3 Secrets to Better Retail Sales Performance

Your retail sales associates’ skills matter. How sales associates embody your brand can make or break your customers’ experience and impact your retail sales performance. As consumers ourselves, any of us can attest to this. I’m sure you’ve had a variety of experiences while shopping, whether in-store or online, ranging from great to not-so-great. This variation in service levels and experiences occurs across all retail formats, from fast food restaurants to big box stores. The great experiences make us loyal. On the flip side, the bad ones push us to take steps to avoid having to repeat them.

What are the drivers of great experiences and the Holy Grail of customer loyalty? It all comes down to three secrets that are fundamental to running an outperforming retail team:

1) A clear team vision
2) A strong sales operational process
3) A great leader

If you’re done chasing the wrong retail strategies, we can step in and create one that accelerates your sales.

Retail Sales Skills Checklist: Embrace the Team Vision

A clear vision is critical to running an outperforming team and should be on your list of required retail sales skills and training your associates should master. It is up to the leadership team to ensure that every single employee not only understands what the organization’s vision is, but also why they are going after that vision.  If net profit is the only ‘why’ you can explain to your employees, they are not likely to give 100%. The goal should be to define and communicate a vision that impacts people’s personal lives and/or society in a positive way. The organization should capture the employees’ hearts, and each sales associate should wake up every morning feeling positive about the impact they are making.

This feeling comes from understanding the vision, the ‘why’ they come to work every day, and the impact their work has on others’ lives. It also comes from understanding a vision that they believe in and are proud to pursue. At its core, this vision should capture both what drives everything you do as an organization and how you do it. This vision is the reason the organization was started in the first place, and why it has grown into its current state. This vision and ‘why’ should be the reason the employee joins the organization to begin with and a big factor that leads them to stay.

The Next Step to Increase Sales in Retail? Establish Sales Operational Processes.

Once you have a solid vision in place that the employees believe in, it’s time to turn your attention to establishing a strong sales operational process.  It should include both a clear map of how to execute the work and the tools necessary to do it.

One way of ensuring the right tools are in place to support operations is to have a consistent dialogue with the people on your front lines – your sales associates in the stores doing the work. Schedule sessions with your associates regularly. Use the time to have a two-way dialogue about what is working, what isn’t, and what you need to do to continue to grow the business. In these sessions, the leadership team should be providing guidance on the business strategy, and the field team should be providing feedback and insight into what they need to make the strategy become reality. It is important leadership listens to the field team is and that the field team feels heard and supported.

Strong Leadership = Strong Retail Sales Performance

Support is critical to getting the best performance out of your field team. This support comes by having strong leaders in place. A strong leader is one that understands the company vision and the ‘why’ and can clearly articulate both to their team. They can take the vision and translate it into meaningful guidance that resonates. A good leader inspires, coaches, develops, rolls up their sleeves, and digs in with their team. When the team is successful, they are right there to celebrate the wins. When the team is not meeting their goals, they are able to identify the root causes and put corrections in place to get things back on the right path. A strong leader understands the actions that drive the key metrics and knows which levers to adjust. They use data to drive performance and provide direct feedback to each of their team members. Most importantly, a strong leader takes the time to get to know their team members on a personal level. They ask employees about what is going on in their lives and take a genuine interest in their professional and personal success. They are there to help carry the load when employees can’t quite carry it themselves, and they are always there to empower them.

You’ll notice that each of the three secrets to success requires all levels of the organization to be engaged in and executing on the vision. You need:

  • The executive leadership team to provide and embody the vision
  • The field and back-office teams to partner on developing best-in-class operations
  • Strong leaders to unite the organization around the vision and execute

As I think about my own career and the multiple teams I have been a part of, there are one or two that stick out as great! MarketSource is one of them. Our entire team is clear on our vision, which is to create as many jobs as possible and provide a career path that helps people grow their careers with us. We have consistent processes in place that allow us to get direct feedback from our field teams, and most importantly, we listen to them. Our leaders are probably the most caring people that I have worked with, which has led me to stay with MarketSource longer than with any other organization I’ve worked for.  I am living proof that when an organization shares a clear vision, relies on strong operational processes, and stands up great leaders, it can not only drive strong retail sales performance, but it makes people want to stay and give it their all.

Ready to talk?

If you’re done chasing the wrong retail strategies, we can step in and create one that accelerates your sales.

Author: Carlo Hanna

Author: Carlo Hanna

Carlo is a Retail Practice Lead and Solutions Architect and previously led the MarketSource Reporting and Analytics team. Prior to joining MarketSource, Carlo held several executive leadership positions within corporate retail organizations in charge of multiple teams, including Director, Inventory Management for Chico’s FAS Inc. and Global Director, Inventory Planning for American Eagle Outfitters. He also provided consulting services for Aptos Retail Solutions.

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