When I got my first Store Manager's job, I was almost overwhelmed by the number…
Here are some snippets for you to consider, and expand on, to improve your retail sales management skills:
People are your most important strategic advantage. If you look at other stores, for example, in a chain store environment all stores have similar if not the same layout, merchandise, tools, procedures, etc. The difference is the people.
Every day put some time aside (commuting time would be ideal) to think about ways and means regarding how to make your people more productive.
Capitalize on the activities you can measure; remember the adage “if it can not be measured, it can not be managed.”
Take the best practices of the top sales associates and put them in place for everybody; the best demo, the best objection-handler, the best closer, and transfer those best practices to the whole sales team.
Have the owners of these best practices train the others to do the same. You’ll find your 10% + sales increase just from this.
Sales performance is a function of sales skills + people skills + product knowledge + knowledge of the store environment (like knowing the inventory, being able to process customer inquiries and questions with speed and efficiency, etc.).
Your market and customers are constantly changing. Change is the only constant. What made you successful last year, may not work this year – you must constantly reevaluate your effectiveness.
Stay ahead of the curve in terms of what’s happening in the retail world, particularly in your niche.
Retail Sales is a marathon, not a sprint… but you still have to keep your eyes on the first position and want to get up every morning on the run.
Set realistic but stretch goals and targets. Your people want to be successful. Correct target setting is extremely important and deserves ample time to come up with the right numbers. Don’t short-cut this process.
Don’t procrastinate if there is a decision to be made – make it. Get the facts and then make the decision. Ultimately a quick decision-maker will be ten decisions ahead of a slow decision-maker and that’s a competitive advantage.
Remember people pay attention to what the boss/head office pays attention to. Make sure you are in tune with business objectives/tactics and that you clearly understand them. If in doubt, this is a great conversation to have with your supervisor.
Listen to customers; learn to read between the lines. Do not assume you know what they are talking about, or complaining about. Look for quick solutions to customer issues. Make this a culture in the store(s).
Look at and examine your whole sales process. What is not working or can be improved drastically? Where can you increase the productivity/efficiency/effectiveness?
Whenever you are inundated with too many things to do (which is almost always) prioritize.
What are the three things that provide the most leverage (most important for your sales performance), then forget to-do’s 4-10 because you’ll never get to them and they are not worth it.
Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions to customers or associates because you may not like the answer. Develop an inquisitive mind.
You want to know why customers are or are not buying, why a certain process or promotion in the store is not working.
Remember that retail business is not a popularity contest. Get to the bottom of all issues affecting your sales performance.
Check out DMSRetail’s “Retail Sales Skills for Good & Bad Times”
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