Business organizations manufacture a variety of products in large quantities, and service companies provide different services to the customers with the help of teams of consultants however, it is not possible for them to promote their products and services without the sales department. The major responsibility of the sales staff is revenue generation. In this respect sales are the lifeblood of any business. In the absence of the sales department there would be no reason for the existence of other departments. A Salesman is the basic work unit of the sales force and they drive the prosperity, survival and future of the company by bringing revenue via sales.
JOB DESCRIPTION OF A SALESMAN
The job description of a salesman seems to be very simple and clear but this is not the case in real. Practically, he has to face many challenges during the course of his work. Basically a salesperson is expected to assess and understand the requirements of the customers, suggest suitable products according to their changing needs & tastes, and make a good sales pitch. All these tasks need very sharp skills and a dynamic personality to cope with the changing lifestyles and challenging business world. Hence, ensuring the satisfaction of both the consumer and the proprietor. The job description of a salesman/salesperson depends to a great extent on his/her line of work.
2.1 Job Description of a Retail Salesman
A retail salesperson has a critical job of assessing the needs of the consumers and providing them with a suitable product according to their tastes and preferences. For instance, a salesperson working at a Furniture store is required to have good taste, good looking personality, a friendly nature and a good sense of humor. This will enable him to fulfill the requirements of the job by attracting new customers and retaining old ones. A salesperson is also required to have good knowledge about the available products in the store, so that he may suggest better alternatives in order to avoid dissatisfaction of the consumers. It is never a good idea for a retail salesman to rely heavily on the store supervisor for details regarding the available inventory.
2.2Tasks to be Performed
To help and assist customers in finding and purchasing the required merchandise and in order to encourage customers to purchase products following tasks are required to perform by retail salesperson:
greet customers and find out the needs of the customers
recommend, locate and help to find the right merchandise
describe benefits and features of the products and also demonstrate how to use and operate the product
give answers to the queries of the customers related to the store and the merchandise
provide information about warranties, built-up specifications, care and repairs of merchandise and delivery options
provide information about financing options
receive and process cash, check and charge/credit payments
provide change and receipts
count money, sort charge slips and balance monies
maintain sales records and place special orders
organize and process merchandise exchanges
process repair or alteration of merchandise
stay current with sales prices and monitor security issues
keep merchandise area tidy and arrange the display of merchandise
take stock inventory and requisition new stock according to the customer’s demand
Place special orders or call other stores to find desired items.
Clean shelves, counters, and tables.
Bag or package purchases, and wrap gifts
STRESS AND STRESS FACTORS
In response to the demands that are placed on human body, stress is a normal component. When we are scared or angry, the body undergoes an unavoidable stress. Factors due to which this stress response is stimulated are known as stressors.
Stressors come across in almost every aspect of our lives. Excess stress, or distress, is found to be the major cause of many types of illnesses. Heart disease is also one of the outcomes of excessive stress. In many cases, workplace stressors can also lead to distress as it is not under the control of individuals. The individuals remain under the same stress daily without even knowing the stress factors behind it. Job-related stress is often the outcome of collective effect of numerous stressors. The health effects of different stressors cannot be easily separated from work-related stressors. However, an understanding of the different types of stressors is very essential in order to identify, and control potential health hazards. Workplace stressors include both physical and managerial factors.
Some professions are usually more stressful than others. All types of stresses and health of employees have a direct impact on the organization as both physical and mental illness make the employee unfit for work, and due to this the satisfaction obtained from work gets reduced and ultimately reduce job performance and productivity levels.
Occupational stress is basically any uneasiness which is felt by the employees at a personal level and generate by occasions, events or situations that are excessively intense and recurrent in nature. When this discomfort exceeds a person’s capabilities to tackle the situation, it results in work-place stress. Occupational stress can be defined as the “harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources or need of the worker” (Sauter and Murphy. 1999).
The performance of every individual is affected by a range of stressors faced by them both at work and in their personal lives. Work pressure can be positive which leads to an increased productivity but at the same time this pressure has a negative impact it becomes excessive in intensity. Stress is recognized to be one of the main causes of absence from work.
3.1 Stress Factors faced by a Salesman
The major stress factors faced by a retail salesman may include workload, co-workers and repetitive work. When people face frustration from composite of their work that they cannot control they undergo organizational stress. This mostly happens when people perceive that they are not able to apply their full skills and knowledge potential, or they may not receive the respect or acknowledgment they expect for their accomplishments. Some of these stress factors are discussed below:
3.1.1 Work Overload or Under load
A sales person may become frustrated at work due to a number of factors, such as monotonous tasks without any opportunity for distinction.
Excessive work demands may be distressful and mainly leads to emotional stress. Extreme work without proper breaks and conflicting demands may also be distressful. Work overload is harmful for the health and it also weaken a person’s confidence in his own abilities to perform the job.
3.1.2 Role Uncertainty and Role Conflict
The responsibilities assigned to a salesman often have positive reaction towards work. But when job responsibilities are conflicting or are not clear, work can become confusing and may become a source of stress and frustration him.
3.1.3 Responsibility for Others
A job of a salesman mainly involves accepting responsibility for the care and welfare of customers that sometimes results in distress which ultimately leads to a condition known as burnout. In such a state of mind he may begin to blame himself for dissatisfaction of customers and become indifferent towards the customers.
When a salesman remains isolated for long periods of time, he may undergo stress. This feeling of being separated from people may cause distress.
3.1.5 Job Satisfaction
A retail salesman mostly remains dissatisfied from his job as no promotional opportunities are usually available to him. This uncertainty in job affects his performance and results in distress.
3.1.6 Job Security
A concern for job security is an important reason of stress for a retail salesman as his job is not guaranteed and he may lose his job as a result of any dissatisfaction perceived from customers.
STEPS TAKEN BY THE MANAGER TO REDUCE EMPLOYEE STRESS
The manager should reduce the stress caused to the salesman of his sales force in order to improve effectiveness of his own department. Mostly mangers take these specific steps to reduce distress from their employees:
In many organizations, a failure of good communication causes the collapse in relations between labor and management. A good manager keeps a direct communication with his sales staff and takes a direct interest in their performance in order to reduce or avoid stress from his front line salesmen.
When managers devote time to planning for their organization’s operations and even for their own day they obviously reduce the stress that they cause for their subordinates.
When the manager become vigilant and knows the strengths, weaknesses, career ambition, and family problems of his employees then he easily assigns tasks and responsibilities and ensures that employees are not under the stress of role conflict or any other uncertainty.
Mostly managers reduce stress of insecurity and job dissatisfaction from their sales force by appreciating the performance of their salesmen and giving them recognition in terms of both monetary and non-monetary rewards.
In order to reduce stress and strain from the sales staff, manger should also take following steps such as:
He should ensure effective two-way communication with employees.
Be fair and honest in communications with the salesmen and confirm that they understand your expectations.
He should support work-life needs of his employees and make them able to handle issues like childcare or parenting, eldercare, financial or legal difficulties, relationships, illness or other significant life events.
He should review and redesign the work so as to reduce work overload, repetitive or unnecessary processes in order to enhance employee’s ability to be satisfied and to improve performance.
He should make sure that roles are clear and try to reallocate certain tasks within the team of salesmen according to their capability and enjoyment level.
He should encourage career development and should provide career opportunities, guidance and support to sales staff as well in order reduce lower levels of satisfaction and more stress.
He should provide proper guidance to the salesmen and remain involved in their assignments and fulfill the responsibility of both leadership and management.
He should promote a healthy working environment.
It is concluded that the managers can effectively diminish some of the stressors frequently caused by organizational issues, poor leadership, and ineffective management. Managers who communicate with their personnel by taking a direct interest in their performance, and focusing on their strengths and weaknesses can help eliminate frustration. It is critical that leaders and managers of a sales force should recognize how they contribute to the stress of their salesmen and take forceful steps to reduce their stress-causing practices.
Managers, who avoid excessive workload, distribute work fairly, allow flexible scheduling and maintain work-life balance of employees’ lives, get more satisfied customers, lower rates of absenteeism and more satisfied sales force generating greater revenue.
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