Sunday, 28 March 2010

Assignment Four - Interview

For my interview assignment, I decided to focus on the question “ How do salespeople influence purchases?”

With lots of close friends working in shops as sale assistants and with us all being consumers, I felt that this was a very appropriate question to study through interviews. These consultations were mainly conducted within the city centre of Dundee.

I first of all made up two mind maps with the first one being my initial thoughts and the other ones being questions.

The questions I finally decided to use are:
1. What qualities make a good sale assistant?
2. Have you ever made an extra purchase because of good service?
3. What shop do you think has good sales assistants?
4. Have you ever not made a purchase because of poor service?
5. Where have you had good or bad service recently?
Salesperson question:
1. What qualities make a good sale assistant?
2.Do you get incentives for increased sales?
3. How does your experience of being a shopper affect your work in sales?

For my first response I decided to ask a part time female sales assistant: a student who works in Clarks shoe shop. She believed a good sales person should be approachable, friendly, good at listening, good with people and know about the products they are selling. It was very interesting to find out that if they sell more handbags and shoe care on top of selling shoes, the bonus is put in a pot and is split between all the staff. This is done to encourage the staff to work together. The sales assistant thought it slightly affects the way she works. When I asked her about her experiences as a customer rather than a member of staff she said, “I know that I don’t like to be pestered when shopping so I try not to hound customers. Also, I know that if I’m looking for something I need help with, then I’m more likely to understand when customers need my help.”

I then spoke to a Mother of two children. It was very interesting because her ideas of a good sales assistant are that they should have good communication skills, the ability to communicate with a wide range of clients and have a depth of knowledge on the products they are selling, along with an interest in their products. She has bought extra clothes from shops when the sale assistants have said it looks good or that they've been really glad that she bought it. The shop she believed to have good sales assistants was Debenhams. On the negative side of this, she has not made a purchase because of poor service. For example, if they take too long to notice her or if they take too long to serve her then sometimes she would leave the store without purchasing an item.

I next decided to interview some males. Firstly I began with a male teenager who thought that to make a good sales assistant you have to be approachable and you have to be confident. The only extra purchase this teen had taken was insurance but this was a necessity. He doesn’t like sales assistants in general, never mind a specific store, as he would prefer to ask for help when he needs it, rather than it being forced upon him. The teenager has never not made a purchase because of poor service but if someone has not helped when he needed it, he would go somewhere else. He has had bad service recently when he was told someone was going to call him back with an appointment but didn’t phone back, so he had to contact them again.

Finally I asked a businessman on his way home from a day at work. He said, ”I believe that a good sales assistant should be excellent at listening, approachable, enthusiastic and is able to work as a team.

In conclusion, I felt that people had very different opinions of sales assistants. It was interesting to find that the sales assistant came up with the same ideas of what makes good sales assistant as everyone else I interviewed. Overall it seems that salespeople have a very large influence on the purchases you buy every if it is from buying an extra purchases or even return to that shop other and other again the purchase other items.

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