For just about every retailer, Black Friday is the holiday selling kick-off that we've waited for all year!  Knowing that so many purchase decisions are made at store level, it's time to make sure everyone on the sales floor is at the top of their game. 

Here are 3 more things you can do right now to help you squeeze a few more dollars into the cash drawer each day:

Anxiously keeping your fingers crossed and hoping that this Christmas season will be “The One”?  The one that makes up for the disappointing seasons of the past … the one that really pushes you over the top and makes your whole year a success … the one that makes you happy you got into this business in the first place?

Well, market indications are fairly positive right now.  It looks like people are ready to spend.  That should be good news, right?  Yet only some retailers are able to really capitalize on strong markets like this.  Why is that?

If you want to kick-start your holiday sales, develop and launch a sales contest that will get your staff’s attention and produce solid results.  Sound easy?  It’s not!  To drive success on the sales floor, your contest must follow these important guidelines:

My favourite season of retail is upon us.  Christmas stirs up all my fondest memories of my start in retail; working alongside my Dad in his stores, back when I was too young and naïve to truly appreciate all that he did for his staff to make the season special…and highly productive.  Now when I’m out in stores and see the beginnings of this awesome holiday start to pop up, I can easily identify the many “gifts” he gave to his team to set them up for success, not just at Christmas, but the entire year through. 

Now if you’ve read my past blogs, you know I always admired my Dad’s retail mind and quite honestly, I think he was way ahead of his time.  He’s been gone over 20 years, so you’d think we would have caught up and caught on by now to some of the basics of leading a retail team.  Yet, when I visit stores today, I know we can all still benefit from some of my Dad’s wisdom and his human touch that always made Christmas the most wonderful time of the retail year! 

Here are some tried and true gift ideas that you can wrap up for your staff this year:

It’s that wonderful time of year again when we start to gear up for Christmas.  A critical part of this process is hiring seasonal staff.  The very thought of this is often enough to cause even the most experienced of managers to break out in a cold sweat!  But don’t worry … it’s all about planning and execution.

Whether you need to recruit only three new temps or as many as seventy, it’s time for you to get moving right now.  Not sure where to begin? 

I’ve spent most of the last 30 years on stage, speaking to audiences about so many topics that I can’t recall them all.  What I know is that everything I talked about likely focused on the wonderful world of retail, and that almost every audience was somewhere between 30 and 300 people.

There’s a bit of comfort in speaking to large groups.  You get to keep your ‘guard’ up, or as is otherwise known, your self-made walls firmly planted between you and your audience. 

The bigger the group, the easier it is to keep the walls up. 

However, over the past 30 days, I’ve arrived to speak at client’s events and found myself face to face with just 6 participants.  Not once …. Twice!

To say that’s a different thing for a speaker is a big understatement.  Speaking to 6 is nothing like speaking to 600.

And, that’s where the ‘miracle’ happened.

In my role at Graff Retail, I speak to Store Managers on a daily basis.  At some point in the conversation we end up "talking shop" and managers share their biggest challenges with me (kind of like a retail therapy session!). 

I've learned over time that the challenges aren't unique from manager to manager and, since I am in charge of our award-winning online retail training system at Graff, I happen to have access to a ton of tried and true techniques to take a manager from struggling to ALL-STAR!

In short order, here are 8 things you need to do to ensure you're an All-Star this Christmas selling season.

We’re working on a couple of very interesting and fascinating projects lately.  What’s resonated the most with me about these projects, is likely the most important selling lesson possible.

Let’s face it, making sales is essential.

But, not everyone on every team sees themselves as a salesperson who wants to ‘sell’.

You can imagine how difficult it can be to engage a team of non-salespeople in driving sales.

Consider that even with a team of people hired to sell, it’s not always easy to get them to do just that.

Being a slave to a sales goal or a metric doesn’t always produce the results you’re chasing.

However, what these projects I’m working on has reminded me of is that when you put the customer at the centre of your efforts, sales naturally follow.

Such a simple concept.  Such an amazing thing do.  Something I need to say to so many.

What I’m saying is “Thank You” to all of you that have allowed me, and my team, to be inspired by  … you.

A while back I hit a wall.  I had been selling sales and management training solutions to our retail clients for about 25 years.  The ‘grind’ hit me hard and nearly stopped me in my tracks.

Then, due to the wisdom shared by some exceptionally smart people I’m lucky to be surrounded by (especially my amazing wife!), I found not only a way out of my ‘funk’, but discovered the reason to do better than ever before.

What does it take to roll out a great training program at store level?  Better yet, what does it take to sustain a great training program at store level?  Do you have the answer on the tip of your tongue?  Don’t fret, from what I can tell, the majority of retailers out there don’t have the answers to these questions either. 

Ok.  Here’s an easier question.  What really gets in the way of training success at store level?  I bet you can rattle off a bunch of ‘retail realities’ that interfere with training.

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