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Tips to Successful Secret Shopping

Here are several ways to get great secret shopping opportunities.

Look for shops in your geography
When you are looking for shops, the first thing you do is look for companies that are either national or right in your backyard. Most companies state their geography upfront. When you do a search, never extend yourself beyond a 30-40 mile radius as most companies won't award you shops beyond that unless they are desperate or you tell them you are on travel. For example, I am a student at a university in Florida. Every 3-4 months, I go down to Florida to attend classes. I know enough of the companies whereby I will ask them to throw me a shop in this metro area so I can get as many meals for free, cups of coffee for free, and even a hotel stay for free. Anything I can do to defray my expenses - I will do. And besides, I like to procrastinate from doing work in the hotel room. So this is my entertainment while I am not in the classroom! However, under ordinary circumstances, this would not happen. So think locally as this is your best bet.

Focus on demographics and profiling
WARNING: Don't pick shops if you know you do not fit the demographic. For example, are you over 25 years old and the shop says for shoppers between the age of 18-24. If that is the case, you are automatically eliminated. Do not waste the company's time. Pick shops you know you can naturally fit the demographic. One of my extreme scenarios is this. You make a $150,000. Would you normally go to a coffee shop and buy a $4.00 cup of Joe. Probably! On the other hand, if you make $10,000, would you go and shop a $200 restaurant. Probably not! You need to dress your par and act like the client expects you to. The $200 restaurant generally requires a suit and tie, not sweats and a tee shirt. The coffee shop expects a certain type of clientele. Therefore, the business person would fit the par.

Plan your schedule and show your credentials
Schedule yourself in a neighborhood but never do the shops too close to one another. Mix it up. When I secret shop, I will shop a specific mall and typically do 8-10 shops in that mall. Do I do the entire mall floor by floor, one right after another? No. I mix it up. It would become too obvious if I went down the row of stores. I mix things up and take breaks between the shops. This is the planning stage. The credentials though are much like showing your resume to the secret shopping companies. When you sign up for a shop, state that a) you have several shops near the same location. This is a plus to them because the likelihood of you being able to do the shop is 1000% greater and b) you are experienced. Do not lie but do sell yourself that you are a commodity and that you can do many shops in the same day. Planning ahead for multiple shops guarantees you multiple streams of income! It also ensures you that you can get more bang for your time AND expand your network of companies you work for.

Become friends with the schedulers
I can't tell you how many times I have gotten calls from companies because I let them know what type of shops I liked and my availability. Chatting with them by email is one thing but the truth is there are voices and hearts behind these people. I can remember when I first started, I became friendly with a secret shopping scheduler whose husband was a Ph.D Candidate (as am I). I was going to get engaged shortly (she recently got married). She was always looking for extra income to pay her husband's education bills off (as was I). I understood her pain and she understood mine. Because of this bond, whenever she had a Primo shop in my area and she knew it fit a certain profile (and she needed an experienced guy), she would email me and say, want to do this. It pays this much. I can bonus you X if you can get it done by this date.

What's the point of this scenario? The companies do not need to go on a wild goose chase to find a potential shopper. They already have one in mind. It makes the job easier for them and they can be assured that the work will get done - and done right! Calling these people up and getting to know them goes a long way. Many of them will even bonus you or up the pay if you are a regular. For the coffee shops which pay $9.00 plus the drink. I seldom ever get paid $9.00 anymore. My compensation is generally $15-$19 a shop plus the drink. I know when the companies will bonus, when they are in a bind, and what scenarios pay more. You do not learn that just by luck - you learn because the company schedulers educate you on how to play the game. Education is a part of the process. Why not get free advice from the sources themselves!

Thank you's go along way
After a shop is complete, thank the person who scheduled the shop for you. It goes a long way and it makes them feel special. It also shows the company you are very serious about doing the shops for them and want to continue a working relationship with them. If you have questions or concerns, address them. However, the overarching theme is being positive and grateful. It's common etiquette right?

One of the most interesting aspects of the secret shopping world is the negotiation. You can often negotiate dates unless it is towards the end of a quarter or month. However, income based negotiation is a different story. Let's say the shop pays $10. Well, the company may be willing to bonus you a little - for transportation or a few extra dollars. However, there will be some compromises to be made. For example, the $10 can become $15 but they may ask you to submit the report sooner. Or they may ask you to evaluate an additional aspect of a shop. It never hurts to try and ask, is there more available. Caution though, do not do this every time. If the survey takes five minutes and they are paying you $20.00, be happy and just do the survey. If the shop pays $25 and you are expected to pay $40, you are at a $15 deficit. See if you can negotiate some more. This is where common sense needs to kick in.

There are hundreds more helpful pieces of advice in the award winning book, The Successful Secret Shopper which you can buy a Lulu.com by clicking the link:

The Successful Secret Shopper: Tips, Tricks, and Advice

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jack_Hymn

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/2210828

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