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March 2015

Essential Strengths of Front-line Employees
by Barbara Wold

How sales personnel engage customers can make or break a retail store. Most customers assume that small, local stores generally have a bigger focus on customer-care excellence. However, this isnít always the case. Big box retailers also can harness the power of engagement. It all boils down to how employees relate to customers.

Two women making a purchase in a boutique Whether or not you need or want the help, you canít help but be pleased when you are shown attention. Feeling important and welcome are two of our most basic needs. Itís all about the initial engagement and how the engagement commences that determines how the rest of the shopping experience will go. What skills and qualities are required by retail sales associates to facilitate positive initial engagements with customers?

  • Confidence: The confidence to make eye contact and strike up a conversation with strangers is absolutely essential.
  • Innate friendliness: Customers donít want to deal with sales associates who have to force themselves to be pleasant and nice.
  • Flexibility: When dealing with the public, things can go wrong. You have to be flexible enough to roll with the punches and think outside the box sometimes.
  • Ability to multitask: Sales associates have to juggle customers and their questions and needs, and at the same time attend to their other store duties.
  • Patience: Dealing with people means that you will have to take the good with the bad. The patience to deal with all types of customers is vital.
  • Articulate: Sales reps must be conversational and have the ability to formulate answers and provide information when asked.
  • Respectful: The customer might not always be right, but she is always the customer. Customers must be treated with respect, even in the most challenging situations.
  • Proactive: Itís never a good idea to wait until a customer is stressed or agitated before offering assistance. Being one step ahead to gauge when someone needs help is the best way to minimize a brewing situation.
  • Positivity: The ability to smile in the face of a long and possibly chaotic day can make a world of difference to customers.
  • Empathy: Being able to look at a situation through the eyes of a customer is an extremely valuable skill that can enable you to provide the highest degree of service.

At the end of the day, itís all about how a sales associate interacts with a customer. Sales associates are the front-line representatives of a store and business. How that interaction goes will ultimately determine if that customer will buy and recommend the store to her friends and family, or turn around and walk out, never to return again.

"Give your people room to run beyond your boundaries. . . ENCOURAGE them to run . . . You will succeed if your people are encouraged to create value and build coalitions across the organization." -- Art Petty, writing at

Barbara Wold is a street-smart, down-to-earth business speaker, presenting topics from sales and marketing to customer service and tourism. She is an international speaker who has "WOWED" over 900,000 people from 49 of the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, Singapore, Hong Kong, Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, China, Malaysia, India and the United Arab Emirates.

Quick Industry News


Buyers Brave Frigid New York Winter to Attend Toy Fair

NEW YORK - About 13,000 buyers from nearly 100 countries trudged through record snow over Valentine's Day weekend to see what was in store, spring through fourth quarter, at this year's North American International Toy Fair at the Jacob K. Javits Center. This year Toy Fair expanded to 422,000 square feet of exhibit space for its nearly 1,100 exhibitors showcasing hundreds of thousands of toys and games releasing this spring and fall for the holiday season. Special events were sponsored by the Toy Industry Association (TIA) and the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) (source).

New Wire Wrapped Bangles from Calypso Studios PRODUCT INTRODUCTIONS

New Wire Wrapped Bangles from Calypso Studios

Calypso Studios is proud to introduce the company's new Wire Wrapped Bangle Collections. There are more than ten collections to choose from! Each come in two different sizes - 2.5-in. and 2.7-in. Calypso Studios creates affordable fashion, faith, and just-for-fun jewelry, bags, and more. Calypso's 2015 catalog includes a wide range of wire wrapped bangles, stylish cork and quatrefoil bags, and vibrant comforting clay crosses- all at affordable prices!

CAMEO EZ© is the B2B e-commerce system developed by OmegaNet Inc., publisher of this newsletter, for use by retailers in ordering inventory for their stores. A partial list of CAMEO EZ sites can be found at the company's portals such as,,,,, and A complete list of sites is available in the "Directory" on