Retail Sales Associates know what a tough job they have. What they don't realize is how critical they are to helping the company grow revenue, grow, and in keeping current customers happy. With the holiday retail rush just around the corner, we wanted to share a few ideas that may help you.I spent the first decade of the 21st century working as a manager for a national retail bookstore chain. During my tenure, I learned a counterintuitive truth: people who love to read books don’t always make great booksellers. In fact, people who love books often make lousy booksellers—at least, in a large retail store that has to meet sales goals. I think the reason lies in these qualitative Pew Research survey results, which are answers to the question, “Why do you read?”
- “The pleasures of escaping reality.”
- “Relaxing...while having quiet time.”
- “I love being able to get outside myself.”
- “Living a life of the mind.”
Retail Sales: Who Succeeds?According to research from David Mayer and Herbert M. Greenberg of Harvard Business Review, you should look for two qualities when you hire for sales. They call these qualities empathy and ego drive. Here’s how they define the terms:
- Empathy. Empathic people sense what the customer is feeling, and they modify their sales conversation on the spot to adjust to the customer’s messages. They aren’t trapped by a script. They’re sensitive to what the customer needs.
- Ego drive. People with strong ego drive close sales because winning matters to their self-image. They have enough self-esteem to withstand failure, but they also need the sale to feel good about themselves.