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David Geller

Do You Need Another Salesperson, or Do You Need a Personal Sales Butler?

Decide what you need before you hire your next salesperson.




Do You Need Another Salesperson, or Do You Need a Personal Sales Butler?

Many storeowners believe they need more salespeople and then get disgusted when those staff members don’t sell a lot. I consulted with one store where the owner was responsible for 90 percent of the sales. He had one full-timer and one part-timer as sales staff, and their sales didn’t surpass what they were being paid. He wanted a new compensation plan.

I told him that before he worried about compensation, he had to get their closing ratio increased (they were not well-trained). But more importantly, he needed to realize that what he really had was two people that were his “right arm,” and there’s nothing wrong with that if the owner is comfortable making the majority of the sales. (Of course, this means sales go down when you’re on vacation.)

I learned sales training and compensation plans from Harry Friedman of The Friedman Group. He once told me a story about when he consulted with Radio Shack. The floor staff was on a good commission system. At Christmas, the stores hired more part-time, untrained sales staff. So here are permanent employees waiting to make a “killing” on commission at Christmas but having to help neophytes with silly questions. Harry suggested that they instead hire two people: a runner and a cashier. If the salesperson sold a radio, he called the runner over and said, “Melvin, this is Mrs. Thompson. Go in the back and get her this radio. Mrs. Thompson, Melvin will take you over to Martha, who will take your money. Have a great holiday.”

Christmas sales doubled. The best salespeople on staff SOLD!

In your store, you might just need a great “right hand” who knows how to assist you and pitch in on sales when needed, in addition to other admin duties. They should be well paid, because training a new one takes time and more money. This is not a “sit behind the desk” person; it’s your personal sales butler.


Think of them like a surgical assistant nurse, the one who can see the next scalpel the surgeon needs and, without asking, places the scalpel in the surgeon’s hand. 

Pay them well. Give them a percentage of store sales. Introduce them to customers. You’re a jewelry surgeon making money on each sale. Get a good jewelry assistant nurse. 



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