Most salespeople have a good idea of what they need to do. The challenge is getting them to do it consistently.

We are reminded of the encounter between a grizzled farmer in Nebraska and the young Ag School graduate who visited him at his farm. The youngster jumped out of his shiny new car and walked over to the farmer who was standing by his rusting tractor in the hot Nebraska sun. He introduced himself and told the farmer “I’m here to tell you how to farm better.” The farmer spat on the ground near the youngster’s feet and replied “Heck. I already don’t farm half as good as I know how.”

Salespeople generally know they should show their finest products first. They should articulate the product’s value statements and underline their differentiators. When a shopper has selected an item, they should offer at least one companion product that makes sense based on the initial selection. They already don’t sell half as good as they know how!

Sales results reflect the fact that salespeople fail to comply with proven processes that drive sales, revenue, growth and profits. A recent study we completed for a large clothing chain showed that 64% of the invoices had a single line item. This reflects a sales process failure of monumental proportions. Salespeople would be much more productive if they complied.

Dance-The Game of Sales constantly reminds the salesperson of the next step in the process she is to take. It provides the resources – coaching, pictures, product selection guidance, and it uses big data analytics to drive recommendations for bonus sales.

Dance: The Game of Sales promotes compliance.

Sell More Effectively

Sell Smarter
Sell More
Sell More
We all want our retail salespeople to sell more.
There is little agreement, however, on how to make that happen in the real world.

In a retail context no single factor is more important than the effectiveness of the salesperson. These individuals are the interfaces, the touch points between the enterprise and the customer. If they are effective sales will grow, margins will expand and customers will be pleased. If they are not, sales will, at best, track the economy overall, margins will stagnate, and the enterprise will flounder.

But, to succeed, salespeople need tools to serve the customer. They need the resources to identify the products that will appeal to a specific shopper. They need to understand the shopper’s spend profile, her interests, and at least as much information about the store’s products, availabilities, and offers as the shopper has. They need visibility on competitors’ offers as well.

To understand how to help salespeople be more effectively, we need to focus on what, exactly, the salesperson does to bring revenue and margins into the enterprise. Surprisingly, there are just a few ways. First, she makes sure the shopper is exposed to the finest – and most profitable – products the store has to offer. This is remarkably difficult to do on a consistent basis. Salespeople will always find it easier to just answer the shopper’s questions, and direct her to the location of the item she asks for. Salespeople need to be constantly reminded and motivated to exert the extra effort to gently steer the shopper to the finest wares. In the long run, the customer will be much more satisfied.

The second way the salesperson builds revenue and margins is by consistently offering bonus items based on the shopper’s initial selections. When a shopper buys a pair of shoes, she should be offered a new handbag. When she buys a can of paint, she should be offered brushes, tools, drop cloths, or sprayers, as appropriate.

The third way salespeople build loyalty, revenue and margins operates more in the long run. An effective salesperson will always make sure the shopper is invited to join the store’s loyalty program. It is most useful if the saalesperson has some an incentive to offer, such as a special award of points for signing up. The salesperson should know the benefits of being in the loyalty program and be able to utilize them to get non-members to sign up.

There is nothing magic or even difficult about these activities. In fact, most managers and even most salespeople probably already know and understand them. The challenge is getting salespeople do perform them consistently. The tendencies towards the easiest route–just answering questions–are tenacioius and getting salespeople to exert the effort, acquire the habits and master the skills of performing them consistently is remarkably difficult.

Stronger Management

Retail Sales Managers today spend too much of their time reading reports and fighting fires. They are urged to become “coaches” but they are almost never given the tools, training or data to be effective. Their limited view of what is actually going on makes it almost impossible to coach, train, intervene or manage effectively.

Managers need hard data telling them in useful terms the activity levels, conversion ratios, and completions of their sales force. They need to be able to tie sales activities (greeting and helping shoppers, recommending products, upselling) with sales results. They need to be notified when a high-value shopper comes into the store. They need to know who is actively greeting and serving customers and who is just putting in time.

Sales-Game’s Management module collects each step of the sales process. It records each time a salesperson greets a shopper, each time she shows a shopper a recommended product. Critically, it records each time a salesperson offers—or fails to offer—an additional product once an initial selection has been made.

The Management Module products reports showing team activity levels in real time by the hour. It can be correlated with footfall counters, so managers can see what percentage of the shoppers were attended, and adjust staffing levels accordingly. It shows each individual’s performance compared with that of their peers. This alone produces a major shift in the effectiveness of the manager’s coaching.

The Management module produces its reports formatted for today’s mobile devices. This enables the sales manager to follow the action on the go, not tied up behind a desk.

Click here to see examples of Manager’s activity reports.


The first duty of the retail salesperson is to create a memorable experience for the shopper. This goes far beyond “the customer is always right.” It means feeling and expressing delight, joy and happiness – and meaning it. It means actively listening to what the shopper is saying, and what she is communicating beyond, and responding appropriately. It also means making sure the shopper gets the very best solution possible to meet her wants and needs.

The second duty of the retail salesperson is much more subtle. In the context of a compelling customer experience, the salesperson must also maximize revenues and profits. This goes far beyond just letting the customer buy whatever she has come in for. She could go online for that, probably cheaper.

The effective salesperson uses her knowledge, skills and resources to make sure the shopper sees and understands the finest products you have that will fit her needs. Fine products deliver satisfactions that cheap products do not. The effective salesperson consistently, persuasively makes the case for the very best of products, not just the products that are on sale at the time.

Dance: The Game of Sales always coaches the highest-quality solution for the salesperson to offer in response to shoppers’ interests. It makes sure the shopper is offered a choice of solutions, one of which is the highest-quality merchandise the shopper will be interested in.

Multi-Item Sales

The profit loss when a shopper checks out with a sngle item cannot be overstated. In one store we studies, 66%$ of transactions had a single item, and while they generated a small loss on a net margin basis. 21% of the transactions had two items and generated 35% of the store’s profits. Tickets with three or more items were just 13% of the transactions but they generated 35% of the company’s profits. Clearly salespeople must be coached, trained and managed to drive multi-item transactions to the extent possible.


The most neglected value driver in a retail store is the sales manager effectively coaching the sales staff. Salespeople are often entry-level individuals with little experience and they need to be told, taught and coached how to behave, how to carry themselves and how to sell.

This is a task for which most sales managers are poorly equipped. It’s not widely taught, it’s difficult to do and it requires resources that are often not available.

There are three areas where salespeople need to be held to standards, accountable for achieving them, and coached when they fall short. These areas are behavior, performance, and results. Unfortunately, in many retail stores the standards either do not exist or they are ignored in the day to day rush of serving the customers.

The first step of the coaching process, therefore, is making sure that standards exist, are documented, and top-of-mind for all three areas. In addition to standards, which are the same for all of the team members, there should also be goals. Goals are typically individualized, with different goals for different salespeople, depending on such factors as their job description, longevity, and perhaps some recognition of differences in ability. Standards should be easily achievable by most performers; goals should have some element of aspiration, to inspire greater levels of achievement.

Standards for behavior should be documented in a code of conduct. This code can cover appearance issues such as dress code and grooming standards. Successful customer-facing companies have strict codes of conduct that are regularly reviewed, maintained and coached. In addition, specific behavioral standards should be documented. Expectations in terms of courtesy, patience, integrity, language, store maintenance issues (straighten messy shelves, pick up trash, sweep or mop up floors when required), care of company property and premises, removing company property from the premises, employee discounts if any, punctuality, eating on the job, break management, overtime, texting friends while working, personal phone calls, drug use, intoxication, sunburn, obesity, adherence to policies and procedures, dealing with difficult or unruly customers, how to behave if there is a fire, flood, robbery or other illegal activity, behavior upon observed incidence or suspicion of shoplifting, all are topics that have been covered in various retail codes of contact. Some companies give employees wide latitude in satisfying an unhappy customer. Marriott, for example, allows any employee to commit to an expenditure of up to $2,000 in such a circumstance. Coaching regarding the code of conduct should take place at a minimum during on-boarding of new hires. Many companies require a new hire to sign a document attesting that they have read and understand the code. The code should be reviewed annually with each employee, either individually or in a group setting. If any incidents occur touching on code of conduct issues, conduct a private meeting with the involved individual as soon as possible to review the incident and coach the desired outcome. RSI provides a simple logging tool for recording the incident, to establish a record in case of future transgressions. Note: it is almost never advisable to reprimand an individual based on an incident you have not personally witnessed. There will almost certainy be factors of which you are unare that make the story somewhat different than you have been told.

Goals for behavior are set for each individual at the beginning of their employment and revised periodically.

Some goals are personal. The company should care about and demonstrate concern for the employee’s self-improvement. So goals in terms of training, education or other self-improvement can be set, recorded, and monitored. If a training course has been agreed to, completion criteria including attendance should be documented, tracked oached against leadership indicators. Performance Goals should be set jointly between the sales manager and the employee. They should be reviewed as often as possible and coached throughout the day. RSI tracks activity completion in real time, and provides actual and comparative data in terms of each hour’s and each day’s accomplishments. These data create a natural coaching environment whereby the sales manager can establish a routine of reviewing each person’s percent of completion – and comparative standing – at a given time of the day, day of the week, or the beginning or the end of each person’s shift

In addition to the activity quotas, there are additional numeric goals that can be set, measured and coached. Obviously, since RSIincludes a checkout module, it can track and compare sales dollars and margin dollars and percentages. In addition, it can track, show and compare dollars and margins by hours worked, or by number of customers assisted. very important measurement is average number of products per ticket.

Healthy Competition

RSI promotes cooperation, teamwork, collaboration and healthy competition. By infusing their work with the proven engagement factors of a game—clear rules, constant feedback, recognition of achievements, attainable milestones—it builds engagement.

By awarding points for the activities that lead to sales, Dance: The Game of Sales makes triumph attainable by all the team members. History has shown that if the activities are designed correctly and executed consistently, sales will rise.

The central Dance screen shows the avatar of each team member racing to the end point. The end point can be the top of a mountain, the filling of a bucket, a race-car finish line, or a yacht race, for example.

The salesperson picks her game every day. As she views the 5-second video, she sees clearly how she stands in competition with her peers. This is healthy competition because everyone can win points, anyone can redouble their efforts and affect their standing, and the standings will likely change throughout the day.

Other artifacts of the game promote camaraderie. Salespeople are notified of each other’s successes and invited—with a single tap—to congratulate them. In return, achievers see peer and manager recognition for their achievements, which has proven to be a strong motivator.

Health competition—anyone can win, everyone gets points and rewards, peer and manager recognition—will heighten salespeople’s engagement and excitement about their work, their customers and their achievements.

Can you calculate the Value of Your Sales Force?

Calculate how much your sales force actually contributes to your bottom line.

Start with a thorough examination of your sales history data.

Quantify the effectiveness of your retail sales force and its exact contribution.

Assess the sales team levels of egagement, confidence and enthusiasm.

Reveal for the first time its contribution to your revenues and profits

Point the way to successful sales improvement programs.

Calculate the actual price and margin performance of every product and every product category

Know the contribution of every revenue-producing business unit, store, department, region, salesperson and sales team.

Survey your salespeople and sales managers to reveal their confidence, engagement and capabilities.

By correlating the survey data with the sales history data, the Sales Effectiveness Report is the essential basis for a strong successful, ongoing improvement program. Request your free example today.