Notes from Jeff York

Small business marketing thoughts from a marketing small business owner

Posts Tagged ‘job

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circuit_city_logoAs any of my past teachers will tell you, when I get bored, I get into trouble. In order to keep out of trouble and to keep my mind sharp, there have been times in the past when in addition to my career, I take a part time job in an area completely different from what I do full time. In the past, I have served as a paid tax preparer, deli worker, photomat technician, I’m still licensed by the state to sell life insurance, and I am now coming to the end of my time as a sales associate at the soon to be defunct electronic retailer, Circuit City.

From my relatively brief time at Circuit City (started Oct and my last day will be in Feb), I have an excellent vantage point from which to see some of the failings of that company. First, a little background.

The store that I as employed at was not a traditional Circuit City. Instead, it was modeled as an “Experience Store” type offering. By that, it differed from the other Circuit City stores in the following ways:

– We had a greeter at the front door. At WalMart, this person’s role is to make someone feel welcome when walking into the store. At The City, the greeter asked if they could direct a visitor to a section of the store. That allows the greeter to tell everyone via mic/earpiece where a customer is going and that they need to be pounced on within 30 seconds (store policy).

– Someone would take it upon himself or herself to look to see how our store is doing in relationship to our daily goal and to push us toward selling harder, regardless of how we’re performing that day.

– Hidden behind the idea of teaching people about the technologies we offer, every part of the sales process is geared toward two basic concepts; what will it take to get you to walk out with something today and how can I get you to purchase an extended warrantee with that?

At this point, I feel obligated to mention that this post is not designed to be a gripe against The City. Far from it. However, as it is a large corporate failure happening today, and because of my perspective, my aim is to use it as a case study and a blueprint of what not to do if you hope to enjoy sales success long term.

Starting with the first encounter with a customer walking into the store, the idea that every single guest needs to be contacted at least once within the first 30 seconds generates a very fundamental negative scenario; due to a lack of communication and forced zeal, customers aren’t so much helped as they are hounded. This has left a very poor taste in the mouth of many customers and generated the appearance of desperation on behalf of the store.

When an eager employee takes it upon themselves to look up and announce daily store performance, that can be helpful. When that information is always couched with “…but we can do better,” it’s demotivating. Nothing the staff can do is good enough. Therefore, why try? Especially when most of the floor team within this type of company is younger, motivation is crucial to success.

I have been on the customer side of “What will it take to get you to buy today.” It’s uncomfortable. It creates, by nature, resistance. A wise customer should always feel like a good deal today will still be a good deal tomorrow. The recipe for success for The City would have included the philosophies of you’ll buy from us because we have the best selection, the best prices, the best policies, and we’ll spend time working on find the right item for you. Because we will only deal with you with respect and honesty, you will have the utmost confidence that we have your best interests in mind and if you don’t buy today, you will tomorrow. We buy items we need from manufacturers we know and people/companies we trust. The “buy now” concept is actually effective short term. Long-term success doesn’t rely on having someone buying an item today. It’s directly dependant on someone buying today AND tomorrow. Bully or pressure someone into buying now, they don’t come back. And, of course, they generate a whole negative word-of-mouth campaign against you.

The last item I mentioned, extended warrantees, are almost never a good idea. Thankfully, most people see through the smoke and mirrors and wisely decline the add-on. I don’t think additional discussion on the topic is warranted.

If you’re a retailer or other business owner within a brick and mortar storefront, have you taken the time to reexamine your company’s sales philosophies from the customer perspective? If you were a customer, would you feel welcome? Would you come back? Would you tell others to go there? Honest answers to those questions are key to generation of more sales.

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Written by Jeff York

January 26, 2009 at 1:58 am

It’s sink or swim time

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cmswim_article_wideweb__470x3910The election’s finally over and the economy is still the topic at the top of the news. Besides business issues which I have talked about previously, individual families are also continuing to feel the pressures. After all, a family is like a business with incomes and outflows, profit and loss.

During these difficult times, people are turning to the Internet for information on how to deal with their particular problems. I was thinking that this week would be the perfect opportunity to share with others what you are doing to keep your family’s proverbial head above water. Are you currently in the market for another position? Are you thinking of picking up a part-time job? How secure do you feel in your current position and what are you doing to make yourself invaluable?

I hope that you share. During these trying times, we all need to stick together.

Written by Jeff York

November 8, 2008 at 3:18 pm

Are you staying up to speed?

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Remember school?  Remember thinking “when will I ever use this piece of information?”  Then it came time to go to college.  Most of the courses were more of the same.  But you played the game, got the degree or certificate, and got a job.  Much of what you needed to know, you learned on the job.

But is that enough?

Good organizations invest in their employees by sending them to training and seminars.  Many people who are very serious about their careers spend time and money on their own training as well.  It’s also an avenue for job seekers that are looking to separate themselves from their competition.  What better way to show you’re current and passionate than getting additional related training?

It’s always a good idea to look into getting yourself some additional training and development.  Even more so in today’s economic environment.

Are you doing anything to increase your standing within your organization?  Are you learning a new skill or working toward a certificate in something new in anticipation of a career change?  I’d love to hear about what your experiences and outcomes were from taking the time and investing in yourself.