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On Good Sales Work

·380 words·2 mins
Articles culture personal
Daniel Andrlik
Daniel Andrlik
Daniel Andrlik lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia. By day he manages product teams. The rest of the time he is a podcast host and producer, writer of speculative fiction, a rabid reader, and a programmer.

So I was working in the bookstore tonight, which I actually enjoy because it is really cool getting people to read cool books. Admittedly, it can be frustrating when you see some of the shite that passes for literature appearing on the best-seller list, but on the whole the work is rewarding. Also, when I work at the store, I am just a peon with no responsibility which is relaxing in a way. I have been staff recommending and hand selling like crazy and it seems to be working pretty well as the books are selling, but tonight I recently rediscovered a simple sales trick from my teens. Simply this, flirting.

When I was in high school I worked in a cafe. I was quite the espresso addict and the barista thing was fun, so it worked well for me. I like to think that I was pretty good at it.

One of the advantages to being a barista as opposed to other forms of food service is that people are a little more respectful of you. Caffiene addicts think of you like their favorite bartender, so the interaction with customers is more friendly and relaxed. And, similar with bartenders, people love to flirt with the barista.

I was seventeen, wearing contacts and my hair was not as long as it is now, just long enough to get in my eyes and irritate me. I endured this because I knew soon it would be long enough to tie back. Eventually I was informed by a coworker that a couple of my middle-aged female customers were checking me out. This was quite a realization as I am usually fairly oblivious to this. So, I tried an experiment and began flirting with them when they came in. Nothing overt, just some light flirting which was fun for everyone, and no party got the wrong idea about it. They got a bigger kick out of coming, and I was able to upsell better. A little manipulative? Sure, but no harm was done. It even worked with some of our gay customers.

While it certainly is a different forum in a bookstore, it works just as well. Especially when a customer does not know what they want and are just looking for a recommendation.


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