That’s is the question! We have had our fair share of sales agents over the years, we’ve talked to many of the other retailers over time and they all tend to say the same as us, a good agent is great and a bad agent can be damaging/time wasting and literally cost you money!
The main problem we have found with agents is you pretty much always buy things you didn’t intend to and actually wouldn’t have bought in the first place. For them that is obviously a good thing but sometimes its really actually quite frustrating ( you are annoyed with yourself for being sucked into the sales pitch!)
We came up with some tips for dealing with this:
- ALWAYS have a strict budget before they arrive, you can tell some of them your budget and say ‘I do not want to go over this amount please keep a running total for me’ a good agent will help you with this.
- Only look at the products you have previously agreed, when they pull out a catalogue for a new company, just make sure you only take the catalogue to look at for later, a good agent will not try and make you buy new products straight away but allow you time to look through on your own.
- Try and stick to a time scale, it’s very busy having your own business and those precious hours during shop time allow you to do things you won’t have to spend your evenings doing! So plan maybe an hour and stick to it, check your watch and when it gets near the time, just say sorry but you are out of time!
- Do make them a coffee/tea – they are people too! The amount of agents who I make coffee for say it’s a rarity!
So how would you define a good agent? After talking to many fellow retailers the common theme appeared to be:
One that respects your budget and calculates as you are going along
When they leave new brochures with you and don’t get their pens out expectantly whenever you are looking at anything!
When they don’t sell us things they are trying to shift! Any agent that has sold us dud stock that was apparently ‘an amazing seller’ has not been invited back!
Please do add more to the comments if you have any more ideas! We would be interested to hear from you.