Co-workers Interrupt Sales Presentation

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about interruptions during a sales:

Several co-workers constantly interrupt others while they are conversing with a customer, making a sale, in a retail store. Even though there are no commissions paid these co-workers, their interruptions do not seem appropriate.

Signed, Not Right

Dear Not Right:

You don’t say how these interruptions have been handled. I assume you are a coworker of those who interrupt and see the interruptions as both impolite and harming sales, but you don’t know how to voice your opinion without causing trouble between your coworkers and you. This is a problem for your store manager should handle; however, apparently she/he has not. You are right to be concerned because the success in sales affects all of you employed. You have several overlapping options: If you are interrupted by a coworker, politely say to that individual, “Thank you for wanting to help but, Sally, I can handle this sale.” Then afterward, privately re-enforce that with, “Sally, please don’t ever interrupt me again while I am talking with a customer. It is impolite and can hurt a sale. I won’t interrupt you. So don’t interrupt me. Please don’t be angry about this.”Wait until you observe such interruptions again and to gently say to that individual something like, “Dana, that is something to talk about later.”

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