Coaching Your Staff

How is your store doing with respect to customers?  Are you growing customers and brand loyalty or are you missing opportunities? 

Over the past few months we have been paying particular attention to the interaction of the sales staff and customers in the store.  When traffic is down the experience that customers have is more important than ever.  There is no room for error or lack of attention.  So we pose this question to you, “what is your customer’s experience when they come into your store?  I’ve witnessed many feel welcome and invited.  However, in some cases they have felt uncomfortable and unwelcome, somewhat of an inconvenience even.   The reason for their discomfort is most always their interaction with your sales staff. 

The key to making your customers feel special is how they are treated when in your store each and every time they visit.

I recently watch an experienced staff not interacting with customers at all.  You probably are thinking, “That wouldn’t happen in my store”.  In truth that is exactly what the owner thought of this store.  While standing in his store, I observed the following:

  1. Customers not being greeted promptly
  2. Customers not being offered merchandise to hold
  3. Sales staff not smiling
  4. Sales staff not using a counter pad
  5. Sales staff not using a sylvet or polishing cloth
  6. Sales people not asking open ended questions
  7. Sales people not talking about features and benefits
  8. Sales staff not asking for the sale – not closing

Again you are probably thinking, “This would never happen in my store”.  However, I would ask, when was the last time you seriously observed on your sales floor and watched to see the customer’s experience in your store?  

In the same store, we checked the traffic counts of customers over a period of time compared to the number of sales slips  written, we discovered their closing ratio to be 21%, which by the way is the national average.  What that told our client is that for every 10 customers coming into the store 2 are being sold something, while 8 are walking out not buying anything at all.  If you can sell one of the eight walking out you can increase business by 50% without spending any additional money on advertising.

So the question is, “how do you do that?” 

First establish what you expect every sales presentation to include.  Start with your greeting and end with closing and walking the customer out.  (For example use a 10 step selling process)

Second tell your staff what the expectations are.  One of the biggest mistakes management makes is they fail to communicate to the staff what their expectations are.  This leads to the conflict of staff thinking they are doing a good job while the owner thinks the opposite.

Third teach or demonstrate to the staff how to do the 10 steps.  Most stores could use some help on training.  Role playing may feel awkward but it is much better to have your sales staff practicing on one another than your customers.

Fourth and one that very few stores do, and that is observe.  Stand on the sales floor and see if your staff is consistently exercising the 10 steps.  You might be amazed at how your customers (your most important asset) are being treated.

Fifth (the most critical) when you observe a staff member not doing the 10 important steps, you should take them aside and coach them as how to do a better job. 

It reminds me of an NFL football team that went to the Super Bowl and the next year the coaches decided not to come to work because the team was expert.  How do you think they did the next season?   So the question remains, “are you showing up to coach or is your team considered an expert and you cannot understand why sales are soft?”

Consider the importance of relationship selling and then take a few moments to get serious about coaching your staff.  Implement the steps you write out and then improve your sales without spending additional money … just refreshed focus and attention.