Interview with the Clerk

22 Comments

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Apart from Cingular, one party that continuously gets the short end of the stick from BlackBerry-lovers are the wireless clerks that sell us our devices. Back in January, I tried my best to shed some light on the situation, but I figured what better way than to go to the source itself.

So, I slapped on my coat and head out into the bright lights of the non-office world and set out with a task – interview an employee who wants my commission. Luckily I’ve still got some old contacts still working for a former employer, so tying one down wasn’t that difficult. The end result probably won’t make you like these kids any more, unfortunately.

After talking with management at (specific Canadian wireless retailer), they set me up with one of their mid-level employees – not one of the dumbest and definitely not one of the brightest. He seemed uneasy at first, but at his age, he does what his superiors tell him to do. Frankly, I felt sorry for the kid. For his safety, we’ll keep his name anonymous. Actually, let’s call him Gary. I like that name.

So, how old are you, pal?

18

And you’ve been working for this company for how long?

Just over a year.

Is this your full-time job?

I’m at college part-time and do this as much as possible to pay for it.

And why did you choose to work for (specific Canadian wireless carrier)?

I thought it’d be a cool place to work. I used to come in all the time to rent movies and everyone seemed to be having a good time.

What about the cell phones (specific Canadian wireless carrier) sells? Were they enticing?

Not really. But I’ve been learning a lot about them and actually like selling them now.

And what about the BlackBerry devices?

They’re a little confusing, but pretty cool.

What about them is confusing?

The fact that they take a voice and a data plan and all of their uses. Having to learn about all that on top of the other cell phones was pretty hard.

But now you’re comfortable selling a BlackBerry to any customer that walks through the doors?

Sorta.

What kind of training did you get?

Well, there’s the general employee training that everyone gets. There’s also two-day training courses that we were all forced to take for cell phone training. On top of that there’s online tutorials that we need to pass to become certified sales associates.

So before you pass that, you can’t sell a phone or BlackBerry?

No, we can.

So what’s the point to getting certified?

Well, it shows management that you care about your job and it does help you sell the products better. We had to do it on our own time, which sucked, but I think it helped.

  • nsimpson

    I think it also depends on what dealership you work at and what kind of enviroment they want to foster. I know that with our dealership if you dotn take the training modules on-line and show up for all inperson training you dont get paid your commissions. Or if they have silver certifited reps who assist management in training or not.

    For the reps who just started their jobs, they usually are put in stores who have other reps who are much stronger in knowledge and assist them and coach them when they need help.

    The reality of it is that the whole sales process for each rep shouldnt be overwhelming, products dont change that quickly (maybe every few months one or two phones trickle down the pipe), and only a few plans change every quarter or every month or so.

    I have seen my share of people who might not be on the ball within their jobs, but those people jump ship or leave soon anyways.

    I come from the Jim Pattison way of running a business (for those americans who dont know who he is just google him), the reps who arent on the ball or know whats going on then they need to be trained be able to function well in their job, or else they need to go.

    With all carriers out there, there are product reps who come store to store (ie sony, nokia, rim, motorola) to show the latest and greatest products out there. If they dont tell cell reps whats coming down the pipe (ie 8800) then how would they know? I know nothing offical has come out yet to annouce the 8800 in Canada so, they wont know everything about the product yet but really its those product reps who should have told Gary all the details on what makes the 8800 oh so special.

  • nsimpson

    I think it also depends on what dealership you work at and what kind of enviroment they want to foster. I know that with our dealership if you dotn take the training modules on-line and show up for all inperson training you dont get paid your commissions. Or if they have silver certifited reps who assist management in training or not.

    For the reps who just started their jobs, they usually are put in stores who have other reps who are much stronger in knowledge and assist them and coach them when they need help.

    The reality of it is that the whole sales process for each rep shouldnt be overwhelming, products dont change that quickly (maybe every few months one or two phones trickle down the pipe), and only a few plans change every quarter or every month or so.

    I have seen my share of people who might not be on the ball within their jobs, but those people jump ship or leave soon anyways.

    I come from the Jim Pattison way of running a business (for those americans who dont know who he is just google him), the reps who arent on the ball or know whats going on then they need to be trained be able to function well in their job, or else they need to go.

    With all carriers out there, there are product reps who come store to store (ie sony, nokia, rim, motorola) to show the latest and greatest products out there. If they dont tell cell reps whats coming down the pipe (ie 8800) then how would they know? I know nothing offical has come out yet to annouce the 8800 in Canada so, they wont know everything about the product yet but really its those product reps who should have told Gary all the details on what makes the 8800 oh so special.

  • nsimpson

    I think it also depends on what dealership you work at and what kind of enviroment they want to foster. I know that with our dealership if you dotn take the training modules on-line and show up for all inperson training you dont get paid your commissions. Or if they have silver certifited reps who assist management in training or not.

    For the reps who just started their jobs, they usually are put in stores who have other reps who are much stronger in knowledge and assist them and coach them when they need help.

    The reality of it is that the whole sales process for each rep shouldnt be overwhelming, products dont change that quickly (maybe every few months one or two phones trickle down the pipe), and only a few plans change every quarter or every month or so.

    I have seen my share of people who might not be on the ball within their jobs, but those people jump ship or leave soon anyways.

    I come from the Jim Pattison way of running a business (for those americans who dont know who he is just google him), the reps who arent on the ball or know whats going on then they need to be trained be able to function well in their job, or else they need to go.

    With all carriers out there, there are product reps who come store to store (ie sony, nokia, rim, motorola) to show the latest and greatest products out there. If they dont tell cell reps whats coming down the pipe (ie 8800) then how would they know? I know nothing offical has come out yet to annouce the 8800 in Canada so, they wont know everything about the product yet but really its those product reps who should have told Gary all the details on what makes the 8800 oh so special.

  • nsimpson

    I think it also depends on what dealership you work at and what kind of enviroment they want to foster. I know that with our dealership if you dotn take the training modules on-line and show up for all inperson training you dont get paid your commissions. Or if they have silver certifited reps who assist management in training or not.

    For the reps who just started their jobs, they usually are put in stores who have other reps who are much stronger in knowledge and assist them and coach them when they need help.

    The reality of it is that the whole sales process for each rep shouldnt be overwhelming, products dont change that quickly (maybe every few months one or two phones trickle down the pipe), and only a few plans change every quarter or every month or so.

    I have seen my share of people who might not be on the ball within their jobs, but those people jump ship or leave soon anyways.

    I come from the Jim Pattison way of running a business (for those americans who dont know who he is just google him), the reps who arent on the ball or know whats going on then they need to be trained be able to function well in their job, or else they need to go.

    With all carriers out there, there are product reps who come store to store (ie sony, nokia, rim, motorola) to show the latest and greatest products out there. If they dont tell cell reps whats coming down the pipe (ie 8800) then how would they know? I know nothing offical has come out yet to annouce the 8800 in Canada so, they wont know everything about the product yet but really its those product reps who should have told Gary all the details on what makes the 8800 oh so special.

  • nsimpson

    but still great post steve.

  • nsimpson

    but still great post steve.

  • Thought

    Bravo, Steve, for a great idea. Here we always downtalk all these store reps, but you had the brilliant idea of actually talking to one.

    I’m sure there’s a business case study out there for anyone who wants to run with this idea.

  • Thought

    Bravo, Steve, for a great idea. Here we always downtalk all these store reps, but you had the brilliant idea of actually talking to one.

    I’m sure there’s a business case study out there for anyone who wants to run with this idea.

  • Thought

    Bravo, Steve, for a great idea. Here we always downtalk all these store reps, but you had the brilliant idea of actually talking to one.

    I’m sure there’s a business case study out there for anyone who wants to run with this idea.

  • J

    coming from the industry, i don’t think you talked to a “middle of the road” rep… or maybe you did… for canada…

    working in wireless sales for awhile, i have only come across one person as clueless as your “gary”…

    and, the term “clerk” is a little misleading here in the states, and a little insulting… many of these guys are making more than 90% of the people reading these posts… if people only knew…

  • J

    coming from the industry, i don’t think you talked to a “middle of the road” rep… or maybe you did… for canada…

    working in wireless sales for awhile, i have only come across one person as clueless as your “gary”…

    and, the term “clerk” is a little misleading here in the states, and a little insulting… many of these guys are making more than 90% of the people reading these posts… if people only knew…

  • George

    This post was unintentionally very funny, good job.

    Also to J, I doubt that most of the sales guys in cellular stores make more than 90% of the readership of BBCool, afterall you either 1) be able to afford and justify a bill that is double a cell phone and 2) or work somewhere that your boss thinks your job is important enough to warrant expensing a Blackberry.

    Hell, I’m sure some of the kids with Blackberrys get a bigger allowance than most cellphone sales guys. I have a gf that use to work at Telus and the pay wasn’t anything to brag about, could be different in the States though.

  • George

    This post was unintentionally very funny, good job.

    Also to J, I doubt that most of the sales guys in cellular stores make more than 90% of the readership of BBCool, afterall you either 1) be able to afford and justify a bill that is double a cell phone and 2) or work somewhere that your boss thinks your job is important enough to warrant expensing a Blackberry.

    Hell, I’m sure some of the kids with Blackberrys get a bigger allowance than most cellphone sales guys. I have a gf that use to work at Telus and the pay wasn’t anything to brag about, could be different in the States though.

  • Thought

    I’ll say that I live in the US and yes, as a general rule, the retail sales people at cell phone stores are a bit undertrained and uninformed. I really don’t go into any cell phone store expecting quality information.

    Now, I am a bit pickier and informed than most people.

    I will say that the experience definitely varies from store to store and from salesperson to salesperson. Some are genuinely conscientious about their work, and do a thorough and professional job. But by and large, I do think they seem pretty much trained to sell mostly a large volume of the cheap phones and get the people out the door.

    I would also say, that in my experience, the best salespeople at the carrier-owned stores have been those at Verizon and T-Mobile. In fact, I give a shout out to Verizon for being the one carrier where I have found the most techie-geek type of salespeople. Now those are the type I like to deal with, because they really know their stuff.

    I hate to say it, but most of the salespeople at Cingular that I’ve encountered leave a lot to be desired.

  • Thought

    I’ll say that I live in the US and yes, as a general rule, the retail sales people at cell phone stores are a bit undertrained and uninformed. I really don’t go into any cell phone store expecting quality information.

    Now, I am a bit pickier and informed than most people.

    I will say that the experience definitely varies from store to store and from salesperson to salesperson. Some are genuinely conscientious about their work, and do a thorough and professional job. But by and large, I do think they seem pretty much trained to sell mostly a large volume of the cheap phones and get the people out the door.

    I would also say, that in my experience, the best salespeople at the carrier-owned stores have been those at Verizon and T-Mobile. In fact, I give a shout out to Verizon for being the one carrier where I have found the most techie-geek type of salespeople. Now those are the type I like to deal with, because they really know their stuff.

    I hate to say it, but most of the salespeople at Cingular that I’ve encountered leave a lot to be desired.

  • nsimpson

    George it would make your head spin how much our reps make. Average makes 50 000 but top performers make 125 000 and thats at out retail level. Our outbound reps make at times more.

  • nsimpson

    George it would make your head spin how much our reps make. Average makes 50 000 but top performers make 125 000 and thats at out retail level. Our outbound reps make at times more.

  • J

    exactly nsimpson… it wasn’t uncommon for a full time salesperson that i was around to make 60-70k yr… that was more like the average…

    but, i also know that most of the reps are actually happier that the customer base doesn’t know how much they make… it lowers the expectations…

  • J

    exactly nsimpson… it wasn’t uncommon for a full time salesperson that i was around to make 60-70k yr… that was more like the average…

    but, i also know that most of the reps are actually happier that the customer base doesn’t know how much they make… it lowers the expectations…

  • J

    exactly nsimpson… it wasn’t uncommon for a full time salesperson that i was around to make 60-70k yr… that was more like the average…

    but, i also know that most of the reps are actually happier that the customer base doesn’t know how much they make… it lowers the expectations…

  • john smith

    RIM and BlackBerry sell their phones Retail salesreps sell plans and phone chargers lol .. dont buy from retailers buy from RIM or BlackBerry web sites only buy plans and chargers from retailers :) over half the world dosent know what a cell phone is :) 20 – 45 are the worlds informed smart phone users their is only a small precent of people informed who can use a smartphone sad :(

  • http://none john smith

    RIM and BlackBerry sell their phones Retail salesreps sell plans and phone chargers lol .. dont buy from retailers buy from RIM or BlackBerry web sites only buy plans and chargers from retailers :) over half the world dosent know what a cell phone is :) 20 – 45 are the worlds informed smart phone users their is only a small precent of people informed who can use a smartphone sad :(