance and achieve their ultimate goal: Create an excellent customer experience by selling products, goods, and services that your customers want/need.
Although hiring salespeople may not be something you enjoy, it’s a fact of life in retail and honestly…every other industry out there. But, we can stick with retail for a moment to keep the conversation on target. Here are some innovative ways to broaden your options and be certain you hire the best person for the job.
Finding the Right Person
Business Owners and Middle to Upper-Level Corporate Managers often share with us how difficult it is when searching for qualified salespeople. The fact that you are trying to find a qualified person is the problem itself. There is no person on earth who is qualified to work in your store. Think about that for a moment.
The person with the most experience may not necessarily be the best candidate for the job. Just because they’ve held comparable jobs or even worked in your industry, doesn’t mean they are automatically the kind of person you should hire for YOUR company. And, if they didn’t work out in someone else’s company, what makes you think they’ll make it in yours?
You can give yourself more options when looking for the right salesperson by following this one simple rule. Instead of looking for a qualified person, look for the least disqualified.
Look for the person that you can train to do the job the way you want it done. You’re severely limiting your options if you just go after pre-trained people. A person with basic skills and abilities can be taught to sell your product or service, use your state-of-the-art tech and systems (CRM, LMS, POS etc), and perform virtually every operation in the store they need to be involved with. Most importantly, look for the person willing to learn to play the game your way. You can teach almost anything to anyone. What you CANNOT teach is willingness. THEY MUST HAVE THE DESIRE AND THE PASSION, PERIOD! If they are not willing to learn to do things the way you want them to, find the person who is. It will then be up to you to train them, but at least you’ll know they’ll be receptive to learning.
Setting the Standards
The interview is an excellent time to set standards and let the applicant know exactly what will be expected of them in terms of performance and other criteria. By doing this during the interview, you will eliminate employees who don’t understand how important sales performance and customer service standards are in your store.
The following steps should always be followed with all prospective applicants during the first or second interview.
- Show applicants how you track sales performance. By doing this you will be making it clear to a potential employee that they will be held accountable for their sales performance.
- Make it clear to the applicant that if you were to hire them, you both must have a common goal. Tell them that you are not looking for average or below average sales performance. You are looking for someone capable of doing an outstanding job of selling and providing excellent customer service.
- Ask the applicant what would be fair to do if they were hired, sufficiently trained, and then could not perform above or within an acceptable range of the metrics to determine their success (store’s sales average, high level of customer service tracks by customer feedback etc). If the applicant does not say they should be terminated, move on to the next person. If they tell you they should be terminated, you have succeeded in setting their performance standard as a measure for continued employment.
- Speak to the applicant about how important willingness is. You should explain to applicants that you will do all you can in terms of training. In turn, you expect employees to be willing to do the job as you trained them to do it. Give them an example, such as the following: “If I want you to greet customers with non-business related opening lines and you show me you are capable of doing that, and then you begin asking, “Can I help you?” You are telling me that you are not willing, and I will find someone to replace you. Is that fair?” Again, you are providing exactly what you expect and by what rules they must play. You must be prepared to make your standard, as a business owner or manager, the absolute truth in your business. There is no deviation from that standard, and that is one of the main reasons you believe you are set apart from your competitors, or it is simply just how you like to do business. You have earned the right to make that call, and they need to understand that.
By following these simple steps, you will eliminate employees who may quit in two month’s time saying, “If I’d known that I never would have taken this job in the first place!”
Making the Decision
Once you’ve completed all of the interviews and have checked the references of your best candidates, it’s time to make your selection. There are a number of factors that you should take into consideration.
Does the applicant:
- Have the ability to do the job?
- Have the potential to learn the skills and knowledge to do the job?
- Fit in well with the rest of your employees and culture?
- Have the willingness to be trained and held accountable for sales performance?
- Have references that checked out?
- Present him/herself well?
- Have the capability to connect well with customers?
- Have the willingness to play the game your way?
You should be able to answer yes to all of these questions. You can train someone to do almost anything if they are ready, willing, and able to learn. You do not want to have to train someone on how to get along well with their co-workers or how to project a professional image.
If you don’t feel you’re able to select the right person from the pool of applicants you’ve just interviewed, don’t re-run your ad unless you have received a very poor response to begin with. If you do, you may be falling back into the trap of trying to find qualified people who don’t exist. Instead, take the applicant who may not have the experience, but is willing to learn and meets the other criteria: the one who is the “least disqualified.” Then train, train, train, and when you’re done, train some more!
We have a ton of resources available for business owners and middle to upper-level managers just like this. For a full list of how we can completely transform how you operate, check out TheFriedmanGroup.com where you can sign up to get trained online, take one of our sales and management seminars, or hop on a call for a quick one-on-one consultation.
Are we a fit for everyone? Certainly not. Are we a fit for you? Let’s find out.