Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Pet Peeve Tuesday - Salesperson Blues




I have the salesperson blues today! A customer complained to the company owner that I was rude to them and so I got reprimanded. First, I may have been? Second, I may not have been? Either way, my peeve is this:
As a salesperson you must always be "on". You may never have a bad day regardless of what else may be going on in your life or on the job. If you are feeling a little under the weather, it doesn't matter. If someone you know just got a terrible diagnosis from their doctor, it doesn't matter. If someone (who is not an immediate family member giving you a right to leave) just died, it doesn't matter. You are to be cheerful, encouraging, positive and accommodating all the time, regardless of anything.

Further, you must always not only know the answer to a customers question but always understand what it is they are wanting or the question they are asking even when they don't know themselves. You must never tell them that what they want is not available. You must always treat them the way they think they deserve to be treated regardless of how they treat you. You must give them your opinion on their choices and know whether they are the type of person who wants an honest opinion and direction (because you do this every day) or the kind who already know everything and just want you to agree with whatever they say - being careful of course not to seem patronizing while doing so. And clearly you do nothing else all day except wait for them to show up, late or early for my appointment, so you can give them your immediate and undivided attention. (Of course, once they are gone and you are trying to write their order they don't want you to be distracted by some other customer and possibly make a mistake!)


I will admit that I sometimes have a hard time with certain personalities and that some customers do not bring out the best in me. I believe this is true of most salespeople though. Just like in any other job there are people with whom you can work easily and with others it is like snuggling with a porcupine. The flip side is that in the same week that this customer complained I've had three customers tell me how helpful I was, how much they appreciated my input, how patient I was with their indecisiveness, etc. Of course, they told me - not the owner. Understand that I am absolutely not finding fault with them. I do think that an owner or sales manager should always be aware that they are only likely to hear from the squeaky wheel.

The moral of this peeve...

If you have a salesperson (waitress, receptionist, etc.) who you feel has been rude take time to get some perspective about what all they may have been dealing with before you came along and about how you approached them (ie. "May I ask you a question when you have a minute?" will get you much farther than "EXCUSE ME, is there someone here that can help me?") Then if you still feel you need to report them, do so.

If, on the other hand, you have someone who had done a good job for you or who has maybe even gone the extra mile to be helpful either directly or indirectly by providing distraction for your child or giving you some time to discuss with your spouse/friend/etc. without hovering, let them know you appreciate them, and maybe even let their boss know.

Sorry, this peeve became more of a rant...


4 comments:

MommyWizdom said...

Debbie, I can relate. I worked in retail for a while and I had to be "on" all the time. It was difficult. I found that I became more of a recluse during that job because I was "tired" of people. I realized that's not the job for me. I'm sorry you had such a nasty experience. Cheer up - it can only get better.

jaejae said...

i've been with sales, marketing & advertising for the longest time. i've learned one simple thing and learned so many things out of it: that you just can't please everybody. and for those you cannot please, just don't give them s#!+... because if you do, you'll just lose your ground.

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

Amen. And, when you are a supervisor over others, just because you CAN delegate doesn't mean you should every time. And even though the person is hired to your bidding, "please" and "thank you" still go a long way. We all love common courtesy.

Denise said...

I feel for you. I work in a small restaurant and most of the time we have lovely customers BUT there was a while there when we were getting some incredibly RUDE people you just want to show the door. My son also works in retail and he has some real horror stories. A big pat on the back from me to you because I know you deserve a medal!!!!