- David OKS
Sales consultant: a profession in decline or a force to be reckoned with?
At a time when retail is undergoing profound upheaval, particularly with the acceleration of digital transformation, capitalising on the role of the salesperson is becoming vital, while some might think that the profession is doomed to disappear...
Proof of this is the fact that recruitment forecasts were still rising in 2022. However, it is important to understand the urgent need for retailers to evolve in order to face the challenges brought about by new uses and to ask themselves how they can remove the main asset of human value in order to perpetuate their activity.
Rekindling the meaning of the business by creating (added) value
Contrary to certain preconceived ideas, consumers remain very attached to physical shops. Moreover, 80% of sales still take place there and the transactions carried out there are "twenty times more important", with e-commerce representing a minority share of consumer goods sales in France.
It is clear that the physical relationship remains a growth factor for points of sale. They remain experiential places that revolve around a nerve centre formed by the sales advisors. As long as they are committed, they will carry the brand's ethics with conviction and develop a relationship of trust with customers, giving a certain added value to the profession, just like the advisory dimension.
Indeed, by proposing alternative solutions (second-hand, rental/repair, subscriptions, etc.), they show the customer that they are not just selling a price but also and above all a service, that they want to help them and meet their expectations, or even their latent needs. Because a person who goes to the point of sale does not want to see a "product sheet" in front of him or her, but someone who will be able to guide them and share their expertise so that they leave the shop with something extra, for example, keys to making savings or consuming better.
In this way, the sales advisor can also become a channel for eco-responsible practices and have the feeling of being useful to society, at a time when the quest for meaning in work has never been so strong.
Working around the notion of the "augmented salesperson"
Today's sales advisor is very versatile. His or her job has diversified, leaving less room for his or her primary function: to inform and satisfy a customer. To this end, technology can help him by taking over repetitive tasks, by making certain actions that will enable him to optimise his day more efficient, or by making recommendations.
The aim is to enable them to free up all their human potential so that their profession can regain its full potential. To achieve such a result and finally become a better version of oneself, it is necessary to reconcile the imperatives of the field with those of technology. In concrete terms, it is a question of integrating the business while disrupting the technical ecosystem as little as possible in order to interconnect as simply as possible.
In order to be able to convincingly embody the story of his brand, the sales advisor should no longer have to manage waiting times, stock levels or customer understanding thanks to the data collected with his agreement. He will deliver more value and uniqueness, strengthened by the catalytic effect of the Internet that brands use to unite their audience with engaged and engaging content that creates a community effect. It is therefore by means of technology that the sales advisor will succeed in expanding his or her comfort zone and offering a better experience that will contribute to the growth of the brand, while doing his or her job with passion.
With the tools at his disposal, the sales consultant will be able to reinvest in the fundamentals of the job and give them more prominence, enhancing the meaning of his work so that it is no longer considered as such. In this period of multiple crises and difficult recruitment, this dimension seems more than necessary. This is why a retailer who wants to make a difference in order to perpetuate its business has every interest in developing the strengths of its workforce.