Do You Have A Bitter Betty Employee Killing Your Retail Sales?

By Bob Phibbs

retail employee motivation

You’ve met her  …or him before as a customer …

The employee who knows everything.

Who condescends to help you if they are so moved. 

Whose unhappiness with their own life spills over onto the sales floor and onto unsuspecting customers.

The root of the problem, I believe, is that  they have lost any curiosity about your customer, your products, and their job.

These usually are your senior employees (not defined by age but how long they have worked for you) where everything for them is predictable.

They've seen it before. They know how to play the game.

They know exactly who will buy …and who is kicking tires.

They think new products are really just a remake of something else…and not much better.

They come in three minutes before the store opens and leave on the dot at 5pm…even if you are open until 6pm.

They hide behind a title like manager or senior assistant that they think gives them a get-out-of-jail-free card from helping customers. I mean truly helping them.

They don’t see their attitude as anything less than exemplary, but everyone else is poorly trained or a mis-hire.

If you’ve got someone like this or several…

If you are tired of banging your head against the brick wall they have erected..

If every time you talk with them you get I have my own way of doing things...

Something has to change.

See also, Retail Sales Training: How to Get Started and What to Expect 

Talk with them, give them a written evaluation and a couple days to correct it…or else.

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive from business owners is, "How can I get staff who have worked in my store for awhile to embrace new retail sales training?"

If I had but one piece of advice to give you to increase your sales, it is that you need to develop your own curiosity of other people…and hire people who you can help develop their curiosity as well.

Like I said above, Bitter Bettys have no desire to do that.

Customers buy more when you make them laugh or consider something in a way they never had before.  By engaging with a great salesperson, their mindframe changes and they are open to buying.

The customer becomes a partner in the sales process, not a pawn.  

While they may have met a stranger originally, they leave feeling they had met a buddy. The only way that really happens though is if the employee they met was curious about them.

If you are dealing with a senior staff member (again, they've been there awhile, not their age) who may be oblivious to how jaded they have become, go through a sale and show them how and where a customer lost interest. Get them to see what you see, then ask how you could have done it differently. 

Did they even realize what was going on? Did they care?

If not, you have some firing to do...and then some hiring. 

See also, Retail Brands Are In Trouble. Is Yours Next?

In Sum

If you are reading this and recognize some of these traits as your own, there's still time. The thing that you need to work on is being curious. 

If you serve customers with curiosity, you’ll be 90% ahead of your competitors.

If you can develop your employees to always be curious, you’ll have long-term employees who will never be seen as uncaring Bitter Bettys.

You can build a business with their talents.

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