Anita Nye: Winning sales

The taste of success

Posted by: Anita Nye Fri, 23 Oct 2015

The 12 months since I won Sales Assistant of the Year 2014 have been, quite simply, incredible. My role at Eldred Drive Stores has changed and I've taken on a new management role, which has seen me speak at industry events and involve myself in things which concern the future of the industry as a whole, and not just our store. Last week, for example, I attended the Association of Convenience Stores' Heart of the Community conference, where I met retailers along with MPs to discuss issues such as plain packaging, the National Living Wage and business rates. It's important to be involved in things like this as in a few years my husband and I plan to take over the store when my boss and store owner Raju retires.

I already have plans for new lines we can introduce to help build the business up further, and a few months back I added a gardening range, which has proved popular with elderly shoppers.

Maintaining the solid relationships that I've built up with our local shoppers will remain at the heart of all future plans, though, as it's that which really makes the difference. If plans to allow large stores to open on Sundays get the go-ahead, small shops will need to play to their strengths and take more care to nurture the relationships they have forged with local shoppers.

The c-store industry might be facing a period of challenge, but the role of the sales assistant will remain the same - to be the face of the business: reliable, responsible and, above all, welcoming.

I wish this year's contenders for Sales Assistant of the Year 2015 every success, and I hope they enjoy the experience as much as I did.

Service with a smile

Posted by: Anita Nye Mon, 29 Jun 2015

There are many ways to be a great sales assistant, but two of the most important are being yourself – customers can see through insincerity – and to put your customers first.

It’s certainly easier said than done, especially on bad days or when you’re feeling tired, but I always try to make each customer feel that they are the most important person in the store at that moment.

It can be challenging, especially in a store like ours where the customer base is quite ethnically diverse and there are significant language barriers. However, we always get around things like that with patience, good humour, and lots of hand signals!

Going that little bit further by trying to remember customers’ buying habits and their likes and dislikes can also help to build rapports.

I bring excitement to my role by organising community events and taking part in seasonal occasions such as Valentine’s Day, Pancake Day and Easter. We have just celebrated Father’s Day and I handmade loads of cards to sell in the shop. It creates a great talking point with customers.

However, one of the keys to being a great sales assistant is the backing of a good team and a supportive manager.

My store owner at Eldred Drive Stores, Raju Patel, has not just been a great employer, but over the years has become a true friend.

I’ve worked at the store in Orpington, Kent, for more than 25 years and without his guidance I would not be half the person I am today and he showed me what it means to be a great sales assistant. It’s clearly paid off as not only did I win last year’s award, but Raju has since promoted me to store manager.

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