The shop without sales: The questions you need to ask

The secret to a focused, motivated and goal-focused retailer is generally not found in the shop.

Seem strange or even impractical? From our experience the start of assessing whether a shop team is sales focused starts in the backroom (or manager’s office).

The backroom should be the engine room of a well run motivated store and no surprises that when assessing a retail shops performance there are some tell tale signs of the business focus that lie within this small room.

Typically, apart from orderly and categorised stock back-up the other major sign is the absence or presence of clearly obvious sales targets and sales performance, along with service scores on the backroom wall.

Retail is a competitive business and highlighting the performance in sales of a team member seems to be an area of question to some retailers. Some retailers simply do not have sales goals in the business, and without a goal and objective, staff are not motivated to achieve.

We regularly use the metaphor of a sporting team who’s primary objective is to win the game, without this objective, what is the point in playing in the first place? A retail environment should be the same, whereby all staff have the ultimate goal of making sales.

Essentially, a retail business is a sales business that differentiates in brand, position, offer and process, yet many retail businesses don’t focus on sales and as a result sales culture and consequences for the sales performance are lacking.

There are other questions that we typically ask in our diagnosis, although if you can honestly answer yes to each of these 15 questions, you have a “fit” sales culture. If not, then a major part of your strategy is not paying a dividend and there is clear room for improvement and development.

Do you:

1. Have weekly and daily sales targets displayed in the back room for all staff?
2. Have business leaders who are passionate about increasing sales?
3. Benchmark KPI’s such as items per sale, average spend and conversion and are these measured?
4. Have clearly defined selling and non-selling tasks within the business?
5. Create individual sales targets for each staff member?
6. Hold daily start-up meetings to motivate staff, introduce new products and promotions and allocate tasks and sales targets for the day?
7. Measure sales performance by product category to product against stock holding?
8. Celebrate success when your staff exceed expectations?
9. Have an incentive program that rewards sales achievements?
10. Have a “steps of a sale program” and is it tailored to your business appropriate selling style?
11. Teach your staff about the key features and benefits of your products?
12. Have individual coaching sessions with staff based on their performance?
13. See team member’s individual sales increasing as their experience increases?
14. Encourage a culture of achievement, progression and continuous improvement in your business?
15. Have staff training that contains questions and mini “tests” to ensure accreditation and progression?

This article was first published on June 9, 2011.

Brian Walker is the managing director of Australasia’s leading retail consultancy, Retail Doctor Group.


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