It goes without saying that closing a sale is the most important part of a salesperson’s job. The buyer might like something, be ready to pay for it, and yet, due to some seemingly flimsy reason, the final exchange of money-for-the-product may not happen. Very often, it all comes down to the person handling the customer.
When it comes to big-ticket items such as jewellery, this is even more so. Retail jewellers do not need good salespersons – they need awesome people who will win over customers, convince them that they are making the right decision, assure them of dedicated after-sales service, and then ensure that the sale does takes place. Finding such people is, by no means, an easy task.
Hiring the perfect salesperson
While most companies have a good idea of how to hire the right kind of people to sell their wares, retail jewellers often need to go the extra mile. Says Anil Kataria, Promoter, DP Jewellers, Indore, “Salespersons play a key role in building loyalty and trust between customers and the company. So, we pay a lot of attention to the kind of people we want as our salespersons. First off, we check for the candidate’s experience and product knowledge. Next, we find out whether the candidate is ethical, a team player, a quick learner. Does s/he have patience, and the ability to withstand pressure in order to deal with difficult customers? Soft skills and body language are important factors, as are passion for the job and willingness to undergo training."
Very often, jewellery retailers have multiple outlets, some in rural areas and some in urban clusters. Industry players say they prefer a certain personality type in a Tier I city, and a different kind of a salesperson in semi-urban and rural areas. “As our store has varied clientele, we have to choose our staff very carefully. A client from a rural area is dealt with by salespersons with one kind of a personality, while for our customers in urban areas, we hire a totally different type of a salesperson,” says Shikhar Agarwal, Director, Kamna Jewellers, Bulandshahar, UP.
Difference between a good and a great salesperson
Sales being essentially a people-oriented job, the personality of the salesperson is one of the most important determinants of selection. The gift of the gab is a handy tool in the arsenal of salespersons, but they also have to make sure they are equipped with information about the product, their competitors, market conditions, and so forth.
Enumerating the desirable traits in a potential salesperson, Vikas Bansal, Proprietor, OPS Jewellers, Haryana, says, “If you want to hire the best salesperson, check for a positive attitude and a sunny personality. Good salespersons need to be persistent, without becoming a nuisance, they need to remain calm under pressure. They should be able to assess the personality of the customer, and modify their approach accordingly. Moreover, they should be quick on their feet, be aware of their surroundings, and yet come across like they are paying full attention to the customer.”
According to Milan Shah, Director, Kalamandir Jewellers, Surat, Gujarat, there is a difference between a good salesperson and a great salesperson. “We need to look deep into candidates to assess their suitability. Experience and product knowledge are not enough. A salesperson could have years and years of experience and still not be as good as a fresher who has what it takes. A great salesperson has an extra edge, and our HR team is experienced enough to spot that X factor.”
Interestingly, in India, most jewellery retailers prefer to let their HR teams do the hiring, and do not outsource the job to consultants. Says A Shivram, Founder, Retail Gurukul, a company that provides retail consultancy, “Most retailers still do not contact experts in the field, such as us, when it comes to coaching and training their staff. Training the right skillset, especially when it comes to sales, is a specialized job in itself, and if you do not have the best talent to do your sales, the loss is yours. Retail companies need to remember that salespersons are the face of your brand, and the last contact between the customer and the brand. If that person is not good enough, all the backend effort is a complete waste.”