Hire People Who Fit Your Culture

We are all conditioned to help ourselves when we go out and buy something. Many retailers have a requirement to fill a position to keep the business moving, but that requirement is a warm body. Any high school student can work a cash register, organize inventory and “pep-up” the storefront, after all, they are just there to scoot by and get a paycheck. High school students aren’t the only ones, but interns, and temps and too often, even the full-time staff, are just trying to fill in the block of life for their resume and experience portfolios.

The truth is that these types of employees – the ones that are on their way somewhere else – can do more harm than good to your brand. Shopping should be an experience for the Customer, and often becomes a chore due to those retail sales employees who can be like vultures, sniping new customers and making them try on new clothing or worse yet, yell across the store at you as soon as you walk in (a common practice these days that does more harm than good.)

Remember, shopping is an experience that you engineer and if you want repeat customers to help your retail store thrive then each Customer that walks in the door should be worshiped. In other countries, they have customer service right by waiting hand-and-foot on customers to the finest detail. Many retail stores are forgetting about this compassion and moving customers through the store like on an assembly line. Nobody wins with this approach. This is an experience, but not one a Customer is eager to repeat. You must engineer and experience they want to repeat time and time again.

Customers that need assistance will let employees know by their body language, when a Customer crosses the threshold into a store, there is already anxiety but it is intensified when employees are lethargic or over excited to sell products. At least let the tint change on their glasses when they come in before pouncing. Always acknowledge their presence, but do so in a manner that is welcoming, not scary. There must be an even balance of customer support and personality.

People that are lethargic in your retail store need to be mentored to create a positive experience. The incentive for employees should be to make someone enjoy their visit even if they decide not to buy anything.

Employee demeanor is key to maintaining a high level of professionalism and protecting the integrity of the retail store. If employees cannot satisfy a smile, then they can go work fast food, because in retail, the experience, and personable employees that can relate to customers is the real success to have your retail store thrive. Instead of worrying about numbers, worry about how the customer feels – worry about the Customer experience.

When hiring, remember to hire people who fit your culture. That means they may not have years of experience, but their personality and core values match the personality of your store. And if that’s the case, then naturally the experience they deliver with a Customer is consistent with the brand you are trying to build. I have hired more people from the drive-thru line at fast food chains to run my cash register in my stores than from anywhere else. If the person working at a McDonald’s all day can take the time to make me smile, then they are someone who naturally smiles. (not that McDonald’s is a bad place to work, but I think you understand.) And that is how you engineer an experience.

Copyright 2016, Matthew Hudson is an award-winning retailer, keynote speaker, master sales trainer and author of over 4 books on selling, corporate culture, retail, and sales and marketing.

Matt Hudson

Master Sales Trainer with 31 years of sales & marketing experience. Author of 4 books including Advisor Selling and the Retail Sales Bible.