How to improve sales results in the retail industry!
I’d like to continue to develop the theme of sales results in retail and invite comment on some conclusions on how to be better than the rest.
To add some value to our readers I want to share both research and evidence as to how to improve revenues in retail.
The reality of retail environments is that there is not the time or money to spend days on training and development to develop advanced selling skills. This article looks at four simple and ‘free’ things that have been proven to improve results.
1. Recognise you are the expert - people want advice and guidance, not just friendly faces. Experts are more engaged, ask more questions and make enthusiastic recommendations. Give your people the knowledge to be experts in what they are selling. Encourage them to look at competition. Discuss with them the differences between your offering and theirs.
2. Be interested – make sure everyone understands the attitude, facial expression and words that need to be used to show genuine interest in the customer. Did you know that the customer makes up their mind about the salesperson in the first 6 – 9 seconds? Quite often this is before they speak. One company in our group that tried new practices had store staff rate each other on their level of engagement, using a simple form. In two weeks revenues were up by 16%.
3. Really simple skills go a long way – as stated, in retail the initial engagement is key. Far too often we see untalented and boring approaches being used. How often have you heard a salesperson say to you, ‘you OK?’ or, ‘can I help?’ These have to be the most poorly phrased and disengaged statements that we hear, but we hear them all the time. With another retailer, we asked their staff to change one simple thing, the initial phrase they used. We asked them to walk up to the customer smile. Say hello and ask, ‘what brings you into our store today?’ This got the customer talking and engaged, and as a result sales were up over the pilot period by 28%.
4. Test properly at interview – if we accept that store staff are not going to attend lengthy induction and training, then we must make sure the raw material has an aptitude for the job. Not only should you get the person to show you how they would deal with a customer, but there are a range of other tests available that will let you know if the person is right for the job. We use, as an example, a software tool that evaluates whether people enjoy talking to others. Simple and cheap, but essential if you want people who have an aptitude for the job.