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Five Keys to Improving Staff Performance

By Kevin Graff

While product assortments and displays are better and pricing is sharper than ever before, so many sales continue to be lost on retail sales floors every day worldwide. Why? What’s often missing is a sales team that is both driven and capable of selling more to the customers already in the store. This isn’t about creating ‘pushy’ salespeople. It’s about creating a sense of urgency, a sense of confidence and a true ability to close more sales.

For more than 20 years, my consultancy has leveraged Five Keys for driving more sales in each of our clients’ businesses. These are:

Focus on Goals: Everyone on your team must have an unrelenting focus on the sales goals and behavioural expectations you have for them. You need clear sales goals every day. And goals for other key metrics like Average Sale and Conversion Rate. Most important, everyone must always know what these goals are. If you asked your staff today what their goals were, would they know? If not, you have a major problem. They need to be aware of their goals because a focus on goals drives effort.

Share Results Constantly: Everyone must know, at all times, how they and the company are performing. We all want more engaged staff, right? Then you must share information continually on how the business is performing. Post results prominently in the back room and talk about them constantly.

Accountability: Success must matter. Failure cannot be tolerated long term. The question to ask yourself is how long a poor performer can last on your schedule. Establish minimum standards of performance and insist that everyone meets them. This doesn’t mean you fire someone at the first sign of trouble. But it does mean that you need to step up with the required coaching, training and insistence that performance standards be met. When you raise the bar, your staff will most likely jump over it – and sell more in the process.

Ongoing Training and Coaching: So you’ve put goals into place and we’ve started to boost accountability levels to insist on everyone meeting expectations. Now you’ve got to do your part by providing the ongoing training and coaching necessary for them to achieve success. Sales training must be a daily event. Coaching must be scheduled into the daily and weekly operations of the store. Boost everyone’s ability and they can’t help but sell more.

Make it Worthwhile: To get staff to sell more, you’re going to be pushing them harder – which will prompt them to ask “What’s in it for me?” Fair question. You need to have a well thought out reward and recognition system in place. This doesn’t always mean you need to be paying more, but it does mean you need to ensure that effort and success are celebrated appropriately.

These Five Keys aren’t a warm and fuzzy, theoretical approach to getting better performance. They are tactical and sustainable tools for you to use every day in your store. Work hard to get each of them in place.

What’s in it for you? Better staff performance and greater sales.

Kevin Graff is the President of Graff Retail, an Oakville, Ontario-based retail consultancy.