Business Cents 6: the importance of salespeople, training and culture
BOWMANVILLE, Ontario – The relationship between the salesperson on the floor and the independent retailer who owns the store can be precarious. Managing that relationship is the theme of Episode 6 of Business Cents, a series of conversations between the writer and Albert Marrache, founder and president of Phoenix AMD International, the added-value resource based here.
“I have some very controversial ideas about sales and salespeople,” is how Albert starts off the conversation. “Most retailers cringe at my ideas but I think most retailers have totally forgotten how important the real role of a salesperson is – and it’s not having a body on the floor to deal with a customer.”
He also admits he’s tough on his own salespeople, he has standards he needs them to meet and a customer experience he expects them to deliver. He also believes that, far too often, the independent store owner surrenders control of his business to the salesperson on the floor.
“I’m really considered tough on salespeople,” Albert says, “but the reality is I believe in them more than anybody in the industry. I believe salespeople are not norn, they’re made. And I believe sales are a technique. I believe you need to encourage salespeople and make sure they hone their craft.”
For this reason, he’s big on role playing as a training model. He believes this is something that should be done regularly and for the same reasons that the best professional baseball players take batting practise every day. The same principal applies.
Marrache maintains retailers – especially independent store owners – need to overcome their fear of losing a salesperson. “The biggest problem in our industry is almost everybody has given up on making sure the salespeople in their stores do exactly what they want them to do because they are afraid of losing them or not being able to replace a body where they haven’t.”
Occasionally the store owner loses control of the relationship with the customer to the salesperson. The most likely reason for this to happen is because the salesperson fails to deliver the customer experience as the owner designed it. Marrache points to the salesperson who refuses – for whatever reason – to present the add-on sale after closing a deal, even though the owner’s policy is to do so.
This why he stresses the importance of training. “The training program is about how you sell the customer. And this goes back to what is your culture and your vision. If you believe customers are buying sofa/love seats, then you’re going to show your salesperson how to sell sofa/love seats.
“But, if you believe your customer is coming in because they want to change their living room and they want a new type of lifestyle, then you need to show them how selling a lifestyle is different then selling a sofa/ love seat.”
Click here to view Episode 6 of Business Cents. We’re confident you’ll find it worthwhile.