A Note about Standards and Expectations

Pillars of Retail

Employees are expected to measure up to certain standards when it comes to professional conduct. Most of these are outlined in the official Policy Manual.

In your store, you need to outline the expectations, or standards of conduct according to the way you want to see things done.

You are the Manager and you have every right to have your expectations met, and exceeded.

Of course, your expectations and standards must be at least equal to, and preferably above and beyond, those outlined in the manual.

Standards of conduct are required for, among other things:

  • Appearance
  • General Presentation
  • Attitude
  • Behavior
  • Work ethic

The bottom line is that you want employees who will represent you and your company in the finest manner possible while always keeping the customer first and foremost in their minds.

When that is the case, success will follow – for you, your associates and the company.

The following is a quote from the book ‘Sam Walton – Made in America – My Story:

“Sam Walton understands better than anyone else that no business can exist without customers. He lives by his credo, which is to make the customer the centerpiece of all his efforts. And in the process of serving Wal-Mart’s customers to perfection (not quite perfection, he would say), he also serves Wal-Mart’s associates, its share owners, its communities, and the rest of its stakeholders in an extraordinary fashion – almost without parallel in American business”

                                                    Roberto C. Goizueta                                                          

Achieving that state is not easy.  It takes:

  • Perseverance
  • Vigilance
  • Discipline
  • Consistency

And just when you think it is all coming together, you may experience setbacks. Don’t let that change your standards or expectations.

Stay focused on achieving the results you desire.

In your store, your expectations are everything.

  • Set high expectations and insist that they are met.
  • Be relentless.
  • Don’t let infractions go unnoticed.

This requires a lot of time, effort and discipline on your part.  You have to lead by example at all times.

To illustrate:

During a store visit a V.P., Sales and Operations, a Regional Sales Manager and a District Sales Manager toured the store with the Manager and got a lot of great feedback about new initiatives, merchandise and various other subjects.

The visit was going very well.

The store management and staff enjoyed the company of the visitors and their respect for them was evident.

There are four comfortable arm chairs in the center of the store for the comfort of customers.

Staff members are not permitted to sit on the chairs during open hours. This is a fairly standard rule of conduct.

Following the walk through, the V.P. and the Regional Sales Manager sat down to rest in the chairs.

The example that was set that day was certainly not desirable. It is unproductive and damaging to morale when leaders do not set a good example.

The Sales Meeting as an Effective Training Tool

Sales training is perhaps the most important training you can provide for your retail employees. 

Selling is actually a science that calls for training, mental conditioning and planning. 

The sales meeting is an important management tool that will help the associates meet their objectives.

It takes time and effort to plan and conduct effective sales meetings. With a limited amount of time available to Store

Managers, it is important that the meeting be planned to accomplish several objectives in a short period of time.

Improve Communications:

The management team and the staff need to communicate regularly to prevent the staff from picking up information through the grapevine and to keep management informed about what is happening on the selling floor. 

This is one way for the management team to stay close to the customer.

Introduction of New Products and Policies/Procedures:

Introducing anything new is more easily accomplished in a meeting.

When the staff are able to exchange ideas and ask questions the chance of misunderstandings is reduced.

Motivation of the Staff:

Because motivation is a vital ingredient in any sales plan, it’s important to use the sales meeting to praise, recognize and excite the staff.

Problem Solving:

Problems are resolved more quickly when all concerned parties are present to discuss possible solutions and contribute ideas.

Training and Instruction:

The sales meeting provides a great opportunity to train/instruct several individuals at one time making it an efficient use of resources.

Suggested Topics for Sales Meetings:

  • About the company
  • Professionalism
  • The selling personality
  • Greetings
  • Successful approaches
  • Handling objections
  • Determining needs
  • Influencing the buying decision
  • Closing the sale
  • Favorite closing techniques
  • Knowing your product/service
  • What makes people buy?
  • Problem solving
  • Impulse buying
  • Customer records
  • Telephone selling
  • Relationship selling
  • Favorite ice-breakers
  • Building your sales talk
  • Listening to your customer
  • How to avoid lost sales
  • Increasing the average sale amount
  • Developing creativity
  • Personal habits
  • Attire and grooming
  • Sustaining enthusiasm
  • Teamwork
  • Duties and responsibilities
  • Policies and procedures
  • Effectiveness

Sales Meetings do not have to be lengthy. In fact, if you plan for several short meetings your investment will be minimal. 

Short sales meetings can be held fifteen minutes prior to opening. Consider meeting for coffee on Saturday morning and hold your meeting during that time.

Be creative and ask your employees to be flexible.

While there can be a benefit to holding formal training sessions and lengthy sales meetings, they are very expensive in terms of hours invested. 

These need to be held occasionally for major events such as:

  • Seasonal Launches
  • New program roll outs
  • Major policy changes

In the meantime,

“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” John Wooden