Recruiting reliable, passionate BAs can be difficult during any season, but the one we are in takes the cake.
If you decide to recruit your own brand ambassadors during this pandemic, here are a few challenges you may not have thought through:
1. Fewer applicants
If you’re used to recruiting through Facebook groups, Trusted Herd, and other Brand Ambassador-centric methods, you will likely find these are less fruitful than they have been in years past.
Not surprisingly, many brand ambassadors are concerned about any added exposure to the virus, which will keep some from applying.
We are going to give it to you straight: many brand ambassadors are making more on unemployment. We don’t say this in a “judgey”-type way, but it is a topic that comes up often. With the supplemental unemployment funds, many brand ambassadors can make $800/week without working. And in some states, they are actually penalized for working part time! We even had a staff member in NY lose $125 in unemployment due to attending a 20-minute (i.e., $8.33) training!
2. Higher call out rate
Whether it’s calling out due to some minor body aches because they’re not sure if it’s COVID, exposure to a friend of a friend who just tested positive, or contracting the virus themselves, there are many more legit reasons to call out of shifts these days.
3. Additional training
With most stores not allowing samples, the days of selling products primarily on taste are a thing of the past (at least for now). Demos are now very education-centric. Now is the time to step up your education game.
So, how do you overcome these challenges? Let’s take this one-by-one.
1. Fewer applicants:
a. We are finding more qualified applicants on mainstream job sites. These were usually a long shot before the pandemic. Indeed offers free job postings, and we are getting about three times the number of quality candidates on this site than we are on any Facebook or Craigslist post. These are definitely different times.
b. After more studies about the quality of masks making a severe impact on the spread of COVID-19, we are now offering all of our team members N95 masks and a face shield. We also send gloves, even if they are just handing out coupons. We are finding reps are more willing to work if they are provided proper equipment.
2. We have a goal of always interviewing three candidates for every position (even during non-COVID times). If we find someone who seems great but isn’t selected, we get their contact information and make a profile card for them in our system in case a last-minute opening pops up. Having extra connections in a market will help you backfill a position more easily if one of your reps comes down with COVID-19.
3. Create an in-depth training deck that focuses on the brand story and your product’s benefits. While you will certainly review how to describe the taste, you will want to focus on the other reasons people would purchase your product as well. Review the deck with your team via video chat. Ensure to answer any questions the staff may have regarding the products and the ways their engagement with customers will be different than in the past.
It’s no surprise that things in 2021 are different. But, if you can adapt to the changes, you can still find great success in retail demos!
If you use these tips, please let us know how they worked for you in the comments below!