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…to be expected to be wearing a smile on your face, no matter what.
…your job to be miserable.
On the bright side, taking up a position such as a sales associate challenges you to reach outside your comfort zone and develops your personality for the better as long as you stick with it. Did wonders for me.
Working at Walgreens I notice a pattern of things to say to customers. Ask them if they need help, help them, do you have a card (I should also ask if they want whatever promotional item but my shift customers are in a hurry to go to bed/work...), if they want a bag, etcetc.
I'm honestly pretty bad at asking people how they are. I'm awful at small talk, but sometimes customers start conversations and it becomes easier.
But I have worked here for 2 years and looking back at myself before, someone who was afraid to go to stores alone, or couldn't even say "have a nice day" just "havanisday" real quiet... I've improved my social skills a bit more. Just take baby steps.
Try to observe how long working coworkers talk to their customers, too.
I was a sales associate at Party City for a while. Basically, what Silh said is spot on.
You will be asked dumb question by people who don't really know what they want, and you're expected to always be happy when dealing with them, even if it's hour eight of your terrible shift. Retail is not fun, but you'll definitely take something away from it.
Depending on what kind of sales associate you'll be (ie the type of job), you'll want to know a little bit of what you're trying to sell. Read up on stuff because you will get people who ask you stupid questions.
I think I'm the only person who'd rather work retail and help druggies and drunks find their candy than be a waitress and be shit on all day about the cook's mistake or things taking longer than necessary, or tips.
Only thing I haven't said already: DO NOT LET THEM GET TO YOU. Everyone has their reasons for shitting on other people, just take it with a smile, apologize, offer to help them in whatever way and get them out the door. Also don't be afraid to get the manager if shit is really heating up. It doesn't look bad on you.
If you take a position as a sales associate, you're forced to learn how to be sociable with complete strangers. It may sound intimidating but your job is entirely dependent on it.
If it's your first retail position, I would suggest applying around Christmas. You're generally only expected to be there for the season but it's a great way to gain experience in the "field" and get a feel for it.
I'm doing a business management program for engineers right now. Here are some tips that I've gotten out of it:
- As a salesperson, it is your job to match customers with the right product. Don't sell them something they don't need or want (because they will have buyer's remorse later and they might not shop with you anymore), show them products that you think will actually satisfy a need for their life.
- Value keeping long-term customers because they are the most profitable and loyal. I don't know what kind of sales job you're in, but don't ever try to scam your customers by obnoxiously trying to sell stuff they don't need or lying to them. They will find out, it will catch up to your company, and you will not only lose the customer, but they will spread negative information to other people. You want the customer to be satisfied with their purchase so they feel comfortable enough to come back and tell other people to come as well.
- It's your job to KNOW ABOUT YOUR PRODUCTS. If the customer knows more about what you're selling than you do, you're not doing your job well. Also know about your competitor's products because customers often ask "what's the difference" or "why is this more expensive/cheaper" and you have to know how to answer those questions. A good salesperson, as I said, matches the right products to the right customer.
- Pay close attention to the customers. What products are they looking at? Did they come with a family? How old do they look and what's their gender? You can often tailor your suggestions to parameters like these to more easily find attractive products for the customer.
Hope that helps. Stick by those and I think it might make your job much more successful.
Combine that with the other stuff in this thread and I think it'll help.
Make your job fun. Yes, you likely make minimum wage and will have a monotonous habit of wording that you'll use. Stop it! Use words that sparkle to the customers. How are you doing? I'm doing fantasttttttttic.
How are you doing? I'm living the dream!
This will likely put a smile on the customers face, your face, and your day will be filled with joy!