The skills that make a great retail sales clerk will carry over into any job or career. I have worked in retail for 22 years, 16 of those as a store-owner, and I have developed the skills to work successfully in retail. I am sharing five tips I have learned for anyone considering a job in retail sales.
1. Patience: Essential for Retail Success
Good people skills are essential for a successful retail career. There will always be impolite, needy, or mean people. Patience is important, and I have learned to find whatever reserves I have when I can. Take a deep breath and continue. Getting a grumpy customer to relax or even smile will help toward establishing a connection.
2. Make the Human Connection
In retail sales, the customer is measuring the value of doing business with me over my competition. Prices are usually lower online, and along with free shipping and no sales tax, it is a strong temptation to research in-store and buy online. I have to bridge that divide. Great customer service is one of the ways to make the sale. There are customers that recognize the value of the in-store experience. I know my product, I stand behind what I sell, and I greet them with a smile and call them by name if I know it when they enter my business.
3. See What the Customer Sees
When I enter a store, I expect certain things: a friendly greeting, attentiveness without pushiness, an orderly appearance. When someone walks into my retail location, what are his or her expectations? I want to exceed these expectations. We are all used to impersonal or even rude treatment. It is a pleasant surprise when it does not happen.
4. Find Your Niche
Be familiar with everything you sell, and become an expert in at least one area of the business. When you answer questions intelligently, you take a large step towards establishing trust with the customer. Knowledge and expertise make you an asset to your business and customers recognize that you have done your homework. I learn as much as I can about the products I sell.
5. Honesty, Integrity, and Responsibility
Honesty with both customers and suppliers is important for continued retail success. Accept personal responsibility for your actions when you make a mistake. I return money to a customer who has overpaid; I let a vendor know if they send me too much product. Establishing a reputation for integrity can take a while, but it is quickly destroyed with one misstep.