How do I fill out a successful application to a mystery shopping company?

You hear about it all the time. A shopper’s application for a new provider got rejected. She’s been racking her brain trying to figure out why. The applications require some pretty specific personal information, such as age and income level. Perhaps it was one of those things that affected the shopper’s approval…

What They’re Looking For. Companies who hire mystery shopping providers typically want a shopper that fits squarely into the profile of their average shopper.  Age, height, and even household income level are all used by providers to match you with the companies they do business with.  For instance, a shop for an upscale woman’s clothing store probably wouldn’t need a male shopper with a low income level. Sure, a lower income male may walk into the store at some point, but he’s not their typical customer and wouldn’t easily blend in as a regular shopper in the store.

Just the same, a shop that requires the purchase of a video game may not be good fit for a 70-year old woman. And a restaurant shop that requires an alcohol purchase may not be a fit for a young adult who isn’t legally old enough to purchase alcohol.

Typically, a provider will have more than enough different types of shops to have a need for almost any type of shopper. Provided the application was completed correctly, most shoppers will be approved without problem. There are times, however, when a provider may not have a need for your shopper profile. If you do get turned down, don’t worry too much about it. There are literally hundreds of providers you can sign up with. Just hold your chin up and move on.

So Many Rejections! If you find that your applications are repeatedly being rejected and you’re sensing a pattern, you may want to review your responses more carefully. It may have nothing to do with your age or income level and everything to do with your answers on the application.

On the essay-style questions on the application, you may want to write your responses in a Word document first to check your spelling and grammar. Then cut and paste them into the application when you’re sure your answers are perfect. Writing ability plays such a big part in mystery shopping. Most shops have some type of free-writing or essay-style questions in the report, and schedulers don’t want to spend all of their time editing your reports. They are looking for shoppers who can complete the reports correctly and free of grammatical and spelling errors.

Also consider your responses on questions pertaining to why you want to be a mystery shopper and why you think you’ll be a good mystery shopper. In your responses, consider all the qualities of a good mystery shopper – a strong writer, detail-oriented, responsible and able to meet deadlines. Consider reasons other than making money that you want to be a mystery shopper. Do you want to help retailers improve customer service? Do you want your voice as a consumer to be heard?  A response to why you want to be a mystery shopper probably shouldn’t say that you are buried up to your ears in debt and need to make some extra money to put shoes on your twelve kids. Keep your responses professional and write them to suit your audience.

With so many providers to work with, a couple of rejections here and there aren’t a big deal. Just move on to the next one. But if you sense a pattern, see if it’s something you’re saying on the application that may be the problem.