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Importance of Communications in Retail

It is widely recognized that good communication skills are important in any business; in any endeavour, really.

But, it is particularly important for a retail manager to be an effective communicator because they have to communicate with people at all different levels of the organization on a regular basis and many of those people have a direct impact on the customer and on store employees.

Often, there won’t be an opportunity for a second chance at getting it right, just due to the nature of retail. When employees are in various different locations, more complications are introduced.

Communication breakdowns – particularly retail H.O. to field communication – can have immediate, negative implications for the business.

In other industries there are more opportunities for colleagues to meet and to take more time to ask questions, mull things over and clarify misunderstandings before any impact at the customer level.

In retail, things are not so straight forward and miscommunication can quickly create chaos.

Often instructions, directions and planned actions take place on the fly, making it difficult to correct or clarify after the fact.

Retail managers move around a lot!

Think about why the person handling a life or death emergency gives directives like this…
“Go and do X (whatever it is that needs to be done) and come right back to me.”

Retail managers need to hone their skills in many areas if their goal is excellence in execution at store level and, of course, it should be. Communication is at, or near the top of the list of skills to be fully developed for success.

When communicating with employees, in particular, there must be an exchange of information, not just a download. People need to be given the opportunity to ask questions for clarification and to share their own ideas, if warranted.

Yet another reason retail managers need to be highly effective communicators is to be able to get the very best out of their people.

Subordinates who actively participate in the exchange of information – meaning they are not just told to do this or do that – are far more likely to achieve objectives; far more likely to be motivated to bring energy to their work.

That means the retail manager has to know how to ensure an exchange of information occurs and that involves sensing, or picking up, the communication style of those involved.

This is particularly important when discussing standards and expectations.

One of the biggest reasons why employees often do not meet performance standards and expectations is simply because they were not made clear enough to them.

Here’s an example where a managers’ communication skills may be called into question: an employee takes a directive – let’s say a directive to perform a certain task – and then proceeds with the task with nothing else in mind.

As far as they’re concerned the task they have been given by their superior is the most important thing they have to do.

Now, if the managers expectations were clear all along, that employee would understand that the task must be done ONLY if there were no customers to look after.

But let’s say customers come into the store while the employee is totally engrossed in his task and the customers are ignored – which, in reality, happens all the time.

In this example, the manager did not make expectations clear – the task to be performed was clear but this employee did not understand that the task was to be done only after customers were taken care of.

The employee did not have the ‘customer first’ understanding which should have been instilled early on in his or her employment.

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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!

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insane Retailing

It has been said by many authors that an appropriate definition of insanity be ‘repeating the same actions time and time again, expecting different results’.

This definition seems simplistic and even ludicrous to educated psychologists, but for the rest of the population it suits just fine.

Retailing has been around since the beginning of time.

One retailer buying product from a supplier in hopes he will turn a profit by selling the product to an end consumer.

The processes and methods have, of course, been refined over the course of time and the rudimentary dealings that happened thousands of years ago have been replaced with technologically advanced retail infrastructures and corporate imperatives.

Consider the vast number of companies who achieve sales via retailing. The number is large and growing annually.

These companies, perhaps even yours, operate with a knowledge that they’re doing all they can to achieve success. They are doing the same things as they have been doing in years past.

Sales were decent then, they are only getting better. Right?

Think about this next statement;

IF YOU DO
WHAT YOU HAVE ALWAYS DONE;
YOU’LL GET
WHAT YOU HAVE ALWAYS GOT.

Now, this sounds fantastic to people who have always done exactly the right things, have always been wildly successful at it and operate their business in a vacuum.

For the rest of us, static business environments do not exist. Things always change; in fact, the only thing that is constant in any business is change.

Market variability is what keeps the economy moving forward, regardless of the particular point within the economic cycle we currently happen to be in.

The point to all of this is that certain attributes, skill sets, attitudes and capabilities are necessary within your company in order to move forward.

The very best way to ensure that your team continues to be a leader in your industry is to consistently and optimally train and re-train to stay ahead of industry trends.

Specific training to achieve specific goals is vital to the success of an organisation.

It makes little sense to invest heavily in more of the same, when all that it will produce for you is more of the same.

Investing in cutting edge retail management training will bring a wealth of valuable, original and innovative capabilities to your team.

Consider the opening statement of this article; the definition of insanity.

Can you identify any practices that your company undertakes on a regular basis that achieve minimal results, time and time again?

Does executive mandate dictate that these practices produce higher and higher revenues each quarter, yet they provide no viable solutions to achieve this directive?

Just as one cannot obtain blood from a stone, one cannot ask a team to produce something novel and profitable from an old method. New tools are needed. Innovative methods need to be introduced, as well as the applicable support given to see implementation through to completion.

Imagine how much knowledge is out there waiting to be harnessed by your company and utilised to the very best of your ability? How valuable could this new knowledge make your organisation? What would the ROI look like on that?

Distance your company from ‘Retail Insanity’; invest in appropriate training that will enable your teams to thrive in any economy.

During tough economic times, in particular, it would behove you to ask this question of your head office personnel:

What would cost more?

A) Providing top quality, leading edge training for our company’s most valuable and profitable asset – its people… or

B) Not training our #1 asset properly and watching our organisation slowly become a casualty of this economy?

Doing the same things, while expecting different results will only give you more of the same.

Guaranteed.

Be bold; try something new and see how incredible the new results can be.

The answers you seek are here for the taking.

DMSRetail Consultants will be in
London, UK in June 2017.

Don’t miss it.

Hotel Accommodation Included!!
(Special for the London session)

REGISTER HERE

We don’t just give you information and run…we provide email support, to all attendees, for one month following the workshop.

That’s like free consulting!

London, UK
The Retail Sales & Operations Management Workshop
June 5-6-7, 2017

Hotel accommodation included for this session!!

Click here for Summary Program Outline & Agenda

A Certificate is awarded
at the conclusion
of the workshop.

The Retail Sales & Operations Management Workshop

is coming up really fast so act today…

Plan to join us in London, UK on
June 5-6-7, 2017

REGISTER HERE

Special: Hotel accommodation included in this session!!

If you have questions, or need assistance with your registration, contact us today: Josephinehill@dmsretail.com

We have a 99.8% favourable review rate
and we’re very proud of that.

All of our workshops, webinars, Success Guides, Development Courses, Distance Education Programs, etc. have been well received and praised by 99.8% of our customers.

Our workshops and other products are all developed by retail executive who, in addition to formal education, have got many years of successful business experience in retail management and other related business pursuits as we mentioned above.

When you attend one of our workshops or webinars you’ll get the benefit of our knowledge and experience in the form of detailed and actionable ideas and plans to help you drive your retail business with purpose and effectiveness.

The sky truly is the limit when you decide to act on the information we provide you with; when you decide to put all of your newly acquired knowledge and how-to’s into play in your organisation.

And, we provide follow up email support for a month following our workshops.

Sheraton Park Lane, London, UK
The Retail Sales & Operations Management Workshop
June 5-6-7, 2017
Hotel accommodation included!!
Act today!

Register Here.

Retail Management Consulting & Training Company
Showing retailers the blueprint for successful retail operations since 1991.

The Creative Retailer

A retailer was dismayed when a competitor selling the same type of product opened next-door to him, displaying a large sign proclaiming

“Best Deals.”

Not long after that, he was horrified to find yet another competitor move in next door, on the other side of his store. It’s large sign was even more disturbing

“Lowest Prices.”

After his initial panic, and concern that he would be driven out of business, he looked for a way to turn the situation to his marketing advantage. Finally, an idea came to him. Next day, he proudly unveiled a new and huge sign over his front door. It read,

“Main Entrance!”

Cheers,

DMSRetail

PS. Don’t miss the Retail Math & Analytics Workshop. Details are Here.

Why Every Manager Should Understand Design and Visual Merchandising

As managers, whether on a store level, a regional level, or a company-wide level, a large part of your performance is evaluated on the basis of sales numbers.  You are expected to make decisions that in some way, shape, or form are going to reduce costs and maximize sales.

As such, you’re likely keenly aware of the need for a highly experienced, highly trained, highly efficient, and highly motivated sales staff.

People who are creating a welcoming environment for the customer; guiding the customer to the products and services that you want them to see; assisting the customer in a gracious, exciting, and pleasant shopping experience; educating the customer about the features and benefits of your products and services; making a connection with the customer and getting them excited about your product offering in a way that creates loyalty, and above all, generates sales. 

Let’s say that your sales are not up to par – whether it be in one particular area, or store-wide.  You gather your sales staff for a meeting.

Your average sales person at this meeting works 40 hours per week, so they’re on the floor roughly 50% of the total hours that your store is open each week.

Given the size of your store, the number of staff you have on the floor at any given time, and the number of customers you have entering the store, each sales person talks to an average of 1 out of every 3 customers if they’re lucky.

You whip your staff into shape, give them a few new tips and tools to augment their sales pitches, and off they go.  And sales go up.  A little bit.  For a while.  Not high enough; not long enough.

Why, you’re wondering?  What did you miss?  You missed the one salesperson that is in the store every hour of every day — the one salesperson that greets and interacts with every single customer that walks through the door and engages them on both an intellectual and emotional level — the store itself.

Your store’s design elements – the space planning, fixtures and casework, signage and graphics, visual merchandising, lighting – should be your #1 salesperson all by itself.

If a customer has 10 questions over the course of their shopping experience in your store, the store itself should be answering at least 7 of them, leaving the store staff to handle the higher level sales questions that simply close the deal.

Your store should be your #1 Brand Ambassador, providing an image and feeling of your brand that connects with your customer on a gut level and makes them want to buy something – anything – just to take that feeling home with them.

As a manager, you obsess over what your sales staff are telling customers.  What messages are they sending?  What language are they using?  Where are they guiding customers?  How are they representing your brand and your product offering?

Have you asked the same questions about your store?

How can your sales staff engage your customers and get them excited about your brand and your product offering if the most powerful salesperson in the store is standing behind them not supporting what they’re saying?  Or worse, contradicting it? 

You may not know exactly what the solution to your store design and visual merchandising needs is.  You may need some help with that.  But identifying the problem is 80% of the battle.  Coming up with solutions is less important than knowing what questions to ask in the first place.

Join us at the “Retail Design & Visual Merchandising Workshop” in San Diego, February 16-17, 2017. Click Here for Details.

Retail Design & Visual Merchandising Workshop

All the Success!
DMSRetail
www.dmsretail.com

2017 Business Planning Session

“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”  ~ Yogi Berra

Our  2017 Business Planner Webinar is scheduled for  Wednesday, December 28, 2016.

We’re offering two sessions to make it as convenient as possible for our customers and subscribers around the world.

Webinar duration: one hour –  No scheduling conflicts…ever…because we send you the recording. So, even if your schedule changes, you’ll still get the information.

Here are the topics covered by our retail business experts:

The P&L…or Operating Statement – everything starts and ends with the P&L.  It’s the guiding document for everything you do. Learn how to plan for each of the line items.

Forecasting – Traditional Method – Business Intelligence Method

Setting Targets – Based on Forecasting.  Don’t go another week, month, year without having individual targets in place. Learn how easy it is for all types of retail.  Motivation is key for meeting targets and the first step is understanding what you have to do. Motivate your people with supplying individual targets! They’ll perform so much better than you ever thought possible.

Compensation Plans – to Support the Targets –  Money isn’t everything, of course. But, it sure may mean a lot to someone who isn’t making 6 figures!  Get this part of your business right and you’ll be flying in 2017. No more time to tinker around with ineffective compensation plans.  Get it right…right now…we’ll show you how!

“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.” ~ Peter F. Drucker

The 2017 Business Planning Webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, December 28, 2016.  Sign up now…

2017 Business Planning Session 1 – One Hour Wednesday, December 28, 2016 – 11:00 a.m. EST  (4 p.m. London)  Register here.

2017 Business Planning Session 2 – One Hour Wednesday, December 28, 2016 – 7:00 p.m. EST (12 Midnight London; 11 a.m. next day Melbourne) Register here.

Please note: Retail Business Academy Members do not need to sign up as all webinars are included with your membership. The webinar will be on the membership site within 24 hours after the first session. (You can find details about the Retail Business Academy HERE.)


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