What is the primary responsibility of Retail Sales Associates? Since they are the first, and most important, face-to-face contact with the end-user (person purchasing the sleep system), it is their obligation to close as high a percentage of sales as possible.
What is the primary responsibility of bedding retailers? It is their obligation to present associates with as many selling opportunities as possible. This means driving foot traffic into the retail store. Hence, the opportunity becomes the most important element of the selling process. Without the opportunity, “there is no sale.”
To the RSA, opportunities are their life’s blood, their only source of income. They must always be prepared and on their game. The strong RSAs are like actors. They understand their roles, memorize lines, and execute to perfection. Their weak counterparts, however, lack the experience, knowledge, skill, or ability to successfully perform the selling process at an effective level. This equates to a lower close-rate and thus, lost or wasted opportunities.
Nothing irritates professional, highly competent sleep consultants more than missed opportunities. They know how few and far between they are and how important it is to take these customers out of the marketplace. They see the weak associates walking business right out the door. They do not get upset that weak associates have opportunities to sell; however, when they fail to close, the strong RSAs recognize the business lost for the organization. They only wish they could have had a shot at saving this missed opportunity.
Retailers have to make a conscious “Commitment to Excellence” with the goal of having the strongest team of sales professionals possible in order to maximize every opportunity. A lot of time, effort, and money is invested to get customers into stores. It would be such a shame to see these potential sales headed to your competition after your hard work.
Everyone benefits from a strong team environment. A fine-tuned mentor encouraging ongoing training and a development program is critical to maintaining a high level of professionalism on the sales floor. Strong, seasoned sales professionals will be able to maintain their competitive edge. Those not as strong or experienced will have a system in place that encourages and helps attain a high level of achievement. The most successful retailers prepare, equip, and arm their sales staff with everything they need to convert opportunity into a sale, the ultimate reward for their “Commitment to Excellence.”
David Fisher is originally from Philadelphia, Pa. He owned and managed a chain of women’s shoe stores in Pittsburgh for many years. Later he was a sales associate at Levin Furniture in Pittsburgh, Rooms to Go in South Florida, and RC Willey in Las Vegas, Nevada. Fisher was National Sales Manager for Bell Sleep Products LLC, a bedding line developed for Bell Furniture Industries by International Bedding Corporation. He is currently a sales consultant with Macy’s. The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s and do not represent the thinking of the company he works for, or anyone else with whom he is affiliated.