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.