27 Jun 2011

Little House on the Prairie (Part 1)

I might make a few envious amongst my readership as soon as I reveal to all of you guys that I am currently working for a garden preservation society! This new chapter in my curriculum is practically a match made in Heaven as it combines personal passions and hobbies: botany + ethnography + ecology + interest for the island of Corsica + the more pragmatic commercial flair.


Commercial flair is a driving force to any business and in this case it is not so much in relation to the business itself whose status as a society makes it reliant upon various state subsidies and the generosity of private benefactors, than tapping (further) into the revenue potentiality offered by the on-site organic delicatessen and healthcare/ beauty boutique.

With a new chairman at the helm, an established down-to-earth entrepreneur with solid business acumen, the garden society is set to sail towards a more promising future. I have been tasked with shop management, stocks, pricing, supplier relations, advertising and the sales experience whereby the customer receives a personalised '+1' service that goes beyond the sell/ purchase transaction. Without meaning to sound pretentious, I would be enclined to say that this is something I am good at and I am loving the challenge!


My secret? Just plain common sense really. I personally believe in, understand and praise the benefits for each and every single product for sale in the boutique. I have used most of them and my advice is no push-to-sell pitch. I am not commissioned by either the brands I sell or the society itself, and I certainly don't have the mindset of the ordinary sales person who clocks in and clocks out and painfully chews their bubble gum looking glum for the time in-between, while wishing their life away day after day... Hey, what a waste for both employer and employee: there is some urgent need for a career change!

Each customer deserves my full attention, because this is the way I would like to be treated and acknowledged as a customer. A customer has every right to enjoy and remember their retail experience, and it is the shop floor sales' objective to make that experience pleasant, memorable and meaningful, whether the customer buys a jar of cherry preserve, a case of premium wine, or a basketful of groceries and essential oils.


A smile works wonders too. Maybe some shop workers out there need reminding about the power of a smile, acknowledging the customer and showing that you care, that you're there. Besides I always have advice to hand, ideas and suggestions on how to use those compôtes, chutneys, dried herbs or myrtle essence, even anecdotes about plants, land, weather, Corsica, the economy, you name it...

All in all, you can imagine that I am not stuck for words: just take a look at La Baguette and you get a pretty good idea! (to be continued)

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