Retail is a challenging industry with high levels of competition across the market, forcing companies to constantly monitor whether they are meeting their customers’ needs. Both attracting new clientele and solidifying loyalty with current customers should be the chief priorities for any retailer, regardless of the sector in which it operates.
One of the most reliable ways of increasing the flow of customers is retaining effective sales staff. However, many retailers struggle to keep a motivated sales team and in turn lose customers to the competition in omnichannel commerce. The following guide will provide companies with six key tips on how to increase customers in retail by properly managing sales teams.
1. Lead by Example
Staff will follow the example set by management. If managers are lazy or unmotivated, staff will follow suit and there will be limited accountability within the workplace. Alternatively, if managers are hands-on and focused on increasing sales, staff will be more effective and mirror the behavior of managers.
The idea of leading by example also applies to how managers use their own time. It is important to display a clear focus on the task at hand. If managers are focused on menial tasks or are overloaded with work, then staff will be less effective due to neglect from management.
2. Employ Motivation Strategies – Short-Term Goals
Motivation is key to any business, not just the retail industry. Employees will always work better when they have a complete understanding of what they are supposed to be doing and how they should accomplish their tasks. This is why short-term goal setting is so important.
- Provide staff with specific objectives that can be completed in a reasonable amount of time.
- When teams accomplish these tasks, they get the satisfaction of completing a goal, which reinforces motivation.
- Setting goals also increases functionality, as each member of staff knows exactly what they are supposed to be focused on.
- By aggregating short-term goals, employers can gain data on company growth and progress.
3. Let Staff Focus on the Job at Hand
Sales staff should be focused on selling, not other tasks. This will increase sales and the team’s ability to focus on the customer. Have non-sales employees manage the stock room and consider implementing retail innovation like Parcel Pending’s smart locker service for in-store online pickups. The key here is to have sales staff concentrated solely on the shoppers that are in the store at a given moment.
While online sales represent a crucial percentage of overall retail sales, in-store sales teams will have a more positive effect on revenue if they can center their attention on foot traffic within the store. If loyal customers enjoy their in-store experience, they are more likely to shop online with said company.
4. Have an Open-Door Policy
Encourage a communicative environment with sales teams. If people are overworked, then they will be less effective on the job and sales will suffer. Staff shouldn’t be afraid to speak with management, so employ an open-door policy. Productivity will surely increase if staff feel comfortable and are happy in their work.
One way of accomplishing this is to hold regular staff meetings, potentially once every quarter, to discuss any issues or concerns from sales staff. This will create an open and communicative environment between management and the sales team, and more importantly, foster trust.
5. Give Staff Responsibility
No one likes a micromanager, so don’t be one. This means that the sales staff must retain both autonomy and responsibility. If sales teams generate their own ideas for effective sales strategies, employers are simultaneously expanding the company’s skill set and providing employees with the agency.
- This encourages professional development, as employees will learn new skills that they can apply to their day-to-day work.
- It will also increase accountability within the working environment, as employees will effectively “own” their actions daily.
- Additionally, employers can take this newly-free time to focus efforts toward the company as a whole.
6. Focus on the Customer
Lastly, encourage sales associates to be customer-centric by remaining focused on fulfilling customers’ needs. For sales staff, this means being attentive to any questions or concerns from loyal customers and thinking specifically about long-term retention of that customer during every interaction.
This can be accomplished by cultivating a trusting environment between the sales staff and the customer base. It is not always a good idea to focus on the immediate sale of goods. Pushing too hard on the sale of an item will lead to a breakdown of trust, so employing a long-term vision will be useful in promoting customer retention and making a customer’s shopping experience seamless.
If employers focus on these six effective strategies to improve staff efficiency within retail, they will likely see an increase in foot traffic within their retail business. It is important to recognize that many of these tips require time to take hold, so be patient and focus on creating a positive work environment from top-to-bottom with the upcoming 2020 retail trends.
- Harvard Business Review. How to Boost Your Team’s Productivity. https://hbr.org/2016/01/how-to-boost-your-teams-productivity
- Retail Customer Experience. 4 steps for retailers striving to be customer-centric. https://www.retailcustomerexperience.com/blogs/4-steps-for-retailers-striving-to-be-customer-centric/
- Salesforce Search. 10 Tips to Improve Sales Team Performance. https://www.salesforcesearch.com/blog/10-tips-improve-sales-team-performance/
- Training Industry. 5 Simple Ways to Motivate Your Retail Staff. https://trainingindustry.com/blog/performance-management/5-simple-ways-to-motivate-your-retail-staff/