Limiting Performance Potential

It’s a wonderful thing to believe your staff are amazing, wonderful, super human beings who can conquer any challenge; meet every goal and just generally be out of this world fantastic.

But, that’s kind of wishful thinking, isn’t it?

This time of year can bring a lot of customers into retail stores and, with really good, skilled people who are trying their best, sales can be over the top amazing.

But, with people who are enjoying their leisure time while at work in your stores, sales are going to be a little disappointing. Or, maybe very disappointing.

Can we all agree that this is a great time of year, particularly for retailers who need to finish Q4 with a bang to make up for any shortfalls throughout the year?

There are so many holidays coming up…so many fun times ahead.

Oh! The gift giving…the shopping…the sales…most retailers can’t wait for it to get started!

Retail isn’t easy work but it can be lucrative if you know what you’re doing.

Part of knowing what you’re doing is understanding this simple fact:

If you have low expectations of your associates, they will likely live up to those expectations…but no more than that.

Even those who initially go above and beyond will, eventually, learn that there isn’t any value to working harder when all you expect is mediocrity anyway.

Here’s a story about a retail business owner who actually said her people couldn’t get any better…couldn’t produce more sales…

This is laughable but, unfortunately…

It’s a true story.

At a retail management conference, a retail business owner objected to the instructors insistence that sales associates and management teams need individual targets.

On the face of the objection, it might seem that the owner was a believer in the non-competitive family oriented method of team selling. But, that was not the case.

The retail business owner objected simply because she knew her staff were selling as much as humanly possible and there was no way she should give them targets as they could not be expected to sell any more than they did already.

She said there was no way they were missing any opportunities.

So, one might think this owner misunderstood the process for setting individual targets. She may think that targets are intentionally set above what is reasonable.

But, that was not the case either.

This owner put it this way…

She had full trust in her staff. She liked them all very much and they all got along very well. The atmosphere in the store was very casual and comfortable.

They were like a family; a very close knit team.

She certainly didn’t want to do anything to make her employees uncomfortable.

She was certain that they were all doing every single thing possible to make sales happen, even without targets…not even store sales targets. Nothing.

With further discussion it was learned that this retail business owner rarely worked on weekends – the busiest times.

What’s more…she didn’t even drop in because the staff thought that would show she didn’t trust them.

There were no traffic counters so, without being in the store during reportedly higher traffic times, how could the owner possibly have any idea if the store was achieving its potential?

It was also learned that, although some KPI’s were recorded, no one really studied them or paid much attention to them.

After some time, and lots of discussion among the participants, this retail owner still believed that her staff simply couldn’t do any better. She felt they were doing as much as anyone possibly could.

To her mind, they couldn’t increase conversion, UPT’s, average sale…nothing could be improved.

This retail business owner just didn’t know what she didn’t know.

The staff may very well have been wonderful but it is very likely that they could have improved if more had been expected of them.

When you stop trying to get better…to achieve more…you probably won’t do either.

Motivate your people by challenging them to achieve more this holiday season.

Remember that old saying that goes something like this…

Shoot for the stars because, even if you don’t reach the stars, you won’t be in the mud.

Dominate Holiday Sales!

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Tough Love

The only way to manage in retail stores is to be firm and fair; something known to parents of teens as practising tough love.

(Link to today’s article is below)

You know that you’re in a tough industry.

Apart from the other business concerns such as competition, dwindling mall traffic, changing technology, etc., you have to manage people…a huge variable in your business.

Every person is unique and, occasionally, you may find you’ve got an employee or two who think they’ve got plenty of reasons to whine and complain BUT you can’t allow them to.

You’re coming up on the busy holiday selling season…the gift giving season extraordinaire… and what you need from your employees, more than anything, is their commitment to interact with your customers in a pleasant and productive way.

Check out the article and make sure your staff are aligned with you for a great holiday season.

Here’s the link to the article.

And, please be sure to leave your comments after reading the article…we’re always interested in what you have to say! Thanks.

Have a happier holiday selling season by getting your Super Retail Success Bundle.
(Available in print or digital versions.)

This is a great opportunity for you to grab all the tools, insights and secrets you’ll need to meet the constant challenges of Retail Management. You can be better informed, better prepared and more successful than you ever imagined.

You get:

• 8 Success Guides & Tools
• Bonus with purchase: 8 DVD’s in the Exclusive Retail Manager’s DVD Collection

Owning your own Super Retail Success Bundle is like having a group of highly experienced, successful retail management coaches available to you 24/7…whenever you need an answer, a plan, a new tactic, a retail headache remedy….everything.

The Super Retail Success Bundle is a virtual treasure trove of ideas, information and ‘how-to’s’ for your continued success and all at a low, low price.

Get Yours Now.
(Available in print or digital versions.)

Get full details about all of the Success Guides, Tools and DVD’s included in the Super Retail Success Bundle and read the testimonials…

Here’s the link.

Have a great holiday selling season!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Retail Insights

There are, indeed, some things that you just have to roll with in retail, as in any other industry…but there are many more things – the most important things – that you must plan, and make happen, if you want profitable results.

‘Some people make things happen, some people watch what happens and some people say ‘what happened?’.

It is not an easy thing to operate a solid, responsible, profitable retail operation.

We don’t need to tell you that it is no longer about filling up a space with products and opening the doors to the customer.

Nowadays, there is much more responsibility than that.

Retailers who don’t pay attention to what is required of them will pay the price.

Please go through the posts in this blog as well as at DMSRetail.com/RetailArticles and get a lot of ideas provided to you free of charge.

All the Success!

DMSRetail

www.dmsretail.com

Leaders Don’t Create Followers

How is your succession plan working for you?

Are you creating competent leaders?

Every organization needs a solid succession plan but not many need it as much as retailers do.

While every retail management position is important, the position that is often ignored is the Assistant Store Manager.

To enable the organization to draw on the talent of their Store Managers to fill higher level positions such as District and Region Managers, it is imperative that you have a pool of Assistant Store Managers ready to step up and step in, to the Store Management positions vacated by the promoted individual.

So…

What are you doing to develop your Assistant Store Managers?

Often, expectations of Assistant Store Managers are low; just somebody there to assist the Store Manager.

While this is a real luxury and may be of great benefit to the Store Manager in terms of giving him/her more time to spend on paperwork in the backroom, which in itself is undesirable, it certainly is not the best use of your human resources.

Your Assistant Store Managers represent the next layer of leaders for your organization.

The Assistant Store Manager is meant to be of assistance to the Store Manager, to be sure. But the larger goal is for the Assistant Store Manager to be developed as a leader who can operate on his own and contribute to the organization, not just to the Store Manager he is currently working for.

The first stage of development requires that Assistant Store Managers be developed to the point that they are fully competent to profitably operate one of your stores.

Yes, they are supposed to be ready, willing and able to replace your Store Managers.

You may have some, shall we say, ‘comfortable’ Store Managers who won’t like the idea of developing and then losing good Assistants but that is irrelevant.

The goals of the organization rule.

In any case, a Store Manager who doesn’t want a strong and competent Assistant Store Manager is doing himself and the company a disservice and it will show in the calibre of the Assistants he is turning out.

Anyway, if Assistants are not competent enough to replace a Store Manager after a reasonable length of time, then something is going wrong.

Actually, a few things could be going wrong, such as:

1) Someone made a bad hire or internal promotion and did not correct the situation

2) Your training program is not working as intended

3) Your Store Manager is not participating, fully, in the development of the Assistant Store Manager

“Winning companies win because they have good
leaders who nurture the development of other
leaders at all levels of the organization.”
~ Noel Tichy

If you are not able to visualize your people development strategy working well in your organization, get the help you need.

Join The Retail Management Workshop to learn how to make it happen…and how to operate in perfect balance.

Get a winning succession plan working for you – guaranteed.

Increase sales – guaranteed.

Reduce expenses and increase profits – guaranteed.

Register yourself and/or your teams for The Retail Management Workshop being held in two great locations:

The Retail Management Workshop
(Click the link ^ for details and/or registration.)

September 18-19-20
Crowne Plaza Kensington
London, UK

October 1-2-3
Sheraton Dubai Creek
Dubai, UAE

Squeeze Expenses or Increase Sales

When the economy doesn’t seem to be humming along the way it used to, or if other factors are keeping you from seeing growth in your retail business, often the knee jerk reaction by retailers is to cut expenses.

Cut head count.

Buy fewer supplies.

Stop all training.

Cut, cut, cut!!

But, cutting usually doesn’t turn out all that well.

We’re asking a really important question today:

Can you increase profits by just cutting expenses while paying no attention to increasing sales?

The answer is ‘possibly, but not by much and, even then, only temporarily’.

If you squeeze expenses instead of increasing sales, you will eventually have nothing left to squeeze.

What you would be doing is shrinking the business and you know where that eventually ends up.

But, if you work to find ways to increase sales as well as spending time and effort reviewing the best ways to reduce expenses and control costs during tough times, without hurting the revenue producing areas of the business, things can start looking up for you.

Anyone can cut, cut, cut.

Finance Departments are full of people who can help with that.

If the person doing the cutting is not living in the midst of the chaos created by the cuts…there may be no end to the cuts until the business is no longer viable.

Short term you would see improvement of the bottom line. But, if you look month after month, you will see that everything is shrinking…sales, transactions, average sale, units per transaction, conversion, and so on.

Why?

Because cost cutting measures usually interfere with the job of selling.

If you put fewer people on the floor, give them less training, pay them less money, take away benefits, use fewer labor hours for receiving shipments and getting product onto the floor, cut maintenance time, stop buying good and clear signage, and the list goes on…you will undoubtedly reduce revenues.

Once revenues are reduced, costs have effectively increased, making profit go down instead of up.

Balance is key in everything.

No organization should spend wildly or be too frugal.

That is why you need good people who know what they are doing.

Join The Retail Management Workshop to learn how to operate in perfect balance.

Increase sales – guaranteed.

Reduce expenses and increase profits – guaranteed.

Register yourself and/or your teams for The Retail Management Workshop being held in two great locations:

The Retail Management Workshop
(Click the link ^ for details and/or registration.)

September 18-19-20
Crowne Plaza Kensington
London, UK

October 1-2-3
Sheraton Dubai Creek
Dubai, UAE

  Improving Customer Culture

I just read yet another story about a CEO who was aghast when he found out that a customer had been treated badly in one of his stores. He simply could not believe this incident actually happened in one of his stores.

Everybody knows that ‘customer service’ is the most important thing in their company and their world.

How many times do we have to have these Customer Service Rah! Rah! meetings?

Yawn!

Time to get past all of this nonsense.

These stories are old, tired and still way too plentiful.

By now, everyone realizes that these stories are not one of a kinds; we don’t say “Oh my goodness, I bet the CEO was mortified” or “I bet heads are going to roll over this one”.

We all realize that the CEO involved didn’t become so upset that he made some grandiose gesture to the customer involved; everyone realizes that this is the norm now and we’re wondering why these stories even get to print. Sad but true.

OK, so let’s get one thing straight before going any further because this distinction must be made:

Customer Service is a phrase that should be reserved for the sign over the desk or counter, housing the individual that actually does some type of thing that services a customer – like process a refund; correct a mistake; update an email address; listen
to a complaint; take an account payment.

All of those things, and many more might be considered customer service…I guess.

We used to make a big deal out of teaching everyone that Customer Service is not a department – it was something much, much bigger than that.

But that clearly didn’t work. We’ve been trying to get blood from a stone.

So, let’s just admit defeat – Customer Service is, in fact, a department and, often, a poorly functioning one at that.

‘Customer Service’ just doesn’t describe what we need anymore. Maybe we should try calling it Customer Culture for a few years and see if that gets us anywhere.

Trying to figure out who, or what, Customers are …and what they represent to a company seems to be much tougher than it looks.

Let’s face it, Big John, we (you) have issues that aren’t going away any time soon.

DMSRetail has always maintained that a strong customer culture must exist within the company if customers are going to be treated the way they should be and, indeed, the way Big John thinks they’re being treated; the way he expects they should be treated.

Trying to operate a business where the customer is, in fact, the most important person to the organization, without a strong customer culture, is like trying to playing whack a mole without a whacker. Or, as they say, whistling in the wind.

At it’s very best, it’s hit and miss. There can be no consistency.

When working in an organisation with a strong customer culture, your people will almost always do it right. We qualify that statement with ‘almost’ because…as you know, there are Dumbo’s out there and, hard as you may try to eliminate them, you may just have one hiding somewhere in your organisation ready to spring into action and create havoc when you least expect it.

But, with a solid customer culture, this should be a very rare occurrence, indeed.

So, here’s the call to action.

Please, fix it Big John, or Mr./Ms. CEO; stop feigning surprise by letting your jaw drop when you see/hear something you just can’t believe happened in your organization.

Believe it. It happened.

And, it’s most definitely going to happen again!

Your job is to fix it. And don’t think you can just have a couple of meetings and straighten some people out, or delegate it and wash your hands of it.

You can’t, Big John…it’s way too important and your people are counting on you.

They are following your lead.

You have to own this.

It is a really big – CEO sized – job to instil a strong, well defined customer culture and keep it alive and running full speed.

The fantastic news is…..once you get it right and, of course, have all of the checks and balances in place to maintain it….you’ll be much more successful than you are now.

​​​​​​​And, think of the pride of accomplishment.

I must say, I have seen it done particularly well…executed flawlessly, in fact…by a much admired and well loved President and CEO I’ll call Big Max!

There are many ways to approach this, Big John and we want to help every step of the way.

Take 47 Seconds,Right Now,to Check This Out

If you are operating and growing a retail chain, we are certain that we have the solution to most, if not all, of your challenges.
We’re not psychic…just very experienced!

Performance and Retail Gurus

Just because someone claims they are a Retail Guru or Consultant, doesn’t mean they really are or that they know what they’re talking about.

Take this statement, for example…

If you can’t measure, you can’t manage. True.

That phrase is still very relevant and probably always will be.

Without measuring, how would you ever know what to be busy about, as Mr. Thoreau says?

Or, where to focus your efforts?

There are people running around – calling themselves business gurus, consultants, etc. as mentioned above – who are claiming that the above statement is incorrect.

They say that measuring is causing staff to cut corners; to hurry customers through the line or off the phone just to meet some numerical goal.

They say that it shows that employees are not trusted.

Blah, blah, blah.

That’s ridiculous.

We think they’re just trying to get attention.

As we said, the statement ‘If you can’t measure, you can’t manage’ is still true, regardless of how good or bad you are at running your company and setting your goals and targets; regardless of whether you treat your employees respectfully and show that you trust them or not and regardless if you want to build and maintain a loyal customer base, or not.

Bad management is simply bad management whether you measure or not.

Bad managers are neither helped nor hindered by measuring because bad practices and poor management will always find a way to race to the bottom, no matter what.

But good management is enhanced, and business is improved, by using key performance indicators to help guide decision making and much more.

For the record, yes…you should be measuring anything that you consider to be important in order to manage your business well.

Obviously, expecting staff to rush customers through a line or off the phone is not something that would happen in a well managed company.

Neither should you want them to chat with Mrs. Jones for a half an hour about the surgery her pet has just undergone.

Having high standards and performance expectations is not the same as harassing and beating up your people to make them go faster or being so lax that nothing gets done.

With the proper training and understanding, employees will learn how to conduct themselves without rushing or lagging behind. They will perform as expected.

We must not be influenced by people who use those simplistic examples; people who ignore the bigger picture and hone in on details presented out of context.

It is always better to measure performance.

No question.

But, do it properly…for the true benefit of the business.

Now, if you’re like most business people, you are currently planning something – maybe a brand new week, month, year or 5 Years.

And, you’re planning because you know that success does not come by accident and hope is not a strategy.

We know where you can get the help you need with the serious planning, if you want to be successful.

Our Performance Paks and Webinars are built to deliver.
Check Performance Paks out here.


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