Christmas has ended, with all the fun and excitement it brings. I sometimes have to pinch myself to accept the reality that the season has gone by so quickly. For retailers, it’s always been a peak period for sales; and, certainly, Christmas just gone by was no exception. The season is over, but retail competition remains unabated. As intense as ever, it stares us in the face all-year-round. How do you remain visible among the competition and still maximise your sales? Now is the period to explore the potentials of your people to your advantage. Get your people to sit up and patch-up any holes that will help you stay afloat in the stormy waters of competition.
Here are 7 ways by which you can use your people to manage sales and remain competitive in the seemingly quiet period.
- Review your Staff Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s)
It is necessary to develop performance indicators for all staff to assess how well they are meeting set targets for a period. What was your target for the just-ended peak period? Review your staff KPI’s against set targets to identify star performers and individuals whose performances ought to be improved. Of course, star performers should be rewarded and given a boost to do even better in the future. This activity also reminds staff of accountability for their time and effort you pay for.
- Set a Benchmark for future expectations
The absence of sales expectations may build a laid-back attitude in some employees, who would still expect to be paid at the end of the month irrespective of whether they have contributed to sales or not. Draw a performance benchmark from the review of targets to serve as a blueprint for future performance. This benchmark will push even the dullest of your employees to pull their weight in terms of selling. With each employee doing their bit to sell more, overall sales and your bottom line will eventually see massive improvement. This is the most conducive time to refocus and re-energise staff toward the expected peak performance.
- Encourage Staff Feedback and Coaching
Feedback and monitoring should form an integral aspect of your KPI system. How well employees are doing or how poorly they are performing should not be kept secret from them. Provide post-review feedback so employees are made aware of where they are now, future expectations and areas of commendation or otherwise. Honest and unbiased feedback requires keen monitoring of employee behaviour, attitude and work performance. Also, welcome honest but negative feedback from employees regarding work systems. You never know the good counsel you’re likely to unearth if you give a listening ear to all employees.
- Identify and Communicate Staff behaviour that negatively impacts performance
Lateness, rudeness, apathy, and dishonesty are a few of the undesirable behaviours retail employees often exhibit. Do not let such behaviour go uncommented and be accepted as a norm that can only be corrected by replacing culprits with new recruits. End the vicious cycle of ill-performing staff! It is better to trim the rough edges regarding behaviour of the people you have now, because there are no angels out there. Improved employee behaviour implies happy customers and improved sales.
- Ensure the management team is well-informed and well-armed to enforce decisions
Get the buy-in of the entire management regarding your people management policies, and especially the review exercise for key performance indicators. Also, ensure management is well-informed and understand what is expected of them. Employees desire to see a united front with consistency in decision-making and enforcement.
- Train and develop staff with potential
Age old principle of training cannot be omitted from this discussion. Your employees have worked through the busiest period of selling; serving customers and meeting their needs. Get them together and create a training program to allow them unwind. Let them share ideas with their best and worst experiences over the peak period and get them to build them on their knowledge for improved performance. You may also train on evolving trends in customer expectations and selling skills such as building rapport with customers, selling value and offering add ons. This could be a very strong refreshing factor that creates a whiff of readiness to fly.
- Reward deserving Employees
As you embrace the contributions of your people, they should be duly rewarded for their efforts. This is the time to reward employees who have gone the extra mile to keep your customers happy and have fetched more sales. Create a wall of fame that shows photos with descriptions of achievements for each top performing employee. You may even throw a simple “employee/s of the year” party to celebrate your star performers.
When good employees are recognized, it sends out the message to the entire team that every member is worthwhile. The employees you celebrate today will be there tomorrow to keep the business afloat in stormy times.
By Amma Adjeiwaa Antwi, M-DoZ Consulting (www.m-doz.com)
M-DoZ Consulting offers Organisational Development, Corporate Training and Financial Planning Services. We can be reached on +233247-247-200, +23320-1196-080, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Facebook: mdozghana