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SMART Growth

Retail Management ProTip: Motivate Your Underperforming Team

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Do you remember when you started your first retailing job? The joy of finding out how you can do better and especially sell better was addictive. But once you were at it, you started making assumptions, especially when it came to selling merchandise. You began to believe that you had superpowers and that you could read people just by looking at them.
You immediately thought you knew:

  • She won’t buy anything; she never does.
  • It’s very cheap.
  • She’s comparing Amazon.
  • He’s just hitting the tires.

As salespeople, we become so sure of how buyers will act that we get nervous.
And from that, we begin to see our retail job not as helping customers but as stopping them as enemies.

Since so many retailers have zero retail sales training, very little ongoing training, employees are left to their own devices – literally.
With less body walking to your door, your employees are easily getting into the virtual world of Snapchat, Facebook, and more.

When a customer walks in the door, they are obstructing the employee’s virtual world. Your employees will want to size up shoplifting and decide if they are worth their time.

So by their sentiment, they can predict whether one can buy or not within seconds.

But I don’t have superpowers, either anybody
A guy walking with dirty jeans and flip-flops can easily buy your one-carat diamond ring because the woman is wearing a designer halter, and Louis Vuitton shoes.
Nobody can change people’s buying habits, but you can find out what they really value.
When you’re ready to take the time to build trust and lay the foundation for sales before attempting to use some hacky tie-down selling techniques, you might not know how easily you can sell!

But a retail sales team can’t do that if they are bothered to both see and hear their buyers.

How do you know if your retail sales team is upset?

1. You hear the same sales presentation from every salesperson that means their mind is turned off.
2. Your commissions and bonuses are not enough to keep the sales needle moving which means you are disappointed as you are looking for new ways to motivate retail employees to put in more effort.
3. And you have a selling superstar who shows you that others are indifferent and not competing for sales.

How do you motivate a poorly performing retail sales team?

1. Give them retail management and sales training. First, give everyone a chance to learn and start again. If someone can’t or won’t, sit down with them and do their shopping.

2. Fire one of them. If nothing has improved after giving them new equipment and training, remove one that isn’t performing consistently. Few things wake up a crew as serious as realizing a boss is.

3. Set them all on fire. Hire and train new people. If your crew has become toxic and is unwilling to do its job, you will have to take drastic action. I know it may sound cruel, but let’s face it, these are your only choices.

If there’s more than one stubborn employee, you must have the courage to say to yourself that it’s either me or I, and it’s not going to be me. But without getting yourself additional management training, you are doomed to repeat your retail management mistakes.

The worst enemy to your retail management is not just the price.

A lost sale isn’t just about the price, and it’s not just about the product itself. It is about how the employee interacts with the buyer to reduce the fear of purchase.
When you can remove the risks and regrets, your buyer is more likely to make a purchase.
That’s what you’re paying your employees to do – to take away the fear.
Do you know what buyers are afraid of?
Shoppers fear they can’t buy the best; Can’t find the best option; The item will not do what they want; Or their, husband, or partner – you name them – will think they are taken for a fool.
For those reasons, every seller should be open to their ability to solve your buyers’ fears. And each buyer is unique

Let me give you a couple of examples from my own shopping experiences.
I was looking to replace my 2014 Audi Diesel Q7 and had just test driven the 2017 Q7, and loved it! But I had researched it online, and this model was missing something.
I asked the salesperson, “Does this have adaptive cruise control with stop & go and traffic jam assist?” He replied with a laugh, “We have one in the back, but no one will ever buy it because it costs too much.”

That phrase is the clearest example of a non-existent retail management and sales training program, but I made him go get the car and much to his surprise, I bought it.

I was walking down the street in Denver and spotted an A-frame sign promising Aveda’s cure for baldness. As a 50-ish guy looking at more of my hair in the sink every day, I was interested. I walked into the salon and asked, “Where is that product?” and pointed outside to the sign.
“You know, it’s really expensive,” the young woman replied. I asked, “Do I look homeless?” She replied, “Well, I just wanted you to know it’s really expensive.”
What she missed – twice – was my fear wasn’t if I could afford it, it was going bald. I would move heaven and earth to fix that.

As a twenty-something young woman with long hair, she couldn’t see or take the time to understand why the price wasn’t my compelling reason to buy.
And if she had been trained to bond with me first before talking about her products, she then would have incorporated the price into the description with all the benefits. Think of L’Oréal’s slogan, Because I’m worth it.

And you got it…I bought it…and the conditioner too.
And while we’re on the subject of hair coloring, never forget how copywriter Shirley Polykoff’s tagline for Miss Clairol, Does she…or doesn’t she? Shirley understood the key to selling the product was to reassure its buyers that the color they’d get from a box would be so natural that nobody would ever guess. It was never that it was cheap. It was about removing fear.
I was looking to get back to exercising and went to the local bike shop.

Still, in his riding clothes, the young man greeted me with, “How can I help you?” I replied, “I’m thinking of getting back into bike riding and…” He cut in before I could finish my sentence, “I know just what you need,” and he pulled out a basic black bike.
I wasn’t in the sale; he and that cheap bike were. After a few minutes, I politely said I’d think about it and walked out of the store.

Picasso is quoted as saying, “If I knew what the point was before I began, why would I paint?”
Exactly! As salespeople, we have to be open to discovering the person in front of us without trying to get rid of them because we think they are cheap or not worth our time.

See also, Retail Management: How To Get Your Employees To Do What You Want


Many pundits say shoppers have changed, neither the customer.

  • Your customers still want to feel good when they meet someone in a store, and someone to help them.
  • They still want to feel their money allowed them to experience a place where people took care of them and respected their time and money.

Not an experience where someone tried to get rid of them with minimum service levels. But suppose that is all your store can deliver. In that case, those same shoppers are just as willing to stay home and order online, not to reward bad service, to not settle for crap product bought so it could meet a price point, to not feel worse for having gone to the effort to go to the store.
And then you close your doors and blame Amazon instead of your inability to deal with your struggling, jaded retail sales team. But as long as RMPro is at your service, retail management is just in the palm of your hand by bridging between cutting-edge technology and traditional retail systems.

Start Automated Success with RMPRO today

Start Automated Success with RMPRO today

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