dont blame the sales person
I've worked in telecommunications retail for over 4 years and yes Elop is perfectly correct in saying that if something isn't placed in the customers hands and demonstrated it wont be sold.
Having said that as a sales person you tend to care about one thing - the customer handing over cash for something regardless of what it is. 99% of customers have never even heard of windows on a phone even if they are completely familiar with the windows brand.
for those 99% of customers it is far easier to simply show them either an iphone, or an android device of which they have heard of through friends and family, and almost instantaneously you have closed the sale.
As unfortunate as it is but most sales people, myself included, know that spending 5 minutes showing how great a product is, that the customer has never heard of, is simply a waste of time and will more likely than not lose you a sale, which in turn means losing commission.
In order for Nokia to increase sales they need to massively raise awareness of their products through other channels and not rely on sales hungry, sales people.
If the salesperson is what they truly believe to be their most valuable asset in selling their products, then they should be rewarded. Nokia has for as long as i can remember ran a program for sales staff - "Nokia Rewards" however over the past few years the rewards simply aren't worth the effort.
Sony Erricson for example on a regular basis will run a sales staff promotion along the lines of "if you sell X handsets (usually 5-10) you get one for free" I tell you right now, no matter how bad a product is, when a promotion like that is offered you will gladly demonstrate every selling point it has to offer.
I have watched Nokia sales crash through the floor in my time selling phones, from being the brand I sold the most, to now being the least, and it is by no means the fault of the sales people.
I will sell to a customer whatever is easiest to sell, and Nokia handsets are by no means an easy product to sell when stacked up against the rest of the market in the general publics eyes.
Another issue that seriously challenges current Nokia handsets are those before it. Every flagship handset Nokia has released since the N96 that i have witnessed have had a higher rate of fault returns than any other comparable handset at the time. Recently our store discovered that 63% of N8's and N9's sold through us had been returned faulty within 6 months.
If you work in a retail environment, the last thing you want is the person bringing the product back, so when you see a handset come back that often, there is a very slim chance you will be recommending that brand to future customers.
At the end of the day the customer will generally follow the crowd or the product with the most hype, and that is something that Nokia is significantly lacking.