‘Tis the Season

The holiday season is a great time to experience just about every level of sales quality when we hit the malls. Obviously we are not going to expect the same level of training resources for most retail and seasonal salespeople that we would in the business to business environment, but it is still worthwhile to pay attention to preparation and, most of all, attitudes.

In making the rounds over the weekend, I loved dealing with the young kids who are working for a few weeks through the season. These are the kids that need the money and I had watched them earlier in the year filling out applications and heading into managers’ offices for interviews.

Nothing against the richer kids, but how much stronger are these people going to be when it comes time to go after a full-time job?

Anyway, for the most part, these seasonal employees came ready to play. They approached me immediately, almost always knew where to find what I was looking for, and usually had a decent grasp of the products they were representing.

I also admired the women who helped me shop in the ladies clothing and cosmetic sections in the big department stores. They were dressed nicely, they seemed to genuinely enjoy helping me and they tried hard to figure out what my wife would really like from the many options available. Plus, standing for 8 hours in high heels has got to be the ultimate test of endurance.

I am happy to report that I did not experience a lot of pressure or classic upselling. The retail industry has come a long way in that regard, and it makes shopping much more enjoyable than in past days when you could actually feel under attack when you walked through the door. I am told that Nordstrom had something to do with leading the industry into a more helpful, rather than aggressive, selling direction.

Like most of us, the main thing I am looking for as a buyer is someone who is upbeat, knowledgeable and who can help me meet a need.

As you make the rounds these final few weeks, have some fun interacting with your fellow salespeople and see what you can learn, both pros and cons.

And be nice to them! After all, they are part of our extended (sales) family. Happy Holidays!

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