Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

arithmetic, English, and hygiene are of practically unlimited application. In brief, the training is intended not simply to help a girl to earn her living, but to make the most of her life, by showing her how to make full use of her resources.

The subject matter of the several courses will be treated in this and the two succeeding chapters, the method of teaching being considered in another chapter.

SALESMANSHIP.

The study of salesmanship is divided into four parts:
1. Lessons on the technique of selling and other closely related

work of saleswomen.
2. Informal discussions of pupils' daily experience.
3. Store system.

4. Demonstration sales. 1. The first lesson deals with one of the simplest and most concrete of a salesgirl's experiences, the response to customers' inquiries. Since most of these questions are asked specifically about the storethe location of departments, merchandise carried, facilities provided for the convenience of customers—the lesson is named Store directory, although the teacher does not confine herself to questions dealing exclusively with the store. After establishing the principles of accuracy, distinctness, and courtesy as essentials in giving information, the class, divided into store groups, is drilled on the geography of the store and the disposition of merchandise. The building is placed in relation to the points of the compass; the near-by streets are named; entrances, exits, elevators, stairways, and fire escapes are indicated on simple diagrams drawn by the pupils. The general distribution of merchandise according to floors is next discussed, and finally the smaller details are considered. Special service features, such as rest rooms, nearest telephone, post office, and restaurant, are located; and the best way to reach important public buildings, places of historical interest, railroad stations, theaters, and other wellknown stores is made clear. Pupils are led to see that directing customers is a legitimate part of their work and that when this is done with intelligence and courtesy, the favorable impression made upon a customer is likely to react advantageously to the saleswoman and to the store.

The care of stock.-Many girls who like to sell are not fond of housekeeping, and this fundamental lack leads to much loss from damaged stock, incomplete lines, and misplaced articles. The relation of good stock keeping to successful selling is a completely new idea to the pupils. They know, in general, that some one must look after the stock, but the great advantages of good work in this connection and the disastrous results of neglect are not

realized until the importance of the subject is developed according to a carefully detailed plan. When it is understood that damaged, shopworn, old merchandise leads to the inevitable mark-down sale; that a department which must resort frequently to such sales to secure money and room for new stock is not in a prosperous condition; that a department which is not yielding a good profit can not increase wages; the simple but necessary work of stock keeping becomes invested with new interest.

Of all the many interesting questions connected with salesmanship perhaps the approach to the customer is most provocative of lively discussion. This must be considered in various relations—the kind of department involved, whether a spacious suit section, or a busy, crowded small-wares counter; the type of customer represented; the implied or expressed policy of the store; the spirit and interest which should animate all human relationships. Two points receive especial emphasis-the importance of making a favorable first impression, and the desirability of placing before the customer as soon as possible specimens of the merchandise which she has come to look at or to buy.

Presenting the merchandise, or in the more expressive parlance of the store, talking up the merchandise, is the logical next lesson. Among the topics developed in this lesson are: The information desired by customers; the sources of information; the choice of English; the selection of the points most likely to appeal to various types of customers; the force of such presentation when well expressed; the sense of power and the feeling of confidence which a saleswoman has when she knows and believes in her stock, and the psychological reaction of a customer under these circumstances.

Closing the sale has to do with the critical last stage of a transaction when a customer is especially open to influence. At this point, the exercise of tact and judgment is essential. The often seemingly insignificant factors which win or lose sales are reported and discussed, and the lesson is concluded with emphasis on the desirability of having a customer leave the department with a pleasant impression of the saleswoman who has served her and of the store in general.

A re-stating of many principles already taught is a part of an allinclusive lesson on service, in which the theory of selling developed through the class discussions, and the policy and ideals of the store management, are interpreted in the light of the modern spirit of business. Almost without exception, saleswomen comect “service" with housework-waiting on the table--something involving patronage; service done to society is a new idea, and service as a life ideal seems to be the principle needed to give significance and motive to their work. The pupils gradually see that serving a customer is not

merely, nor chiefly, a matter of polite and thoughtful little attentions, that the girl who gives her full attention to selling a customer the articles best suited to her needs is fulfilling the higher function. Thoughtful consideration of the question of service marks for many of the pupils the dawning of a social conscience.

In waste and its control the pupils are shown their responsibility in using their time and energy most advantageously for the benefit of the firm which employs them. The economical use of supplies and the care of equipment and fixtures are brought out at this time. The most vital point in the lesson is reached when the relation of waste to wages is developed. Few of the pupils have ever heard of "overhead charges” or understand what is meant by general department expense. They do not realize that they are in any way responsible for keeping the cost of the department down to the minimum. When it is pointed out that one way to increase profits is to reduce expense, and that money saved on repairs, lights, and supplies is available for other purposes, one of which may be increased wages, they become better custodians of their employer's property and use their influence toward this end with other members of the department.

The lesson on store organization aims to give the pupils an understanding of the actual organization of a department store and the important place in it which the salespeople occupy. Perhaps no other lesson is capable of disclosing so forcefully the indispensability of the salespeople's services. A well-known authority on matters of organization has said:

A whole department store is nothing but each individual sales person in front of the merchandise with one particular piece of merchandise in her hand, discussing it with the customer. Every other activity of the store is legitimate in so far as it centers at that point and illegitimate in so jar as it does not.

This high conception of her calling is an inspiration to a salewoman and makes her interested to trace out the divisions of responsibility and her relation to all the other workers. This leads naturally to the subject of promotion. The pupils know that a worker is frequently transferred from one group to the next higher, for example, a salesgirl may be made head of stock or assistant buyer, but they have not understood how an ambitious girl may prepare herself for such an opportunity through cooperation, study, and industrious application to the work in hand.

2. The informal discussions need little explanation. Pupils report to the class unusual and perplexing problems which have arisen in their dealings with customers and fellow workers. The subject of the last salesmanship lesson is often taken up, the pupils relating experiences in putting it into practice. If there has been failure or success attending on the effort to improve, the other members of the class seek out the reasons for it, and the whole class profits by the individual

[graphic][subsumed]

A. STUDY OF COLOR AND DESIGN. A corner of the schoolroom arranged to bring out the effects of poor lines, bad color

combinations, and realistic decoration.

[graphic]

B. STUDY OF COLOR AND DESIGN. Simplicity, orderliness, and harmonious color combination are emphasized in the

arrangement.

[graphic]

A. A CLASS IN THE STORE OF L. S. AYRES CO., INDIANAPOLIS. The subject of the lesson is the relation of lines to different types of figures.

[graphic]

B. DISCRIMINATING TASTE. Taste is developed by contrasting simple, well-constructed articles with those that

are over-decorated, flimsy, and difficult to care for.

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »