Counter Sales: Defining The Role
As a counter salesperson, when customers walk through the door, you are generally the person they are looking for. These customers want to place an order and expect you - the counter salesperson - to take care of them. Although this encounter is usually brief, let’s examine what the customers’ overall expectations may be. What do customers expect of counter sales professionals? Since the customers’ perceived value of you as a supplier drives their expectations, knowing the answer to this question is important to meeting expectations and building relationship equity.
CEO Strategist research indicates customers have the following expectations of counter salespeople:
The Rest Of The StoryAs the counter salesperson, you are definitely on the front line. Yet, everyone in your company also plays a role. Accounting, human resources, warehouse personnel, truck drivers, administration, information technology and even your receptionist, if you have one, are all part of the service excellence formula. Why? Because people from every one of these functions touch the customer in some form or fashion.
Purchasing plays a particularly important role. The purchasing department must be knowledgeable about every manufacturer and each product line, and aged and dead inventory must be kept at a minimum. Remember, the right product at the right time is a key expectation of the customer. Purchasing and inventory management play a key role in meeting customer expectations.
Counter Responsibilities - Juggling And Multi-TaskingYou are a frontline warrior who makes real time face-to-face contact with customers. First and foremost, you are a salesperson. That deserves repeating. First and foremost, you are a salesperson. As a result, helping customers buy is a key responsibility. But keep in mind that in the customers’ eyes, you are also the service person. You are their lifeline, support structure and the solution to all their problems. Translation: They want immediate attention to their needs. This can include pricing, problem solving, recommendations and even sometimes just listening to their issues and/or problems. You will check stock, write orders, pick and pack and even invoice and collect on occasion.
Indeed, you are “director of first impressions,” so don’t underestimate your value or your impact on developing customer relationship equity. Frankly, you play a crucial role, which means you need technical knowledge, product knowledge, industry knowledge, leadership skills, and most importantly, people skills. You must be able to recognize opportunities to help the customer through suggestive selling, defining your value proposition and offering a choice.
Your knowledge, professionalism and people skills will lead to respect, which is the only platform able to support your efforts in building relationship equity. Look around - how is the counter organized? Are you always searching for product literature and flyers and promos, or is everything common to your customer base at your fingertips? What about your merchandising efforts? What does your storefront look like? Do you have shelf talkers?
The job of the front line counter salesperson, while not always clearly defined, encompasses many responsibilities, including:
On top of all this, counter salespeople are often expected to support field sales by taking their calls for customer service issues, product inquiries and numerous other requests, and they’re often subjected to disgruntled field sales representatives.
“Many counter salespeople keep their ‘red cape’ under the counter at their fingertips.”