Are You Wasting Your Time Being an Order-Taker?


Photography Business Institute
Photography Business Institute

This weekend I went shopping with a friend at several locally-owned home furnishing stores around my neighborhood. In retrospect, one experience truly stood out in contrast to another.

When showing particular interest in an item in store a (i.e. if I lingered longer, picked it up, showed my friend), the store’s buyer would step out from behind the counter, explain where the item was sourced from, show how it could be used, and give information about the artist who had created the item. Talk about making a strong marketing impression!

In store b, the store owner mentioned upon entering the store that all products were available to sample. Then she didn’t say another word throughout our time browsing until we checked out.

Store owner b was taking orders. While I’m sure she felt like she was letting us browse without being obnoxious, it came across as indifferent and disinterested.

Store owner a was actively selling. His version of selling – sharing his knowledge about items he had thoughtfully purchased for his store – didn’t feel like selling. It felt like passion. And it stood out. It made an impression. It was smart marketing. And I’ll go back.

If you are looking for a way to distinguish your small business, try inspiring your employees with your passion. Educate them (as well as your clients) on your products and services. Teach by example so it’s clear to them why your products are different. Don’t let them sit behind the counter or on the other side of the phone silent like most employees. Don’t settle for being an order taker. That’s expected. That’s easy. And that’s a waste.


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