I worked for a high-end and popular designer department store that offered everything from five inch heels to couches and kitchen appliances. You’re always going to come across the slow days, the monster customers and even be rewarded in some areas.. But how do you stay calm and collected? The number one thing I enjoyed about being a Sales Associate is that every work day was never the same. Here are my secrets on surviving as a sales associate and how to beat the odds of just an ordinary day.
Stay professional at all times. You have to bring yourself up to smile and be nice even when you don’t want to. During the crazy holiday season, I had a customer who wanted to return something that was obviously worn, with no tags and get this.. no receipt! How was I supposed to return something that had no recollection of ever being in the store? It’s tough but you have to keep the façade. No matter how beat down you think you are, the monster customers will eventually give up if you keep strong and put your foot down. The customer screamed at me from the top of her lungs, asked to speak with my manager and eventually walked away with the non-returnable merchandise. The motto is “the customer is always right” but in this case, she wasn’t. I’ve gotten brownie points from my managers by staying civil. I’ve proved that I can handle a difficult situation.
Go above and beyond. You have your slow days when there’s nothing to do so you end up refolding clothes you’ve already folded. Most of the time, your department manager or shift leaders will give work to do. If you’ve already accomplished that, take a look around and see what needs to be done without someone having to tell you to do it. Before you do anything without being told, take the precautions and make sure it’s not something anyone in your department would disapprove of. We had a huge presale going on where customers would purchase whatever they want and have an additional 30% off. The only catch was, they had to pick up a week later. One day it was super slow and the department was spic and span. I had nothing to do and hours to kill. I went in the backroom and I alphabetized the presale orders by last name so when the rest of the Retail Sales Associates came in, it’d be easier for them to find what they were looking for. My manager told me that I read her mind and I did exactly what she was going to ask me to do. Mangers look at effort and take note of what you do.
Be familiar with what’s going on. Always keep yourself updated with the store, specifically your department. There was once a sale going on that I had no idea started since I was off for the last 3 days. Good thing a fellow coworker told me, otherwise I would have charged the customer full price. There are always deals, sales, specials and discounts. You have to know information like that at all times!
There is no such thing as too much. Keeping shelves fully stocked or “overflowing” isn’t a bad thing. This will help you out in the long run. When you have a rush of customers, you won’t have time to run back and forth to the stock room to resupply the shelves. Having too much of one item is highly suggested!
Never compete. You’re working so keep in mind that this isn’t a race or a competition. I’ve seen fellow sales associates become good friends and then things turn sour once one of them brags about how many pairs of shoes they sold. It creates hostility in the environment and makes things completely awkward. No one likes boasting or bragging, especially the manager. When you work as a sales associate, you work together as a team to accomplish the goals of the store!
Do what you do best, sell! When someone buys a winter coat, suggest a scarf to go with the coat. If they buy something in electronics, ask them if they already have batteries. That’s how retail sales associates do their job!
After using my tips from my past experiences as a retail sales associate, you should be on your way to loving and appreciating your job even more! Remember, retail sales associates are there to help customers. You set the example of the company you work for. Do what you love and love what you do!