Where to draw the line in selling?

My second Saturday job as a teenager was as a sales girl in a shoe shop.

Big difference from the previous set up in the attitude of the other full-time sales assistants here: At this place everyone was paid a basic wage plus commission on individual sales. So now I had to learn the art of tactfully yet firmly standing my ground when another assistant tried to cut in on a would-be customer (read: potential sale = commission = more money in someone’s pocket).

I also heard some of the most appalling lies about how good such and such a pair of shoes looked on “madam” made her legs appear longer, her feet smaller/ narrower, etc., and how these shoes/ boots/ sandals will “feel like a pair of slippers before you know it”, and “we have just the handbag to go with them for you!”

They absolutely loved the opportunity to sell the RWBs (basically discontinued lines that had flopped) because they got huge commission on those in comparison to the regular ranges of shoes.

Those sales assistants weren’t nasty people by nature, they just seemed to change mentality the moment a prospective customer walked in the door. They’d ‘size them up’ and estimate what they thought they could get away with.

I wouldn’t mind betting that at least half of those people never came back…

Which brings me to my tip on where to draw the line in selling:

It doesn’t matter what your reasons are –

  1. This sale will make you sales person of the month
  2. This sale will pay the office rental for the next two months
  3. This sale will pay the salaries for the next three months

… Whatever.

Never try to either force a sale onto an uncertain customer or oversell to anyone – it might temporarily get you out of a jam but isn’t fair, you won’t build a good relationship with that customer and it won’t work to your company’s advantage in the long run.

Happy selling!

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