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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