In sports you may notice how fans recount the highlights of individual games and praise the efforts of star players. It's reminiscent of a time when retailers praised their salespeople much the same way. Like team coaches, it seemed businesses understood and pursued an important principal: better players produce better results.
After nearly two decades in retail and having led sales teams that produced more than a quarter billion in sales, I agree that we're in tough times, but I also see the writing on the wall and it says that better salespeople still produce better results.
If you had better salespeople, would your organization have better results? While improving the caliber of your salespeople isn't an overnight fix, it ultimately starts somewhere. Here are a few ideas to help you lead your team to better results:
Stop Complicating the Process
If you look at all the published retail sales books and articles, it's amazing how many different approaches to retail sales are out in the marketplace. The level of complexity in some of these approaches is baffling. I read one book where the author taught his "17-Step Retail Sales Success Formula." It's no wonder we don't develop world-class talent anymore. Let's face it, folks have trouble remembering what days they get paid and when the next all-store meeting is scheduled. How can we expect them to remember a 17-step sales process? Retail selling isn't that complicated.
A retail sale has two, and only two, steps. First, find out what the shopper is looking for. Second, help them get it. That's it. Use the kindergarten litmus test, which means if you were going to explain to a kindergartner how to be a retail salesperson, which definition could a five-year-old comprehend? Every sales technique you can name falls into one of those two steps. Furthermore, line up your sales staff and ask each of them one at a time what their job is. At first, the vast differences in definitions will scare you. Over time, teach and show them that their job is twofold: find out what consumers want and help them get it.