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.