Mentors are Everything

This is the first time that I have ever had a retail shop where people come in and look around.  I’m trying very hard to become a good salesperson and have been lucky enough to find a Mentor that comes in and is not hesitant about giving me instructions on how to do things better.  She has been selling antiques for years and has the perfect attitude and energy level to do it well.  Unfortunately, when I go shopping I just HATE it when the Seller hovers around me.  If they are striking up a conversation with me I have to stop shopping so that I can look at them and then I lose track of what I’m looking for and I move faster and don’t see anything just to get away from them.  Sellers can literally chase me out of a store.  Sometimes they just hover and pretend that they are stocking shelves and arranging things and make me feel like they think I’m a criminal.  So, my motivation is very low and I tend to hide out behind the counter.  I’m available if the people want anything and I try to keep an eye on them but as inconspicuously as possible.  I’m a terrible shop owner.  The consequence is that especially during this economy, people come in and stay for an hour looking at things so that they can get a value of what they already have or treat the store like a museum.   They always leave happy and tell me I have a lovely store and that everything is arranged so nice and they will be back with their friends, relatives, etc.  But,  there is no sale.

When my Mentor is in the shop she actually accosts them!  (and what is funny is that they don’t seem to mind!)  She gets into a conversation and gets them somehow to tell her what they are looking for and if she can’t find that item she will go back to them with another (because she now knows their taste) and darned if she doesn’t sell them something that I never would have brought to their attention.  I’ve seen her sell a wicker set to someone who I think came in for a pin cushion!  So, the people leave with buying something.  This is SO hard for me to do because I just know I’m going to stutter or trip over something or generally make a fool of myself.

My Mentor also has taught me to keep my eyes open.  Often she will make a face and point and wave at me when she sees someone slip something into their large coat or their large bag or their large shirt.  This to me astounds me each time.  I would no more steal at a store than I would spit in one!  AND, she has the courage to go up and tell them to put it back!  I tried that once and the guy had just been scratching his stomach.  I was so embarrassed and obviously, lost the client and they went out.  Yep.  No sale.  I’m not sure why these people steal.  It is usually small items that aren’t worth much to them.  I had one person take the cup from a child’s set yet leave me the saucer.  They may as well have taken both.  I’ve seen people put tapes up their shirt at garage sales when the price was only 25 cents.  I actually feel so sorry for them that I just gawk and don’t say a word.  I’ll learn.  It just may take a while.  It’s getting so that my Mentor waits for me to take the initiative unless I miss something.  Mentors are wonderful persons.  If you find one – never let them go.  Give them things, serve them coffee, bow to them when they come in the store but never let them go!!!

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