Publicado en El Pais, 1 de Junio 2019.
When I walk through a supermarket, I like to observe sales promotors who make me try all kinds of free food samples. Their goal, obviously, is not to fill the stomach of the hungry visitors. On the contrary, they are there to make customers try their product and convince them to spend their money on something they didn’t plan on buying originally.
Many companies go for such strategy to help push their new product into the market or gain extra attention of a certain bargain. So, this must work, right? The general idea of making a customer “try” is highly effective. However, most companies design the tactic poorly and make me wonder if the profit of that day really compensates for the cost of having someone pushing and giving away product samples all day. The people hired for the job are rarely trained sufficiently to be proactive and are essentially only very expensive product stands. The well-rehearsed phrase often doesn’t go further than: “Do you want to try this new product?” ”It is now with a discount price”, “two for the price of one” or “for introduction it’s 30% off”. I often like to entertain myself by asking some question to see how much they really know about the product.
Training is not even the biggest problem. In marketing research there is a method called focus groups, in which you see how a small group of people respond to, for example, a new product. The information is later used to adjust the strategy. The sales promotors are close to the customers, they are in one-on-one situation so they could inform a lot on the product. The additional cost of registering the responses of the customer is nearby zero. But they rarely collect this data (monitoring) systematically. Data could be used to evaluate the product as how many people tried and how many didn’t want to; how many mentioned something about the product; how many reacted positively or negatively to it or to the informed price, etc. Sadly, the companies cannot evaluate the product or their strategy based on the work of the sales promotors as they do not register anything.
So, when you hire a sales promotor, first make sure you give the appropriate training, and make sure the person has the appropriate knowledge about the product to really help the customer. Next let them note down the responses of every customer if possible, in a systematic way. Like this, you can tell that your sales promotor is worth double!