Convenience Store is on the hunt for our next champion sales assistant, and they could be among your team. They could follow in the footsteps of last year’s winner Tracie Horner and put your store in the spotlight
Hard-working, dedicated, ace at merchandising and always ready with a smile? If that sounds familiar, then C-Store wants to hear from you.
Entries are now open for the Sales Assistant of the Year Awards, with big cash prizes and money-can’t-buy publicity on offer for the winners. All you have to do is head to our website, www.SalesAssistantAwards.co.uk, to fill in an online entry form.
Tracie Horner, from Eurospar Carrowdore, in Northern Ireland, and her store manager Jo Walker, did just that last year, with Tracie’s warm and positive persona and stellar attitude helping her scoop the top accolade at the glittering awards lunch in 2016.
Overseeing the fresh produce and flowers at the front of the store, Tracie is the first member of staff that customers see when they walk in the shop, and she ensures to greet them all with a beaming smile and hugs for those customers she knows well (which is quite a lot).
As well as the great sense of achievement and recognition that Tracie earned through winning her title, she was also blown over by the admiration she received from colleagues and customers since the ceremony took place at The Dorchester in London last November.
“I wish I had a penny for every hug I’ve had since winning the award,” Tracie says. “When I came back from London the guys had put photocopied images of the magazine front cover with my picture all over the shop, so all the customers knew where I’d been.
“The local newspaper also picked up the story so I had customers coming in saying ‘I saw you in the newspaper’.
“When we googled it there were all these images and write-ups about the awards – I felt like a celebrity!”
Eurospar Carrowdore store manager Jo Walker recommends that other c-store teams get together to discuss who they feel is most worthy of an award. She says this ensures the whole team is in agreement and it gives that member of staff a boost of confidence.
This vote alone was enough of a pat on the back for Tracie. “Just to be put up for the award by your fellow workers was so lovely to know,” she says.
“When I found out I was a finalist I was absolutely blown away. The whole ceremony was so well organised, the whole experience was so fantastic.”
If there’s a sales assistant in your store who deserves to be recognised, now’s your chance. What are you waiting for?
HOW TO ENTER
THE INDEPENDENT SECTOR: Open to employees working in a business which has nine stores or fewer in the same ownership, whether affiliated to a symbol group or operating under its own brand.
Supported by JTI
THE MULTIPLE SECTOR: Open to employees working in a business which is part of a chain of 10 stores or more under the same ownership, trading either under a retailer’s own brand or a national symbol brand.
THE CO-OPERATIVE SECTOR: Open to employees working in any store trading under a co-operative brand.
Supported by Coca-Cola European Partners
THE FORECOURT SECTOR: Open to employees working in any store which has a garage forecourt, whether under co-operative, multiple, symbol or independent brand.
Supported by Procter & Gamble
Each of the four category winners will receive £500 cash.
From these four winners, the Sales Assistant of the Year will be selected, winning an additional £500 cash prize.
A further award will be made for Community Hero of the Year, with an additional £250 cash prize.
The store manager or owner who nominated the overall winner of Sales Assistant of the year will also receive a £250 prize.
HOW TO ENTER
Entry is via online entry form at the awards website www.SalesAssisantAwards.co.uk.Candidates answer the questions online, saving their progress as they go. Remember to include an endorsing and supporting comment from a store owner or manager to complete the entry.
THE JUDGING PROCESS
After examining the online entries, judges will visit shortlisted candidates in their stores, and choose one winner in each category.
Award supporters JTI, Coca-Cola European Partners and Procter & Gamble will welcome the winners to a memorable awards ceremony and lunch at London’s Dorchester Hotel on Tuesday 7 November 2017.
Each category winner will be interviewed privately prior to the ceremony, in order to select the overall Sales Assistant of the Year and the winner of the Community Hero award.
Entry deadline: Monday 14 August
Any questions? Call us on 01293 846593
Tracie Horner, the Sales Assistant of the Year 2016, isn’t one to accept all the credit for her achievements, and she has even put her award win down to her colleagues.“Hendersons puts a big importance on the customer always coming first and that message comes from management down,” she says modestly.
But it’s clear Tracie is a standout member of staff as she greets most of the customers by name and sparks up conversation, sharing jokes. Being the first person that customers see as they walk into the store, it is incredibly helpful that Tracie is a natural conversation-maker and all-round people pleaser. But it’s not just her personable nature that makes her a stellar sales assistant as she is in charge of arguably the most important category in the store – fresh produce – and she has pushed up sales and decreased wastage in this category.
Since the award, Tracie’s responsibilities have increased as the store has undergone a major expansion and refurbishment to turn it from a Spar to a Eurospar. Much of the work was concentrated around the fresh produce category so she took on this endeavour with lots of ideas, enthusiasm and, of course, a smile. Tracie was intrinsic in helping organise how the category should evolve and it’s clear she is getting even more satisfaction from her category than she was before.
The refurbishment work took place over Christmas, which meant a huge amount of disruption at a very busy time. Jo Walker, the store manager who encouraged and helped Tracie enter the awards, says Tracie kept the staff and the customers’ spirits up during a potentially stressful time.
“The store expansion and refurb was a pretty massive and intrusive job,” says Jo, especially for the fresh and chilled category, but Tracie was always positive and saw that it was worth the upheaval for the end result. I think she drove a lot of the positivity in customers as well, as they could have become fed up with trying to shop when things were out of place.”
With the expansion, five new members of staff have been recruited and Tracie has been vital in training them to a high standard. Says Jo: “She’s an inspiration to her colleagues and her happy and warm personality is infectious.
“We like to couple up the new members of staff with someone on the team so they can shadow them and ask them any questions. It’s been good to be able to couple up our new members with Tracie as she can teach them how they should be with the customers.”
Tracie adds: “The younger ones definitely learn by example and they feel encouraged to be friendly with the customers when they see others doing it.”
Staff and customer feedback
“When I started, Tracie showed me around from the beginning and I learned so much from her within one day. She’s a brilliant teacher; she really knows the job well and she’s happy to take the time to show me how to do things.”
Lindie Woods, customer advisor
“Tracie is always so pleasant to everybody. I come to this shop because I work down the road, but she acts like I’m from here and she always asks about how my day’s been and asks about my two kids, because they’re often with me.”
Judith Mclenaghan works at the local school and is a regular shopper
“I come in several times a week and am often served by Tracie. She’s always really friendly and she makes me feel like she’s known me for ages. What makes her stand out is the fact she’s so warm towards others and she seems to enjoy herself and genuinely be happy to serve you.”
Nadia Millican, a local resident and regular shopper at the store