questionswhy are sales people useless at times?

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Most Best Buy employees are non-commission, hourly employees. As such, you can be a victim to their indifference, or them wanting to up-sell just so that they can get more hours. I know some stores are in the practice of giving more hours to those that up-sell, or add-on sell, more than others. It seems as most of the time sales people have enough stress and that people just become numbers and they lose sight of customer service.

I've worked for Best Buy. I've been a manager in customer related fields for the majority of my adult life. I've worked huge chains of national stores in retail and know how that comes about.

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I agree with @xarous, I'm pretty sure BBY employees aren't based on a traditional commission. The more they sell in one pay period, quarter, etc; the more hours they're given to work in the following period. I haven't set foot in a best buy unless it was an emergency and needed something within the hour, but I always hate the feel of having a big $ over my head when I get bombarded by 10 different sales people.

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It has gotten to the point (even more with electronics) that if you don't do your own research you will most likely get screwed. If you go into a place where they really know their stuff you will pay a higher price. If you go to a place full of high school kids you will get no service (or even worse get over-serviced and leave without knowing what you want), but a good price.

My wife used to work in a carpet store which sold a spot remover for $7. The SAME EXACT item Walmart sold for $4. I explained to my wife that the reason her place charged more was A. They had no choice, they can't compete with Walmart on price and B. people are willing to pay a few bucks more if you provide them with an education and CUSTOMER SERVICE which is VERY hard to find now. If you do it better then the corporate guys and you offer a quality product, a lot of people will pay the higher price without batting an eye. It is the only way to compete with the big B&M stores nowadays.

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I thought the only things Best Buy sold were extended warranties and credit cards. They sell electronics too? You wouldnt know it talking to any of their sales people here.

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This is one reason to lament the death of the local electronics shop. Best Buy employees often don't know squat about anything they're selling because they don't have to. They get paid whether or not you buy anything. And Best Buy has little incentive to spend money hiring competent employees because they know there are so few options for customers--and everyone else has the same crappy customer service, too.

I shop at Best Buy. I especially like their generous return policy. . . but like most things I buy now, I do my homework first.

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I think Best Buy gave up a couple of years ago when they became the showcase for Amazon and other online retail shops. Why spend the money to educate your people when your customers are just going to go home and buy from someone else?

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You get what you pay for. Some people are content just eeking by and earning minimum wage. They have no ambition or goal of being more diligent so they can advance to the next step of their career. They simply don't care.

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@mkentosh: No offense, but your mistake was going to BB to get advice. I mean you will occasionally find a good one where they know what they are talking about, but like @coondogg97 said, with electronics you really really need to do your own research and form your own opinion or you will not get the best bang for your buck.

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I'd go beyond saying that BB employees are non-commission to saying most sales employees in almost all retail stores are non-commission. The idea that you get monetarily rewarded for hard work is dead in the business world. It lives on in the hearts of people who don't think very much about the things they believe, of course, but it's no longer the case in most business. Employees get paid 'market rate' for their position and that's it. Bonuses are often given out across the board or not at all. I'm not sure, but I believe this came about out of a desire to make employees as plug-and-play as possible. When an employee is standing out and becomes irreplacable, that is generally seen as a bad thing. Read some of the popular management style books, they teach these things directly.

As for the upselling, that is almost always required of them. Often, not just offering it but actually making the upsell is the primary (if only) measurement of performance.

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@capguncowboy: Why should they care? They won't be rewarded for it. They will always make market rate for their position and corporate HQ often forbids managers from paying people more than market rate for their position. Employers that want hard workers but don't want to pay them more are nothing but beggars.

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I work in retail but not at Best Buy. I get many directives from people who do not seem to have a clue what my job is like on a day to day basis. I am required to say certain keywords to everyone geared toward upselling. I want/need to keep my job so I say what I am told. I would not be surprised if it is the same at many retail jobs.

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I used to work retail at CompUSA (back when it was publicly traded on the NYSE). I can tell you that I and the other retail slaves were paid mostly hourly wage, plus "spiffs" for selling extended warranties and occasional "vendor spiffs" for selling specific items on specific days. Because of the specific position I held I was paid a fair bit above minimum wage ($8.00 when minimum was $5.80) but that was likely in large part because I was not paid to work the sales floor, and hence my potential for "spiffs" was much lower than others.

At the time, when we would hire people away from Best Buy, Circuit City, or Audio King, they told us they were paid the same way we were (we also hear that at various vendor-sponsored events where we all were wined and dined). I can't tell you for sure but I suspect the game is much the same now - though the base wage is probably closer to minimum wage as labor is a buyer's market.

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@pattiq: A shameless pitch for a web site that is not mine but often enjoyable to read:
www.retailhellunderground.com

It reminds you that 1) we're all in this together and 2) a lot of people have it a lot worse.

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I work at Best Buy, and I don't up-sell. I actually try to downsell. The company doesn't make more money off a more expensive device; we make the same if you get a 1000 dollar tv vs a 1200 dollar one. The profit margin for these is very small. The money comes from accessories and services. I work in the PC/Tablet area and am knowledgeable about the items I sell, whereas most customer's aren't (not calling you Wooters most customers). I usually downsell somebody because they don't need something that costs $700 to watch youtube videos and store some pictures. I would rather sell them a 400 computer with some services and treat them in a way that wants them to come back. I even go out of the way to save them money - if I know something is cheaper on amazon and they don't, I will tell them. I would rather them have them leave with a good experience because they are more likely to come back. Especially if they think that somebody who works there is going to help them as much as possible.

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(continued)
I feel like my method works. I have had customers who will come in and specifically ask for me. Or they call and ask if I am there ahead of time. I have been at the top of the department in product sales, service attachment rate, positive customer feedback, and (almost consistently) in the top 4 for credit applications. I know that certain GM's and supervisors will try to get their employees to upsell (some will walk up to you WHILE you talk to a customer and hand you your numbers so you are pressured into selling more). Some employees don't know their stuff or are just new. Take it easy on them. They don't set the prices, nor do they have any say in the company's policies.They are just like you and me - trying to make some money and do something with their lives.

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@the18thtee84: I knew what I wanted, they didn't have that model, instead of buying it online, I thought I would put the money into the local store rather than have it shipped.

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Until recently I worked at a best buy, and I had a phrase of "best buy logic" if something makes sense do the complete opposite, and it seems like that's what best buy is going to do until they run themselves into the ground. Honestly the store I worked at was better then most at having competent employees but still me being the causal tech enthusiast could talk circles around some people in the computer department whose job it is to know about computers. I would always try to sell customers what they actually needed nothing more nothing less, I would also tell them if i saw a movie or dvd cheaper on amazon so we would price match it. I would also tell customers about monoprice.com and just try to find the best solution for them even if it wasnt with best buy. I will now only go into best buy for an emergency purchase and will use amazon for all my needs.

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@xeunieus: I have to add 'until recently' as well. I just put in my 2wks... I was a recent grad and just got a great offer :D

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@hirshy: Congrats on escaping retail. I left over a decade ago and while I miss the camaraderie I had with some of my colleagues I don't miss the corporate BS.

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I feel like complaints like these are only made by people who have never had to work retail or a service job before.

It's a shitty job that pays shit. End of story.

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@portezbie: That is an excellent point. I personally am of the belief that everyone should work retail and/or food service at some point in their lives to gain an appreciation for what people in those jobs go through.

(That said, not to the extent of making it a law or anything, but just a strong suggestion so we don't have so many people treating retail and food service people like garbage)

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Obligatory notalwaysright.com link for those retail workers.

No, the customer is most certainly NOT always right.

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@lparsons42: Thanks! I was only in retail for 4 months or so. I landed a nice Chemistry research and development job with a company in the energy sector, which is basically my dream job :D

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@hirshy: awesome! glad to hear it, i also got a much better job in the energy sector as well, they are going to pay for most of my tuition for my mechanical engineering degree,theres nothing like a huge jump in the quality of your work, pay and lifestyle