I'll take you to the mystery shop...

I'll take you to the mystery shop...

13 Jul 09:00 by Ben Cantrall


Candy shopping, online shopping, panic buying or mystery shopping- what are you doing more of during Covid-19?

With apologies to 50 cent, I make the case that if you’re looking for work or trying to sell to people right now, it’s got to be the humble mystery shop. 

My first encounter with mystery shopping came after I turned some heads at my second job (Coles) with my much-publicised move from the freezer section to the checkouts. My manager pulled me aside and told me that my mystery shopping scores were strong and that all customers had remarked how talkative I was. She then walked away before I could chew her ear off.

So- how can being a woman or man of mystery help you right now? Here's my 50 cents worth.

When looking for work

A few years ago I was speaking to an intelligent and articulate person about preparing for their upcoming interview. Ben, he said, I’ve got a process I follow to prepare for interviews. I leaned in. Before I interview, I make an enquiry and see what happens from there. I submit my interest, I call up the sales team and I see how and what they sell meI take notes, throw up some objections and get a better understanding of both the team and their product.

Ryan, if you’re reading this- brilliant idea and thanks for sharing it with me. Before an interview, reading a company website is the starting point. Stalking your interviewer on linkedin is helpful. Actually going through the sales process as a potential customer is a simple way to gain genuine insight on the product, the sales team and sales process, and the company itself. The quality of your questions will go through the roof and I wouldn’t be afraid of telling your interviewer that you’ve done it as well.

When selling!

Recruitmore has done several years of work recruiting in a high volume environment. I wanted to get more clients- of course- but how to get their attention and show them I understood their business and wasn’t like the other recruiter chumps out there?

I appropriated Ryan’s idea and we mystery shopped 30 new businesses through their high volume process. We engaged an “ideal candidate” to apply for a role, went through the interview process to understand the candidate experience and put together a report.

I then called the owners/directors of each business and told them I wanted to share a report we’d put together on their interview processes. Genuine insights, real examples and some qualified context on where they stood with their competitors. Note: I strongly advise calling the boss of the person you mystery shopped- and not the actual person you mystery shopped- if you do this!

Again, the mystery shop can be used if you’ve already booked a meeting with a client and you’re looking for the edge with your preparation.

The Candy Shop may be more lewd and provocative and more conducive to another kind of job and hey, I get it if you want to go there! However if you’re coming with me, I’ll take you to the mystery shop. I’ll have you spending all you got.