How to hire the right person to reduce sales staff turnover

By Keri Algar

SYDNEY, NSW: An industry insider has revealed that one of the major electronics stores has a 50 per cent staff turnover every 6 to 12 months, and that this is symptomatic of the consumer electronics and appliance industry. The problem this creates for retailers, as well as suppliers attempting to keep sales staff trained on their products and new technologies, is evident.

Professional staff trainer David Penglase told Current.com.au that creating a positive workplace begins with effective recruitment. In a nutshell, hiring staff who are ‘in transit’ to another type of job — who see retail as a stepping stone to something else — is a breeding ground for an unhealthy workplace culture.

“If retail Australia is looking to create workplaces that attract, develop and retain customer service and sales staff who take pride in their work, the key question that needs to be asked is ‘What would cause a customer service or sales person to be proud of their role?’,” said Penglase.

“For sales and customer service staff to be proud of what they do there needs to be two things in place.  The first is they need to have strong ‘self belief’.  That is they need to believe in who they are, and that they have the skills, knowledge and attributes to be able to do their job well.  The second is they need to have a strong belief in the value they create for customers when they sell what they sell. 

“This is the starting place to build positive sales and customer service cultures to be proud of.  Of course it’s about the sales and revenue, but what causes customers to buy, buy again and recommend and refer others is when they have had an outstanding buying experience.

“When salespeople have an intention that is based on truly believing in the value they create for customers when they sell what they sell, there is a micro and macro effect.  The micro effect is in the pride that the salesperson has in what they do, which increases their motivation and performance.  The macro effect starts with the emotional and intellectual connection that is created between the salesperson and their customers.

“When a salesperson has a clear intention to create value for their customers, the customer picks up on the salespersons ‘truth’.  They get that the salesperson is genuinely wanting to help – and in knowing this, the customer’s trust in the salesperson grows.  The macro effect extends then from the initial contact with one customer to other customers through referrals and recommendations.”

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