Exclusive by Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY: Tom DiTerlizzi’s comments yesterday that having bad sales staff won’t necessarily cost you at the register has provoked strong responses from our readers.

The store manager of an independent in North Parramatta, Behrouz Bolurieh, contacted Current.com.au to say that a talent for closing is vital for a consumer electronics shop.

“I don’t really agree with Mr DiTerlizzi’s opinion,” said Bolurieh. “I’m a sales person myself, and my CE store doesn’t have the widest range of products that my customers can choose from, but I have hardly lost any sales, just because I can talk my customers into buying what I do have in stock.”

Bolurieh believes the ability of a salesperson to keep the consumer in the store, and to find a product that satisfies their needs, even if it weren’t the brand or model they were originally looking for, is vital.

“I ask them what feature of that product they are interested in, and I point out the substitute product that I have in stock. I don’t remember the last time I lost a sale because of that.

“So salespeople do make a difference in the company’s bottom line.”

As for whether loss leading is sustainable strategy for a consumer electronics retail store, Bolurieh is on the fence. He’s used the tactic himself, but it only just worked.

“I look after our local newspaper ads and I feel a lot of marketers are under pressure by the bosses to have more stronger and more attractive promotions to generate traffic in to the store.

“Last week I had everything reduced to clear, on very minimal margins. We did end up selling a big lot, but at the end of the day, it was just enough to pay our bills.”

What’s your view on this? Who’s right, Tom or Behrouz? Send me an email.