BrainTrust Query: How to Deal With a Bad Commission Salesperson on Your Payroll
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of an article from the Retail Doctor’s blog.
Do you remember the Academy awards last year? On what was a particularly well crafted evening of entertainment with a good mix of humor, tears and celebration came the truck driver persona of Elinor Burkett.
It wasn’t her moment but she shoved her way onto the stage, interrupting and speaking over director Roger Williams who was accepting his award for directing "Music by Prudence." She was determined to make herself known. She did, in a bad way.
Do you have an Elinor on your sales team?
You know, the one who screams, "That was my sale!"
The one who makes everyone miserable.
The one who has to say to the salesperson while the customer is at the register, "I greeted them," or "Oh, you came back after you talked to your husband." They have to put the other person in their place, like Ms. Burkett attempted to do to Mr. Williams.
The problem for Ms. Burkett — the whole world was watching.
The problem for you is your whole store is watching. It is a big turnoff to any customer in earshot but especially the customer enduring the battle. Nothing screams, "We work on commission!!" more than that behavior.
If you don’t have a commission system, bonus program or other incentive, you never have to deal with this — too bad for you because no one is trying to be a superstar and make more money by moving more product. The merch is stuck doing all the work.
But if you have an "ups" system, where each person gets one "up" to greet a customer and then moves to the bottom of the order whether they sell that customer or not, create some ground rules:
- Once the customer walks out, you do not get credit for the sale.
- Close ’em or lose ’em — no business cards given to customers to "ask for me."
- Never cut in on a sale unless the other person allows it privately first.
- Never mention whose sale it is or commissions in front of a customer or both of you lose credit.
Set the ground rules ahead of time and you’ll reduce the chances of having an Elinor Burkett barrel their way into a sale, ruining your customers’ experience, and giving customers something bad to remember you by. Or worse, telling their friends on Facebook or posting a video on YouTube.
Discussion questions: How should retailers manage any competitive bickering resulting from commission-based sales? What would you add to the suggestions mentioned in the article?