The Highly Successful Retail Manager (HSRM) never misses an opportunity to network.
Whether in the workplace, at a meeting, at a sporting event or any type of social gathering, the HSRM is always on the lookout for great people.
And he is always promoting his store/organization.
You just never know when you will come across an individual who would be a perfect fit as an employee in your organization or even someone who is looking for a new place to shop and your store is perfect for them.
So, you have to be ready.
Effective succession planning, which we discussed earlier, depends heavily on networking.
The HSRM is always thinking ‘find good people’.
He always carries business cards – lots of them.
He is very social; engaging people in conversation at every opportunity.
When you network effectively, you will be surprised at how many people contact you.
They might contact you when they are looking for a job, or when they have a product to sell, or if they are looking for someone to hire, or something to buy – the list is endless.
The point is that you are in the loop…or the network. Your circle of influence gets bigger all the time.
There are certain industries where networking is a way of life and, in fact, it is the very best way to build business.
Selling Real Estate is one of those industries, as is Life Insurance.
The people in those industries must, as they so often put it, “talk to people, talk to people, talk to people”. That is what they do day in and day out.
If they don’t, they cannot make a lot of money or reach the level of success they desire.
In those industries they are networking primarily to obtain new clients, but they are also looking for people to bring on board in their firms.
In retail, the need for networking is not quite as obvious.
We have stores that people pass by and decide to come in based on the company name, reputation, window displays, visual merchandising, etc.
And we get customers who come in based on advertising and promotion.
But those people are prospective customers, which is wonderful for business but not necessarily the best way to get job applicants.
Of course, there is a networking opportunity for you in turning customers into job applicants. Sometimes your customer is also looking for a new position.
And if that comes out in the conversation, then by all means follow it up.
But, generally, your customers are not your candidates for employment. So you have to network outside of the store.
If you happen to be a shy type of individual, networking can be a bit more difficult for you than it is for an extrovert.
However, you need to consider it part of your responsibility as a manager and do it regardless.
Here are some suggestions for places to network:
One on one opportunities –
- Grocery stores
- Medical and Dental offices
- Gas stations
- Convenience stores
- Mall food courts
Group opportunities –
- Clubs/organizations you belong to
- Training sessions
- Sporting Events you take part in
- Open House gatherings
The HSRM knows the importance of networking and makes a point of doing it every day, everywhere.
It has to become a habit, or a ‘way’ of being if you are going to be a HSRM.
HSRM IS ENERGETIC, AMBITIOUS and ENTHUSIASTIC
Have you ever noticed that some people seem to exude enthusiasm and energy while they’re working? That’s what HSRMs do.
They really like what they do and it shows. They are ambitious about everything they do; working on the sales floor or climbing the ladder of success.
They are competitive; often challenging their subordinates to beat their sales…for fun and excitement of course, not to show off.
But this type of challenge is motivating for associates because:
They want to beat the manager
They learn from it
They like to see that the manager actually knows what to do
This is a great way for the HSRM to teach. Employees tend to have a lot of respect for the manager who can ‘walk the talk’.
The HSRM is always on the lookout for new and different methods of doing just about everything; constantly asking questions to get feedback on every process and technique used.
The HSRM is always willing to share information.
Associates who are ambitious enjoy hearing about how the HSRM’s career progressed and the HSRM is always glad to tell the story.
This is motivating to most associates because it answers questions they have about their own career paths; it helps them understand what is required to get ahead in the retail industry and in the particular organization and what traits and behaviors are most valued.
You will never hear a HSRM lamenting over bad luck or unfortunate events that have occurred in his lifetime.
The HSRM knows not to pass along negative comments which really just sound like excuses.
The HSRM takes responsibility for all of his actions whether the outcome was good or bad. He knows that the game of blaming others is a sure way to end up a loser.
The HSRM demonstrates a high energy level and enthusiastically handles all of his affairs.
His ambition is clear; he’s moving up in the organization because he is so good at what he’s doing.
If he does have any areas to improve upon he seeks out advice and direction and enthusiastically embarks upon a well thought out plan to get better – whatever it takes.
That’s another very important thing – the HSRM operates on the WIT (whatever it takes) principle.