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During the Slow Times...

As is my wont, I was talking to a long time and rather successful retailer the other day.  Says I, “How do you do it?”

“Constant training and review.” WOW. Management did not complain “I can’t find good people,” he indicated that all of the good people already have jobs!  “Sooooo…” he says “I am a relentless trainer and reviewer”.  I listen to my guys when they are talking to consumers in the store and when they are on the phone.  If they miss an opportunity we sit together and review it. Not with a negative but rather with a very positive point of approach. Of course, not every consumer interaction can turn into a sale this moment. Making my birthday wish list, waiting for my tax return, I get paid next Friday… Sometimes it is best not to sell to a consumer. You know the guy… He grinds and grinds for a better price. Then he is the big time complainer about the fact that his air conditioner is not as cold as it was before you put a subwoofer box in the trunk. For sure his loudest and most obnoxious complaints are in your store, in front of three other consumers, while the phone is ringing.

When it is slow, these guys do a lot of role playing. Sometimes they video role playing sessions and then the whole group critiques the session. I am here to tell you that when you are provided with a script (or if you’re a real pro and do it off the top of your head) and then recorded, AND THEN you get to see yourself in action it can be terribly humbling. BUT it is well worth the humility if you discover omissions and weaknesses and then work to improve. After a few weeks of practicing the improvements go through the role playing sessions again and review the video.  When you see the improvements you have successfully employed… You can’t wait to refine even further and do the role playing and video review again. This kind of practice helps one stay in better control on the floor and on the phone with the consumer.

Of course the outcome of exercising the improved control and skills is higher average tickets, increase in gross profit, and perhaps most important, a more loyal consumer who is proud and often anxious to go out and tell all his friends about you.

All this because management is paying attention. Management is not afraid to point out opportunities for improvement as opposed to complaining about the poor quality of the people management hired. Management takes slow time and uses it productively. Management sets the tone. Management hires people who fit and who want to be here doing good.

If this story could not be told about your store, may I suggest you find a way to begin to create such a culture. If this story could be told about your store, share this story with another retailer in another market that you met at a distributor show or sound off or vendor trip or your rep tells you about a guy who needs this kind of help. It’ll make you feel good! I promise. 

Last modified on Friday, 25 October 2013 08:54
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